Cullasaja Falls is a waterfall in Southwestern North Carolina just outside of Franklin, NC on the Highlands Road. The waterfall is located on the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest and is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Cullasaja comes from a Cherokee word meaning "honey locust place." The falls is the last major waterfall on the Cullasaja river. (12) The falls is a long cascade over the course of 0.2 miles (0.32 km). The height of the falls is given as 200 ft (61 m) in Kevin Adams' book, North Carolina Waterfalls and 250 ft (77.1 m) by NCWaterfalls.com. (13) However, Google Earth gives a height (based on the elevation of the water at the top of the falls and the elevation of the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls) of 137 ft (42 m).
It is easy to catch a glimpse of the Cullasaja Falls as you drive by; however, getting a better view of the falls is not easy. The falls are located beside of a series of blind curves on Highway 64 with sheer rock cliffs above and below the road. There is only one small pull-off near the falls, but walking on the road puts visitors in danger of being hit by a passing vehicle.
Dry Falls, also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, is a 65-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina on the Highlands Road between Franklin and Highlands. Dry Falls flows on the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. It is part of a series of waterfalls on a 8.7-mile (14.0 km) stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry when the waterflow is low, hence its name. Visitors will get wet if the waterflow is high. The falls has been called Dry Falls for a long time, but has also gone by a few other names, including High Falls, Pitcher Falls, and Cullasaja Falls (please see picture above). (14)
Dry Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 15.7 miles (25.3 km) southeast of Franklin, North Carolina. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park before walking the short path with stairs to the falls. The United States Forest Service has made improvements to the parking area and has reopened the public area (please see picture above).
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is a 45-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, southeast of Franklin. With a short curve of roadway located behind the falls, it has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under. Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. (15)
Bridal Veil Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk behind the falls and remain dry when the waterflow is low. During periods of drought, the stream may nearly dry up, though visitors will get wet if the waterflow is moderate or high. To avoid this, stay in your vehicle and drive behind the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 16.5 miles (26.6 km) southeast of Franklin. Highway 64 originally used the curve of roadway behind the falls exclusively so that all traffic went behind them; however, this caused problems with icing of the roadway during freezing weather, and Hwy. 64 has been re-routed around the front of the falls since. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park and view the falls as well. In 2003, a massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, blocking that side of the drive-under completely. However, in July 2007, that boulder was removed by a local developer (please see picture below). (15)
Quarry Falls is a small waterfall (or perhaps large rapid in high water) located beside US Hwy. 64 southeast of Franklin, North Carolina. Known to locals as "Sliding Rock," it is best known for the large, deep pool at the bottom and is a popular place for swimming during warm weather. During the summertime, many are swimming in the pool and sliding down the rock as a means to stay cool in the warmer months (please see picture above).
Glen Falls is a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy short distant hiking. Glen Falls is just off of Hwy 64 in Highlands, NC. To get to Glen Falls take a left on Hwy 106 outside of Highlands, go about 1.7 miles and look for the sign to Glen Falls Scenic area on the left. The gravel road to the Falls (SR 1618) veers off immediately to the right after you take the left, so go slow. The road dead ends into the parking area. In a short distance from the parking area, the trail brings you to a nice view across the mountains. Continue down the trail and to a railing on the right for this view looking down the waterfall. The trail is about 3/4 mile and not bad if your in OK shape (please see picture above). (18)
Hikers Enjoying The Afternoon At Mooney Falls
Not too far outside of Franklin, located in the beautiful Nantahala National Forest, near Standing Indian Campground one can enjoy the beauty of Mooney Falls (please see picture above). Mooney Falls is about 20’ and there is a small swimming hole near the bottom of the falls. To get to Mooney Falls, take the turn into Standing Indian Campground, which is about 12 miles from the intersection of 64W and 441/23 outside of Franklin, drive just under 2 miles and turn right at the sign for Standing Indian Campground (FR67). Drive 6.7 miles down (FR67) and then take a left into Standing Indian Campground, the road will turn from pavement to gravel. The hike to the waterfall is an easy .5 mile hike along Big Laurel Branch. A short distance from the trailhead, turn right at the fork in the trail and follow the creek up to the fall. Remember, it can be cool up in the higher elevations so don’t forget a light sweater or jacket.
"Could it get anymore romantic than this, Whitewater Falls?"
Upper Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, falling 411 feet! It's about 25 miles from Franklin, NC and part of the Whitewater River in the Jocassee Gorge area of North Carolina just before you reach South Carolina. For an excellent view of Whitewater Falls, follow the paved 1/4-mile walkway to the upper overlook. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook with an even better view (please see photo above) is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps. The only full views of the falls are from these two overlooks. However, some people venture off the trail to try for better views. Tragically, several of these people fell to their deaths or suffered serious injuries at Whitewater Falls, so please stay on the trails for your safety.