On warm summer days in the mountains, the best way to cool off is an adventure to a beautiful waterfall! Luckily, being in Blowing Rock, you are never too far from waterfall adventures all around the High Country.
If you’re looking to cool off this summer on your next visit to Chetola Resort, here are our favorite falls in the area:
Glen Burney Falls
Located just 3 minutes from Chetola Resort, these beautiful falls are right in the heart of Downtown Blowing Rock. On this 3.2 mile out and back trail, enjoy views of Glen Marie Falls and Glen Burney Falls at the end of the trail. In addition to viewing the falls, at the beginning of the trail you can find remains of an old structure.
This trail is a favorite of Chetola guests and visitors because its location makes it a great adventure to experience before or after exploring Downtown Blowing Rock. You can even walk from downtown to the trailhead for the falls! It’s the perfect hidden gem, right in town!
This trail is rated as moderate but does have a few steep spots and rocks/roots can be slick so hiking shoes or sturdy shoes are recommended.
Otter Falls is located in the adorable town of Seven Devils, North Carolina, a short 30-minute drive from Chetola Resort. At the trailhead, you have the option to enjoy 4 different short trails. The hike to the falls is a short 1 mile out and back trail that allows adventurers to enjoy the unique flora of the High Country as well as the beautiful Otter Falls.
Visitors love this spot because the trek is less strenuous than some other waterfall hikes in the area, but Otter Falls is just as stunning as some of the bigger falls.
The trek to Otter Falls is rated as moderate and does descend about 230 feet towards the falls. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended.
Elk River Falls
Located just past Banner Elk in the town of Elk Park, the Elk River Falls trail provides a spectacular view of a 50 ft waterfall after a short hike. Follow the trail sign for “Big Falls” for an easy ¼ of a mile walk and you will find yourself at the top of the falls. Take in the views of the water tumbling down and then continue down the trail for another ¼ mile (this last part is a little steeper) and you’ll find yourself at the base of the falls. At the base, there is a big, flat rock where many sit to enjoy the views or take a picnic (we highly recommend a to-go meal from Timberlake’s). Many people also take the opportunity to swim in this spot, but please read the notes below about safety precautions at Elk River Falls.
Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended.
*Important Note: Although swimming is allowed at the pools below the falls, you should NOT swim near the base of the falls or at the top of the falls. The currents are too strong for wading in these spots and can be deadly. You should also not jump from the top of the falls.
Linville Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the area. Known for its accessibility via the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 316) and the gorgeous, plunging falls that lead into the Linville Gorge, the Linville Falls trails are a must-see for waterfall enthusiasts.
The Linville Falls area offers 3 different trails for those seeking a view of the falls. The Erwins View Trail is a 1.6-mile round trip hike that is rated as moderate and takes hikers to various overlooks viewing the falls. The Linville Gorge Trail is 1.4 miles round trip and is rated as strenuous. The Plunge Basin Trail is a strenuous 1-mile round trip down to the base of the falls and back up.
You will be mesmerized by the views from any of these trails and your trip to Linville Falls will be an adventure you cherish forever.
Hiking boots and sturdy shoes are recommended especially for the Plunge Basin Trail and Linville Gorge Trail which are strenuous and can be slippery if rocks are wet.
*Important Note: Swimming in this area is extremely dangerous and not allowed. Please stay behind all signs and follow all rules. They are there to keep you safe from the falls.
The Cascades Trail is another wonderful waterfall hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in E.B. Jeffress Park (milepost 272.5). The beautiful Cascades are located along a 1.1-mile loop that is rated as moderate.
Follow the trail until you get to a steep set of steps that takes you down to the overlooks. The first set of steps to the overlook are not too bad, but the second set is considered very steep. Both overlooks provide a gorgeous view of the falls cascading down the rocks and into the lower mountains below.
Hiking boots and sturdy shoes are recommended for this trail.
*Important Note: People have gotten severely injured on this trail. Please do not climb on the falls or sit/stand on top of the stone walls.
After a fun day full of adventures and beautiful waterfalls, end your day with a mouth-watering meal from Timberlake’s Restaurant! Whatever waterfall you choose to explore on your next visit to Chetola Resort we hope you have a splashin’ good time!
*Please be sure that when exploring you leave the waterfalls and the areas surrounding them better than you found them. Please pick up all trash, leave only footprints, take nothing but photos and follow OutdoorNC’s seven principles for recreating in North Carolina. Find the seven principles by visiting https://www.visitnc.com/outdoornc