Upper Whitewater Falls Loop Nantahala National Forest, NC
miles
LENGTH 0.8 MILES
DIFFICULTY 2.7 Easy
DURATION 1 hour
ELEVATION GAIN
270
feet
TRAIL TYPE
Loop
Upper Whitewater Falls Loop

Get a little peace and quiet at the popular Upper Whitewater Falls with a short trip down the Foothills Trail on this less than one mile loop. Stop and enjoy an impressive 400 foot multi-tiered waterfall in North Carolina's Nantahala National Forest. Then leave the pavement to form a slightly longer loop along a short section of the 77-mile Foothills Trail.

The large 50 car parking lot is just .2 miles north of the NC/SC state line. There are several dedicated spots for RVs and buses. Restrooms can be found on the entrance side and picnic tables and pavilions on the opposite end. The trail begins at the end of the lot from the entrance. The path is paved the whole way to the first viewpoint, with wooden steps down to the second viewing platform.

After taking in the falls from the observation deck, follow the sign toward the Foothills Trail, continuing to descend another 100 feet. Immediately you will notice the much more rugged trail, litered with rocks and roots. In the shadow of the steep hillside, the trail is often wet with slick rocks so take your time. Quickly you will come to the Foothills Trail. Stay right, following the sign for NC HWY 281.

Even when the paved path to the falls is crowded, you will find yourself alone most of the time along this section. After half a mile, a spur trail takes you off the Foothills Trail and up the hillside to other side of the restrooms near the entrance to the parking lot, thus ending this loop. Make it a double date and check out the longer Lower Whitewater Falls Trail. Or for a much more epic day, turn left on the Foothills Trail after the falls overlook, switchbacking down to the Whitewater River and following it to the Lower Falls.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length0.8 miles
difficulty2.7 Easy
duration1 hour
trail typeLoop
blazeWhite (Foothills Trail)
elevation gain270 ft.
park/forestNantahala National Forest
ranger districtNantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
828-524-6441
parking fee$2
trailhead coordinates 35.030268, -83.016215 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°1.82, W 83°0.97 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°1'49'', N 35°1'49'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.030268, -83.016215 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°1.82, W 83°0.97 most GPS units use this one
N 35°1'49'', N 35°1'49'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
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Notes
Restrooms are in the building at the opposite end of the parking lot from the trailhead.
The Foothills trail become much more rugged with slick wet rocks and lots of roots. Take your time.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
hikethesouth-5 months ago
Nice Short Hike
Nice short little hike for anyone who wants to get off the paved path at this popular waterfall destination.
Easy | Hiked Summer 2018
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