Natural wonders abound in North Carolina, from the picturesque majesty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the beautiful beaches of the 200-mile stretch of barrier islands within the Outer Banks. These waterfalls are less than a three-hour drive from Charlotte, offering spectacular drops, unique overlook points, and chances for swimming and sunbathing away from urban crowds.

1. Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls
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Looking Glass Falls is a little more than two hours from Charlotte, located along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway within Pisgah National Forest, and is one of the state’s most popular and scenic waterfalls. As one of the few roadside-accessible waterfalls in the state, it’s a perfect trip for visitors with mobility concerns or families in tow. The 45-foot waterfall is named after nearby Looking Glass Rock, which freezes over in the winter and reflects sunlight in a mirror-like fashion. Viewing platforms offer easy access to overlook the waterfall, while steps lead down to the nearby creek for close-up views.

US-276, Brevard, NC 28712, Phone: 828-877-3265

2. Log Hollow Falls

Log Hollow Falls
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Log Hollow Falls is one of four waterfalls within Pisgah National Forest that is accessible via the Log Hollow Trail, along with Upper Log Hollow, Logging Road, and Discovery Falls. The falls are located approximately two and a half hours from Charlotte and are the perfect natural excursion for hikers traveling with kids in tow, as they are accessible via an easy 10-minute hike from the parking area with no significant trail obstacles. Many hikers consider the 30-foot falls to be a hidden-away gem in a less traversed part of the forest. Visitors should note that leaning trees in front of the falls make for difficult photography angles, but wading near the base of the falls is permitted for better photo angles.

North Carolina 28761, Phone: 828-877-3265

3. High Falls

High Falls
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High Falls is one of the most impressive sights of DuPont State Forest, flowing at a height of 150 feet within the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River. The falls are a two-hour drive from Charlotte, accessible via the forest’s High Falls Visitor Center. Visitors have the option of two access trails to reach the falls, including the moderately steep and strenuous two-mile High Falls Loop trail, which also provides access to nearby Triple Falls. At low water times, a close-up view of the falls is accessible via rock hopping on the river bank, and at high water times, the full force of the fall makes for great photo opportunities. In the winter, the falls are often covered with spectacular ice formations, making for even more beautiful sights. More Day Trips from Charlotte

Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718, Phone: 828-877-6527

4. Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC: Elk River Falls

Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC: Elk River Falls
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Elk River Falls is Pisgah National Forest’s most impressive falls by water volume, located approximately two and a half hours from Charlotte near Beech Mountain and the city of Elk Park. The 50-foot waterfall and its pristine oval base pool are easily accessible without a hike, with a steep footpath providing access to the bottom of the falls. Flat rock boulders provide perfect spots for picnicking and sunbathing at the top and bottom of the falls, and swimming and wading permitted at a section of the base, though visitors should be aware that some areas of the river are very dangerous and that a number of deaths have occurred at the site due to strong currents.

Elk River Rd, Elk Park, NC 28622, Phone: 828-733-9573

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5. Sliding Rock

Sliding Rock
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Sliding Rock is not technically a waterfall, but a natural water slide that is fueled by 11,000 gallons of water per minute. The Pisgah National Forest attraction is a top family excursion on hot summer days, located nearly three hours from Charlotte near the city of Brevard. Visitors can slide down the rock’s 60-foot slope into its resulting seven-foot pool, with lifeguards on duty at the site during the summer months. Two observation platforms are also provided at the site, along with restroom and changing room facilities. A nominal admission fee is charged during the peak season, with children under six admitted free.

7851 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768, Phone: 828-885-7625

6. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls
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Rainbow Falls is one of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ most spectacular sights, named for the misty rainbow that forms near the falls on sunny days. The 150-foot waterfall is located adjacent to Gorges State Park, approximately a three-hour drive from Charlotte, and is one of a series of waterfalls along the Horsepasture River. It is accessible via a moderate three-mile hike embarking from the Grassy Ridge parking area, with much of the return hike traveling uphill. Side trails allow for views of the waterfall from the base and the top, though visitors should be advised not to climb the falls’ rock face or wade into its upper portion, as several deaths have occurred at the falls. More ideas: Beaches Near Charlotte, North Carolina

976 Grassy Ridge Rd, Sapphire, NC 28774, Phone: 828-966-9099

7. Second Falls

Second Falls
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Second Falls is one of three falls located at Pisgah National Forest’s Graveyard Fields valley, which was named for its high population of tree stumps that resembled tombstones. The falls is located approximately two hours and 45 minutes from Charlotte and is accessible via a moderately difficult steep but short stair-heavy 0.6-mile hike that embarks from a parking area directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The falls tumble 70 feet over several rounded tiers and are a popular photography spot. Sunbathing and swimming are permitted at the falls with caution, and a newly-constructed boardwalk serves as an observation point.

East Fork, NC 28716, Phone: 828-257-4200

8. Triple Falls

Triple Falls
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Triple Falls is internationally-recognized for its appearance in the film Last of the Mohicans and is known for its stunning three-tiered drop, traveling at different angles and spanning a total height of 125 feet. It is located within DuPont State Forest, approximately a two-hour drive from Charlotte, and is accessible from both the Hooker Falls and High Falls Access parking lots. An easy 0.3-mile hike provides access to the falls, and a level rock platform allows visitors to stand in the middle of the waterfall for unique views. Waterfall visitors should note that the portion of the trail providing access to the viewing overlook is steep and should be advised to stay on dry areas for safety.

Little River, NC 28739, Phone: 828-877-6527

9. Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC: Upper Falls

Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC: Upper Falls
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Upper Falls is one of three waterfalls within the Graveyard Fields valley and is a three-hour drive from Charlotte, located within Pisgah National Forest. The falls are accessible via a 2.9-mile moderately rough hike that is not advised for beginner hikers due to more difficult portions toward the end of the trail. The 50-foot falls and its viewing area are known for their beautiful surrounding atmosphere, which gives visitors a true taste of the region’s natural wonders. Nearby, Second Falls and Yellowstone Falls also offer chances for waterfall viewing hikes, while Yellowstone Prong provides opportunities for wild trout fishing.

East Fork, NC 28716, Phone: 828-257-4200

10. High Shoals Falls at South Mountain State Park

High Shoals Falls at South Mountain State Park
© Guy Bryant/

Hikers who are up for a challenge should definitely pay a visit to the High Shoals Falls located in the stunning South Mountain State Park. It is situated in one of the most rugged locations in the state, but its ruggedness is what makes it absolutely breathtaking. The waterfall itself is 80 feet tall and is surrounded by idyllic mountain streams. To get to the falls, adventurers will have to traverse a strenuous 2.7-mile trail loop which is characterized by steep paths and a river crossing. For hikers who want to enjoy a bit more than just the hike to the falls, there are also camping grounds nearby to enjoy.

3001 South Mountain Park Avenue, Connelly Springs, North Carolina 28612

11. Stone Mountain Falls

Stone Mountain Falls
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Say hello to one of the coolest and most popular attractions in Stone Mountain State Park – Stone Mountain Falls. Standing at 200 feet tall, this majestic waterfall is the tallest in the entire state park and inspires awe and wonder with its mighty deluge of water. For those who aren’t hiking, the falls are accessible via a mammoth set of wooden stairs built by Stone Mountain State Park’s stewards. Meanwhile, for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts, there is a great hike to take via the Upper Trailhead or the Lower Trailhead. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is also another great path to take to get to the falls. Be sure to stop along the way and enjoy fantastic viewpoints and attractions like the Hutchinson Homestead, and the New Stone Mountain viewpoint.

3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap, North Carolina 28668

12. Catawba Falls

Catawba Falls
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A stone’s throw away from the Old Fort is the Catawba Falls. The 100-foot-tall waterfall is the main feature of Asheville’s Pisgah National Forest. To get to the falls, adventurers will have to trek through mossy grounds, navigate a covered forest valley, and pass a river crossing. The bonus? Trekkers will pass a number of beautiful waterfalls along the way which is dotted along the Catawba River. All in all, the trail to Catawba Falls is 2.7 miles long with a moderate level of difficulty and a dog-friendly environment. The trail starts at the Old Fort single trailhead and visitors who don’t necessarily want to cross the river the old-fashioned way can make use of the relatively new metal span bridge.

3074 Catawba River Road, Old Fort, North Carolina 28762

13. Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls
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What does it take to get to a massive and breathtaking waterfall? Well, when it comes to Crabtree Falls, it takes about 2.5 hours and the willpower to make it past a difficult and steep climb up rocky terrain and strenuous paths. Located right along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is located just a little bit north of Asheville, the Crabtree Falls’ trailhead is easy to find. The 2.5-mile loop will take hikers from the campground entrance through a forest full of oak and hickory trees and will also have individuals navigating through a rosebay rhododendron thicket. Once hikers get to the 60-foot waterfalls, they’ll be greeted by a steep and rugged stone face, wildflowers and ferns growing in the falls’ hollows, and a cooling spray from the waterfall. More ideas: Zoos near Charlotte, NC

39000 Blue Ridge Parkway, Marion, North Carolina 28752

14. Waterfalls Near Me Today: Wintergreen Falls

Waterfalls Near Me Today: Wintergreen Falls
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Wintergreen Falls is located within the 10,473-acre DuPont State Forest, approximately a two hour and 15 minute drive from Charlotte. The waterfall was named for the prevalence of natural evergreen ground cover at within the nearby Grassy Creek Gorge area and showcases a water drop of 25 feet. It is accessible via a moderately strenuous 3.1-mile hike from the forest’s Guion Farm parking lot which takes about 40 minutes to complete round trip and is easily accessible for dogs, horses, and mountain bikers. Visitors should note that there are several wet areas along the falls’ trail and that a mild amount of rocky terrain must be climbed in order to reach the falls’ viewing point.

Wintergreen Falls Trail, Hendersonville, NC 28739, Phone: 828-877-6527

What are the 14 Best Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC?

The 14 Best Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC according to local experts are:

More Ideas: NASCAR Hall of Fame

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is in Charlotte, North Carolina. The chronological history of NASCAR is cemented deep within these halls, showcasing the heritage of NASCAR. The CEO and chairman of NASCAR, Brian France, acquired the position when his father stepped aside in 2013. The hall of fame is a high-tech venue and offers guests a chance to engage in some supremely interactive exhibits. It opened its doors in 2010, offering fans and non-fans the chance to see valuable artefacts, a 278-person state-of-the-art theatre, hands-on exhibits, the Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant, the Hall of Honor, a NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame gear shop. The hall of fame is open 7 days a week and is a 5-acre site and includes a privately established 19-storey office tower with a square foot expansion of 102,000.

Facts about the Hall

Winston Kelley, the executive director of the Hall of Fame has brought a wealth of private sector experience to the job and as well as his passion for the NASCAR sport. He has been working at NASCAR since 1981 and lives for the industry.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame comes with a whole list of facts. For example, the hall is licensed by NASCAR, owned by the City of Charlotte, and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The High Octane Theatre features informational movies about NASCAR and is available for after-hours rentals. Ralph Appelbaum Associates created the exhibition designs and there is a ceremonial plaza for the exterior for the induction ceremonies. Race Week is a facility featuring the most collaboration as it provides behind-the-scenes information on the NASCAR industry and the NASCAR team who prepare the cars for a racing day.


There is an internship program for students who want to learn the NASCAR business. There are three terms: Spring, summer, and fall. There is also an opportunity to rent the hall as a full venue for events.


There are many future events coming up, such as the Racing Insider Tour I-85, which gives visitors behind-the-scenes access to NASCAR history. The other Racing Insider Tours provide similar tour information, behind-the-scenes access, and food. The Race View Parties are shown on the High Octane Screen, which seats 278 people, showing some of the more exciting and high-speed races and much more. The 64-foot-wide projection screen has full surround sound. The Glory Road, now in its third generation, features iconic cars and exciting tracks, including some legendary race cars.

400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28202, Phone: 704-654-4400

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More Ideas: The Duke Mansion

Built in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Duke Mansion is one of Charlotte’s Southern belles, offering luxurious accommodations, delicious cuisine, and unparalleled Southern hospitality.

Located on Hermitage Street in the heart of Charlotte, this historic landmark is home to 20 beautifully-appointed guest rooms with classic décor and conveniences, acres of pristine gardens and grounds and an array of facilities to enjoy, including complimentary gourmet breakfasts and stylish function spaces. The Mansion is a short walk away from one of Charlotte’s most historic neighborhoods and the city center, which has delightful shops, boutiques, galleries and museums to explore.

The Duke Mansion has 20 beautifully appointed, individually decorated guest rooms and suites that combine Southern charm with modern comforts. Rooms and suite vary in size and layout, but all enjoy standard amenities, including flat-screen televisions with premium channels, DVD players, telephones with direct dial and voicemail services, work desks with chairs, comfortable reading chairs, individual climate control and complimentary wireless Internet. Additional guest services include a nightly turndown service, daily newspaper delivery and gourmet breakfast served in the dining room.

Standard Double, Queen, and King Rooms feature double, queen or king-size beds with goose down pillows and imported linens, spacious en-suite bathroom with showers, luxurious robes and luxe bath products and work desks with chairs. Amenities include flat-screen televisions with premium channels, DVD players, telephones with direct dial and voicemail services, work desks with chairs, comfortable reading chairs, individual climate control and complimentary wireless Internet.

Elegant and luxurious, the Dowd Suite features a king-size bed with goose down pillows and imported linens, a spacious en-suite bathroom with a Roman spa tub and a shower for two, and a shared sleeping porch. Amenities include flat-screen televisions with premium channels, DVD players, telephones with direct dial and voicemail services, work desks with chairs, comfortable reading chairs, individual climate control and complimentary wireless Internet.

Located on the second floor, the King Porch Room offers a lovely king-size bed with goose down pillows and imported linens, a spacious en-suite bathroom with a Roman spa tub and a shower for two, and a shared sleeping porch, while the King Rooms have private entrance halls and tree top views of the mansion. Amenities include flat-screen televisions with premium channels, DVD players, telephones with direct dial and voicemail services, work desks with chairs, comfortable reading chairs, individual climate control and complimentary wireless Internet.

The Duke Mansion serves a delicious home cooked breakfast for guests every morning, consisting of hot and cold choices, freshly brewed coffees and teas and fresh fruit juice.

While the Mansion does not have a restaurant, lunch, and dinner can be arranged on request, and there is room service available for wine, beer, and cocktails. The Duke Mansion is conveniently located within walking distance of a wealth of both casual and fine dining restaurants.

Amenities at The Duke Mansion include luxurious guest rooms, a complimentary gourmet breakfast each morning, a business center with access to computers, and printing, faxing and copying services, a 24-hour reception, and service desk, and a well-stocked guest library. Additional facilities range from event and function spaces, accompanied by professional meeting and event planning staff, culinary team, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and complimentary wireless Internet throughout the property.

Guests can stay fit in the Mansion’s fitness studio, which features a Stairmaster, a stationary bike, and a free weights section, or hit the streets for an exhilarating walk or jog through one of Charlotte's most beautiful neighborhoods.

The Duke Mansion has a variety of function spaces and event facilities to cater for special occasions from weddings and receptions to business conferences and meetings. The Mansion is only available for weddings on certain weekends throughout the year and offers an array of services, including customized menus, prepared and served by a professional culinary team, overnight accommodations for the bride and groom, beautiful indoor and outdoor settings for up to 150 guests and gorgeous gardens for photographic opportunities.

Functions spaces include The Levine Living Room, which is 1,460 square feet in size with floor-to-ceiling windows and a 750-square-foot glass Solarium. The Ray Dining Room is a flexible space that can cater for small to medium size groups, while the Dickson Conference Room is perfect for board meetings and planning sessions. The Lineberger Library is a cozy 350 square-foot room, which is a popular choice for private meetings or gatherings.

400 Hermitage Road, Charlotte, North Carolina, NC 28207, Phone: 704-714-4400

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