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Rainbow Falls

A Stunning Waterfall in Gorges State Park

A 150-foot waterfall in Gorges State Park, featuring vibrant rainbows, lush surroundings, and accessible via a moderate hiking trail.

Contact Information

Get Directions 35.09, -82.96
Photo of Rainbow Falls

Get Directions to Rainbow Falls

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Hike Description

Nestled within the rugged beauty of Gorges State Park, Rainbow Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder that beckons travelers from near and far. This stunning waterfall, cascading 150 feet over a sheer cliff, creates a mesmerizing display of water and light. The falls earn their name from the vibrant rainbows that often appear in the mist on sunny days, adding a touch of magic to this serene landscape.

A visit to Rainbow Falls promises an immersive experience in nature. The trail to the falls is a moderate hike, winding through lush forests and alongside the scenic Horsepasture River. As you approach the falls, the sound of rushing water grows louder, building anticipation for the spectacular view that awaits. The sight of the water plummeting into the crystal-clear pool below is a rewarding and awe-inspiring moment.

Rainbow Falls is a perfect spot for photography, picnicking, and simply soaking in the tranquil surroundings. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or just looking for a peaceful retreat, Rainbow Falls offers a refreshing escape into the heart of North Carolina’s natural beauty. Discover the magic and serenity of this hidden gem in Gorges State Park.

1. Start in Cashiers, NC: Head west on US-64 W.
2. Turn Left: After approximately 10 miles, turn left onto NC-281 S.
3. Continue on NC-281 S: Drive for about 0.9 miles.
4. Turn Right: Look for the entrance to Gorges State Park on the right and turn into the park.
5. Follow Park Road: Continue on the park road, following signs for the Grassy Ridge Access Area.
6. Park Your Vehicle: Park in the designated area near the Grassy Ridge Trailhead.
7. Begin Your Hike: From the parking lot, follow the Rainbow Falls Trail. This moderate trail is approximately 1.5 miles each way and follows the scenic Horsepasture River.
8. Reach Rainbow Falls: After about 1.5 miles, you’ll arrive at Rainbow Falls.

Trails and Waterfalls can be dangerous; take no chances, only photos for memories. Read our Safety and Insider tips to have a safe, fun and enjoyable trip to Jackson County.

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.

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