Stunning waterfalls, lush forests, alpine lakes, and tranquility often are found only by hiking miles over tough terrain. Now, no matter what your fitness level, all of this is available in North Carolina‘s newest state park, DuPont Forest.
This 10,000-acre park is minutes away from Brevard and Hendersonville, straddling the border between southwest North Carolina’s Henderson and Transylvania counties. The low, rolling mountains here host some of the most beautiful and easily accessible waterfalls in a state full of photogenic cascades.
A handicapped-accessible trail from Hooker Falls’ parking lot takes you about six minutes to reach this tranquil rush of water. A broad cataract tumbles about 11 feet over a stony ledge and into Cascade Lake.
The largest falls are on the Little River. Upstream, about a seven-minute walk from Hooker Falls, is Triple Falls. As the name implies, Triple Falls drops 120 feet in three separate cascades. There are marvelous views of the falls from the well-traveled trail. More adventurous hikers can get closer views of the various levels via steeper, and sometimes slippery, trails.
High Falls is another ½ mile up the trail past Triple Falls. Hot weather calls for a close approach down a side trail to the cooling mist at High Falls. And, if you are a little out of shape, there are great views of High Falls from the trail.
You may have a sense of deja vu as you view the falls. Some of them appeared in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Bridal Veil Falls – the first and hardest to access fall on the Little River – had a starring role. It is the one that the movie’s characters walked behind. Water drops off an overhanging ledge, sheets down a granite incline, and spills into a pool. A new parking area at Fawn Lake makes the falls a little easier to reach.
Grassy Creek offers two smaller, but very picturesque falls, too. Several lakes – alpine jewels like Lake Julia and Lake Dense – dot the park. Warm water game fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish are found here. Anglers also can fish for rainbow, brook, and brown trout in the cold water streams, and you also can catch trout in the upper reaches of the Little River.
The horsy set will find a number of trails open to them, too. And mountain bikers, like ants, swarm the rocky hillside on Cedar Mountain in good weather.
There are more than 30 lovely bed and breakfast inns in Brevard and Hendersonville. Book a room and come down to where the waterfalls.
NC Odd Facts
- The world’s largest 10 Commandments can be found in the NC mountains near Murphy
- In Bailey, NC is the Country Doctor Museum complete with the tools used to amputate Stonewall Jackson’s arm
- High Point hosts the world’s largest chest of drawers
- Chief Henry of Cherokee is the world’s most photographed Indian
- An Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum is located in Brevard
- Rose Hill boasts of the world’s largest frying pan
- Mt. Airy, the birthplace of Andy Griffith, is also home to the Andy Griffith Museum and hosts Mayberry Days each year
- The World’s Largest Replica of the World’s Largest Lighthouse is in Wilson, NC
- What is said to be the world’s largest coffee pot is in Winston-Salem
- World’s Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair is in Thomasville