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Full Day Waterfall Tour NEWLY REVISED 7/1/09
Turn left from the parking lot and go approximately 5 miles on 19, past the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parking for the falls is on your left, and the GPS coordinates are 35.4925,-83.169444. There is a short hike to these falls. See information and pictures here:http://www.socofalls.com and video here: http://vimeo.com/2298539.
After viewing these falls, return to the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 1 mile. Get on the Parkway headed towards Asheville. At the highest point, you will see Water Rock Knob, which is a beautiful overlook, and a must see. (This is a great place to see a mountain sunset or sunrise on a clear day.) Continue on the Parkway until you reach the exit for 23/74. Turn right onto this road and head towards Sylva. You will pass by Sylva, and take the exit for 441 south (in Dillsboro) towards Franklin.
In Franklin, you will exit onto Highway 64. Turn left onto 64 and head towards Highlands. The first falls, Cullasaja Falls, is on the right about 1 mile. The parking area is very small, make sure you pull ALL the way off the road. GPS coordinates are: 35.116666,-83.270277 and you can see pictures and information here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/cull1.htm and a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86aUmeXWPi0.
Continue on 64 towards Highlands. The next falls are Dry Falls, about 5½ miles with GPS coordinates: 35.068055,-83.238888. These are incredible falls that you can actually walk behind. See pictures and information here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/dry1.htm. Unfortunately, there is still some construction going on here, so they are temporarily closed. Keep checking back for updates. You can see a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WtCx20Eqo, you can see the walkway behind it, and in this short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxsQ89SC-os you can see people walking behind it.
Get back onto 64 heading towards Highlands, and continue to the next falls, Bridal Veil Falls, with GPS coordinates: 35.071944,-83.229444. The falls are on the left, and the road (actually “old 64”) goes under the falls. You can park underneath, and see the falls from the back side. They are very sheer falls, with not a lot of water. However, they are quite beautiful, and a must see. See pictures and information here: http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/bridal_veil1.htm (the boulder has been removed!) and video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJNYDJhgHxQ.
Get back onto 64 headed towards Highlands, and now you will actually drive into Highlands. There are many restaurants and shops here, and you may want to stop and peruse them. Then, keep on 64, turning left and following 64 towards Cashiers. Beautiful ride, with no stops. Continue on 64 through Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, and Lake Toxaway. Next up, you will turn right onto 281. It’s about 9 miles south on 281 to Whitewater Falls, GPS coordinates 35.035825,-83.017544, look for parking on the left. The falls require quite a hike, so be prepared. They are worth it however! Check out information and pictures here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/white1.htm.
Head north on 281 back to 64 and turn right, headed towards Brevard. You will pass through Rosman and Brevard. In Brevard, jog left to continue on 64. As you get towards the end of town, you will turn left onto 276 towards Waynesville. Go about 5½ miles, and on your right you will see Looking Glass Falls, GPS coordinates 35.296338, -82.768399. Parking is right on the road, and you can see the falls from the road. You can also climb down some stairs and get in the water. See information and pictures here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/looking_glass1.htm and video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-hRTVX0Lko&feature=related.
Continue on 276, and the next falls are Sliding Rock. These are falls that you can actually ride! The parking is fee based, $1 per person, but it is almost worth it to watch them go down in the COLD water! GPS coordinates are: 35.311021, -82.787252. You can see information and pictures here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/sliding_rock1.htm and video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLaXmcNJSG0.
Now continue on 276 until you get to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Head South on the Parkway, towards Cherokee and the Smoky Mountain National Park. On this route, you can opt to check out Graveyard Fields, which will be on your right at milepost 418. (You will see a lot of cars parked here!) This is a quite a hike, so if you’re not up to that, I don’t recommend it. You can see some pictures and information here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/graveyard_fields1.htm.
Another falls that have a little hike right around here is Skinny Dip Falls, and it is really neat. There’s a waterhole to get into, and the scenery is awesome. They are at milepost 417, and there is a parking area across the street. Pictures and information here:http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/skinny_dip1.htm and a cool video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tpcyQtcznU&feature=related.
Continue on the Parkway to 215, and exit there. You will go south on 215 for about 9 miles. You will see “Living Waters” retreat on your right. The falls here are on private property, but the owners are nice enough to allow the public to view the falls. You will pass the buildings, and on the right, you will see a place to pull off the road and there is a trail there. For information and pictures, look here: http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/french1.htm. Make sure you check out this site and read all about where to go for the best views.
Now, turn around and head back to the Parkway. A few miles after you pass the Parkway, you will go over a small bridge, which will encompass the next falls. There is a very small parking area on the left, but you won’t have any problem with traffic, as there is very little on this road.
Continue on 215 towards Waynesville. You can stay on 215 (which is a right turn) or continue straight (which is Lake Logan Road). Either way, you will wind up coming to a stop light or sign at 276. Turn left on 276 and head towards Waynesville.
In Waynesville, at the stop light, turn right. Continue on 276 (Main Street) through Downtown (stop if you like) and turn left onto 276. Take 276 to Highway 19, and turn left at the light. Go about 7 miles, and you will come to Applecover Inn on your left, get off your bike or out of your car, and get into a rocking chair, ‘cause you will be ready for it!