West of Gorges State Park on NC/SC Border
1.5 miles round trip
Plunging more than 800 feet, the gorgeous Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies! For this hike, first walk a quarter-mile to the upper overlook. Then follow the stairs down to the lower overlook to take in another stunning view. Then, follow the spur trail that goes for another half-mile to the base of the falls at the Whitewater River. If you are eager to keep hiking, you can follow the Foothills Trail along the river toward South Carolina. However, to complete this part of the Hiking Challenge, you just need to make your way down to the river and back, a total of about 1.5 miles.
Conserving Carolina is proud to have recently purchased an inholding of private land within Nantahala National Forest, upstream of the waterfall. Although there is not public access to this land at this time, conserving it helps to keep the Whitewater River pristine and the forest surrounding it intact.
Please note that the trail to the base of the falls can be slippery in wet weather, so pay attention to weather conditions as you plan your hike. There is a fee of $3 to park at the trailhead. You can find the trailhead on Google Maps here. For more information on this hike, see this detailed description from Romantic Asheville.