Looking for a refreshing place to cool off this summer? Discover fresh air and freedom with the sights and sounds of a Smoky Mountain waterfall. From the higher elevation falls to hidden splashes tucked into the old growth forests of the Smoky Mountains, there are plenty of spots to help you relax and recharge this summer. Here are some of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls near Maggie Valley.
Right down the road from the Meadowlark Motel is the breathtaking Soco Falls. These twin waterfalls are a favorite destination for Maggie Valley locals and tourists alike. Located just a short walk off of Soco Road, the falls are nestled in between Maggie Valley and Cherokee, NC, making them easily accessible twelve months out of the year. Hang out on the viewing deck for stunning sights. Or if you want to get closer to nature, there’s a short, steep trail that leads down to the base of the waterfalls. (This section is slippery, so hang onto the ropes that are set up along the way.) The double cascades of Soco Falls are a must see, plus they’re close to great food, entertainment, and tons of things to do on a summer vacation in Western North Carolina.
Sliding Rock Falls
In the nearby Pisgah National Forest, you can take an invigorating plunge down a thrilling 60-foot nature-made water slide. Sliding Rock Falls is a slippery cascade into a refreshing 8-foot-deep pool at the bottom. Over 11,000 gallons of water rush down the smooth rocks every minute, expertly propelling you down the rock face and into the 50–60-degree water below. If you aren’t daring enough to slide, you can watch from two observation platforms. There’s even a lifeguard on duty (during the summer season ONLY), and a small admission charge of approximately $2 to slide makes this a delightful place to cool off on a hot summer day.
Looking Glass Falls
Don’t forget your camera if you visit Looking Glass Falls. This 60-foot waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Maggie Valley. The tumbling water creates a refreshing mist and lands with a splash in a large pool at its base that’s perfect for swimming. Snap your social media worthy pics from the viewing area at the top of the stairs, or head down the steps to soak up the scenery from the lower platform. Make Looking Glass Falls a must-see waterfall when you visit Maggie Valley. It’s the most visited waterfall in North Carolina for a reason.
Moore Cove Falls
Located right near Looking Glass Falls, swing by Moore Cave Falls. Take a refreshing stroll through a fern-filled forest where you’ll come upon this low volume waterfall that plunges an exciting 50 feet down. The hike to get there is easy enough for families with small children, and kids of all ages love the fact that you can walk behind the falls. Stand in awe beneath the rocky outcrop and run your hands through the cascading curtain of cool water.
Skinny Dip Falls
Near the Looking Glass Rock overlook, you’ll find the mesmerizing Skinny Dip Falls. These gorgeous 40-foot cascades are well worth a visit. And you can cool down in the inviting swimming hole at the bottom. (There’s no lifeguard on duty, so be careful.) Located on the Yellowstone Prong of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River (also a great fishing spot!), you can keep hiking along the trail to another spot on our list – Graveyard Fields.
Graveyard Fields Waterfalls
Don’t be frightened by the name. Graveyard Fields gets its moniker from the surrounding landscape. After wildfires ravaged the area decades ago, the remaining tree stumps gave off a spooky resemblance of gravestones. But these days, nature is restoring itself with acres of blackberry and blueberry bushes and grassy fields that curve the edges of winding streams. Hike along this unforgettable trail to discover two ethereal multi-tiered waterfalls.
Just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – on the Cherokee Indian Reservation – you’ll find the tallest and most impressive waterfall in the entire southern Appalachians. Cascading over 120 feet, this gorgeous waterfall will take your breath away. Take the Pigeon Creek Trail off of Big Cove Road. It’s a moderate 0.4-mile hike to the falls with a bridge at the bottom, giving you a chance to get up close and personal with this powerful force of nature.
Mouse Creek Falls
If crowds aren’t your thing, escape to the less traveled Big Creek area of the Smoky Mountains, where the only noise you’ll hear is the rushing water of 45-foot tall Mouse Creek Falls. Take Big Creek Trail for a moderate 4-mile round-trip hike with gorgeous scenery along the way. When you reach the falls, sneak down the short side trail on the left. You’ll discover a bench that’s perfect for resting your legs and soaking up the beauty of the falls.
On the same trail as Mouse Creek Falls, you’ll pass by one of the most refreshing swimming holes in the Smokies. Midnight Hole is aptly named for the deep, clear pool of water that reflects a spectacular display of blues and greens that are fed by 6-foot waterfalls. The perfect spot to cool off with an invigorating dip before continuing on your hike.
Deep Creek Falls
In the Deep Creek area, you’ll discover three awe-inspiring waterfalls. Kick things off at the Deep Creek trailhead with an easy 0.7-mile hike to the spot where the trail intersects with Indian Creek Trail. Along the way, explore the 60-foot Tom Branch Falls and the creek below, or just rest your feet on a nearby bench and take in the views. Keep going for incredible views of Indian Creek Falls as the water plunges 25 feet down. You can even take a foot trail down to the bottom of the falls for a different angle. Juney Whank Falls is the third fall on Deep Creek Trail. To find this beauty, you’ll start at the trailhead but hike back down the road about a quarter of a mile to the Juney Whank Falls Trail. Follow the trail to a log footbridge that divides the upper and lower sections of this powerful 90-foot cascading waterfall. As you stand on the bridge, soak up the cooling mist and marvel at the unforgettable majesty of nature that you can only find in the Great Smoky Mountains.
After a full day of cooling off in the waterfalls near Maggie Valley, get a good night’s rest at the Meadowlark Motel. Visit our accommodations page to book one of our Smoky Mountain cabins or Appalachian-chic motel rooms.