Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Road Trip from Raleigh: Dry Falls, an N.C. waterfall

Posted July 7

I'd hoped to see a waterfall during my trip last week to the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains. But, I also was realistic. We're not big hikers in my family. We enjoy being outside, but there's something about a hike that's longer than two miles that most of the members of my family balk at.

Still, we attempt it from time to time. And, with my family of reluctant hikers in mind, I've shared some family-friendly hikes across the region. But, as we wound our way down U.S. 64, on our way home after a week of horseback riding, tubing and playing along the shores of a river, I'd given up on the waterfall dream. Then I saw Dry Falls out the window.

Dry Falls sits about two miles from beautiful Highlands, N.C., along U.S. 64 on the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest.

It's beautiful. The water rushes over the rock outcrop and then free falls to the gorge below. According to the U.S. Forest Service, Dry Falls stands 75 feet. About 40 feet, according to, is in free fall.

It's also perfect for those not ready for a long hike to a waterfall. In fact, you barely have to get out of your car to see the waterfall. A wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly platform sits next to the parking lot and at the top of the walkway and provides a great view of the falls.

But, if you can muster the strength for what's no more than a quarter-mile walk, you can follow the very short paved trail and actually walk behind the waterfall. And, on the hot summer day when we were there, the mist coming off the waterfall felt great.

There are a few stairs along the trail, but it's hard to emphasize how easy this experience is. Once you get back in your car, not far away, is Bridal Veil Falls, a 120-foot waterfall that you can actually drive behind.

Dry Falls is about five hours from Raleigh, about 90 minutes from Asheville and about 3.5 hours from Charlotte. If you're in that beautiful part of North Carolina, it's worth a stop.

Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday. Check our road trip page for more destinations.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all