10 waterfalls within 3 hours of Charlotte that you can see this weekend

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There are well over 200 waterfalls across the state, so we’ve narrowed the list down to ten of the most beautiful that you can easily see on a day trip. Happy chasing.

Elk River Falls

Location: Pisgah National Forest (36.199009, -81.969009)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 28 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 5 minutes, easy
Falls height: 50 feet
What you should know: There’s no real hike involved here, just a short walk to the top. It’s a great spot for swimming and sunning on the rocks, but because of this, it’s often crowded. Get there early and stake your claim.

High Falls

No filter needed 💚

A photo posted by mariereppart (@mariereppart) on

Location: West Fork Tuckasegee River (35.204157, -83.160125)
Distance from Charlotte: 
1 hour, 56 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 2 miles, moderately difficult
Falls height: 150 feet
What you should know: The hike is steep and somewhat rough, so pack actual hiking boots rather than just sneakers. If you’re looking to experience the full force of this fall (there are two main drops that flow into each other), come when the water is high, but know that you can’t get as close as you might want to if you’re looking to go exploring or for a photo-op. If that’s what you want, go when it’s low. 

Log Hollow Falls

Location: Pisgah National Forest (35.323663, -82.808118)
Distance from Charlotte:
2 hours, 38 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 10 minutes, easy
Falls height: 150 feet
What you should know: These falls are perfect for people who are looking for something not often visited and feels like an accidental find. It’s also perfect if you’ve got kids, as it’s just a process of crossing a few bridges and takes around 10 minutes at an average pace.

Looking Glass Falls

😍

A photo posted by Brittany Mitchell (@the_r.o.a.d) on

Location: Pisgah National Forest (35.296144, -82.768821)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 18 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: .05 miles, easy
Falls height: 45 feet
What you should know: There’s no hike involved with this one, as it’s a roadside stop. You can view it from a few platforms or head all the way down to the creek.

Rainbow Falls

And today was for swimming🏊.

A photo posted by Moe Donnelly (@of_all_the_moes) on

Location: Nantahala National Forest (35.090649, -82.965973)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 46 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 3 miles
Falls height: 150 feet
What you should know: The trail is mostly downhill on your walk there, but does get hilly on the way back up. About halfway through the hike, the trail turns from gravel into dirt. Don’t panic – you’re still on the right track. If you want to see the rainbows the falls are named for, get there early in the morning to view them through the mist.

Second Falls

Location: Pisgah National Forest (35.322279, -82.846631)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 42 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 0.6 miles, moderately difficult
Falls height: 70 feet
What you should know: It’s a steep, but quick, climb to the falls comprised mostly of stairways. The pool at the bottom is great for sunbathing and swimming.

Sliding Rock

Sometimes the places you find in the middle of the woods end up being the coolest #ESandJessTakeTheUS

A photo posted by Jess Whitney (@j12dubs) on

Location: Pisgah National Forest (35.311027, -82.786506)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 45 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 0. It’s a park and walk situation.
Falls height: 60 feet
What you should know: Sliding Rock isn’t so much a waterfall as it as a natural and gentle slide into the pool of water below. Make a day of it a and bring a picnic.

Triple Falls

Triple falls in DuPont Forest was amazing tonight after some much needed rain. #dupontforest #triplefalls #wnc #waterfalls

A photo posted by Teal Chimblo Fyrberg (@wildkatuahhealingarts) on

Location: Dupont State Forest (35.199799, -82.617058)
Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 0.29 miles, easy
Falls height: 75 feet
What you should know: The part of the trail that leads to the overlook is steep. When you get to the viewing area, stay put on the acre of dry area – that’s where it’s safest.

Upper Falls

Upper Whitewater Falls. #northcarolina #visitnc #visitsmokies #outaboutnc #wnc #waterfall #LoveNCSmokies

A photo posted by M. Santiago (@santiago2274) on

Location: Pisgah National Forest (35.31813, -82.866753)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 54 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 2.9 miles, somewhat rough
Falls height: 50 feet
What you should know: Take the natural trail rather than the paved one, and be prepared to battle a few hills before climbing over rocks to reach the falls.

Wintergreen Falls

Location: Dupont State Forest (35.1978, -82.583748)
Distance from Charlotte: 
2 hours, 15 minutes
Hike length and level of difficulty: 3.1 miles, moderate
Falls height: 25 feet
What you should know: There are some wet areas along the way, but nothing to really worry about. It’s also a climb up a few rocks to get to the falls, so be mindful of that element.

Feature photo via Twitter

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Kylie Moore

Writer doubling as a travel, wine, and Oxford Comma enthusiast.