Spilling The Beans On Secret Falls

Don’t let the name of this waterfall fool you. It’s not really a secret. And I’m not breaking any local “code of silence” by telling you about it. Thank goodness.

It’s just so remote hardly anyone knows of it, including plenty of locals.

How remote is it? Let’s just say you have to really be committed to visiting Secret Falls. It’s literally out in the middle of the wilderness. After you’ve survived the numerous, curvy switchbacks out of Highlands, NC, you head down a long, poorly maintained, one lane gravel road.

But that’s all part of its charm.

For when it comes to waterfalls, the more remote they are, the less popular they are…and this is a good thing. As the tourists hit Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, you should plan to spend your day at Secret Falls.

How To Find Secret Falls

I’m not one to reinvent the wheel, so instead of providing detailed directions, I’m simply going to refer you to a couple of friends of mine, Matt and Melinda, over at Stay And Play In The Smokies. Besides providing great directions to Secret Falls, they’re also a great resource for travel and vacation information about western North Carolina.

The Trail

This relatively short trail, less than a mile from the trailhead, is very level and wide. You’ll have to cross two streams, but they both have sturdy log bridges that are easy to cross.

Once you reach the side trail to Secret Falls, there’s a short drop in elevation to the lower part of the falls. Just watch the steps – a couple of them were wobbly.

Level and wide, this trail is easy to walk.Stream crossing with log bridge.Beautiful Rhododendron tunnel.Side trail to Secret Falls marked with a blue blaze.Staircase down to the lower part of the falls.Lower Falls

This is where you get the best view and photo ops of Secret Falls. If you visit in warmer weather, you can even take advantage of the great swimming hole.

Secret Falls, NCRefreshing, cool and private.The beach at Secret Falls.A great swimming hole for the whole family.Upper Falls

Being relatively easy to get too and fairly safe if you keep your distance from the edge, you’ll find an incredible view looking down Secret Falls and beyond. And I imagine this would look spectacular when the fall colors are at their peak.

Falling water is everywhere at Secret Falls.The view looking down Secret Falls.

You can visit Secret Falls anytime of year. Go for a day or spend a night or two. Swim, fish, camp or take lots of photos. There’s so much to see and do here. Just remember to keep it nice for the next visitors and pack out anything you take with you.

See ya’ on the trail,
Tastelikchickn

2 thoughts on “Spilling The Beans On Secret Falls

  1. Looks wonderful! If you want to keep something nice these days, it’s best to make it a little hard to get to. We have some falls close to town, and they recently built a nice trail up to it, maybe only a quarter mile. People have actually gone up there and spray painted graffiti on the rocks, including the rocks behind the falls (which I have no idea how they got the paint to dry)!. One scrawl even says, “Happy Mother’s Day!”. It’s heartbreaking!

    • That’s too bad! It’s in everyone’s interest to have free and open access to public lands and beauty spots, but how do you teach some people the leave no trace principles? You would think it would be simple, common sense.

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