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Jawbone Falls

A sandy oasis of rosebay rhododendron, laurel, and white pine, this waterfall features a small island at the downstream end of its pool—perfect for just the right photo angle.

While there are no boulders to lounge on, throw down a towel for some sunbathing in this picturesque spot. Or, go for a swim in the large pool at the bottom of the long, steep slide from the Tuckasegee River, surrounded by dense underbrush.

Contact Information

Get Directions 35.1737, -83.0035
Photo of Jawbone Falls

Get Directions to Jawbone Falls

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Hike Description

Hike as you would to Wardens Falls, but continue to the right on Devils Elbow Trail when you get to the small clearing beyond the power line. At 0.13 mile from the clearing is a side path on the left. This path descends less than 0.1 mile to the river, then follows the river a short distance downstream to the top of the falls. Don’t go that way, though, as there is no view of the waterfall and no trail leading to the base. Instead, continue on the main trail (an old logging grade). At about 0.25 mile from the side path is an easy crossing of Little Green Creek. At 0.14 mile farther, you’ll reach a fork. The right fork is the route to Elbow Falls and Red Butt Falls. Take the left fork, which is Riding Ford Trail (#450), and descend about 0.1 mile to the river.

The trail comes out at the top of Riding Ford Falls. To reach Jawbone Falls, walk along the rock to the left for a few feet to an obvious path, follow it up the bank to a campsite, then bear right. You’ll reach the pool below the falls at a point 250 feet from the brink of Riding Ford Falls.


Leave No Trace — Seven Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

For more details, visit
©1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics


  • Heed posted warning signs indicating danger and stay on established trails.
  • Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the water above a waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and it’s easy to lose your balance especially with bare feet. Currents near waterfalls can be extremely swift even in areas further upstream.
  • Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools at the base of waterfalls. Rocks and logs can be hidden beneath the surface of the water. Often waterfall pools have swirling water or currents that can drag and keep you underwater.
  • Even if you have seen other people enjoy playing around waterfalls, be aware they have been lucky to escape unharmed. Waterfalls are constantly changing with varying water flows and erosion of the rocks around them. The current from one place to the next may be faster than you anticipate and the arrangement of rocks or other debris such as logs in the plunge pool is ever changing.

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