Catawba Falls Near Old Fort, NC

LONG-TERM CLOSURE: As of October 2022, this area is closed due to structural improvements.
For more information, please visit:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=81789

catawba falls old fort nc

The cascading waterfalls of Catawba Falls located near Old Fort, NC – Photo by Haley Catherine

Catawba Falls: Majestic Beauty in Old Fort, NC

Catawba Falls, located near Old Fort, North Carolina, is a captivating waterfall that attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers from far and wide. Nestled within the scenic landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, this stunning waterfall offers a memorable adventure surrounded by natural beauty.

The Falls and Surrounding Area

Catawba Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls, with the main drop reaching approximately 100 feet in height. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be treated to the sight and sound of rushing water, lush vegetation, and towering trees. The falls are known for their picturesque setting and the peaceful ambiance they create. The mist from the falls adds to the refreshing atmosphere and makes for a magical experience.

Hiking Trail Conditions

The hiking trail to Catawba Falls is a moderate-to-strenuous out-and-back trail, covering a distance of approximately 3 miles. The trail follows the Catawba River, offering scenic views and occasional glimpses of wildlife. The path consists of various terrains, including rocky sections, stream crossings, and moderate inclines. Hikers should wear sturdy footwear and exercise caution, especially during wet or icy conditions. Although the trail presents some challenges, the rewarding views and the magnificence of Catawba Falls make it well worth the effort.

Location and Directions

Catawba Falls is located near Old Fort, North Carolina. To reach the trailhead:

  1. From Asheville, take Interstate 40 East towards Old Fort.
  2. Take Exit 73 and turn left onto Catawba River Road.
  3. Follow the road for approximately 1.5 miles until you reach the parking area for Catawba Falls.

Exploring the Area

While visiting Catawba Falls, you can also explore the nearby town of Old Fort and its surrounding attractions:

  1. Old Fort: Discover the historic charm of Old Fort, a quaint town with a rich heritage. Visit the Mountain Gateway Museum to learn about the region’s history or take a stroll through the downtown area to explore local shops and restaurants.
  2. Pisgah National Forest: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Pisgah National Forest, which offers numerous recreational opportunities. Explore the forest’s extensive trail system, go camping, enjoy fishing in its pristine streams, or take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  3. Linville Gorge: Experience the rugged beauty of Linville Gorge, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Hike along the trails that offer stunning views of the deep gorge and its dramatic cliffs. Visit Linville Falls, a breathtaking waterfall within the gorge, or go rock climbing and camping in this wilderness area.
  4. Black Mountain: Head to the nearby town of Black Mountain, known for its charming downtown area and scenic beauty. Explore local shops, art galleries, and craft breweries. Nearby attractions include the majestic Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and Lake Tomahawk, a peaceful spot for picnicking and walking.

Discover the Magic of Catawba Falls

Catawba Falls near Old Fort, NC, offers a captivating journey into the natural wonders of the Smoky Mountains. With its cascading waters, lush surroundings, and rewarding hiking trail, this waterfall is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the nearby town of Old Fort, venture into Pisgah National Forest, and embrace the beauty of the surrounding area. Experience the magic of Catawba Falls and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Note: Please respect the natural environment, follow any posted regulations, and take precautions while hiking to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

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