Hike the Triple Falls Trail at North Carolina’s DuPont State Forest to a stunning trio of cascading waterfalls.
LOCATION:DuPont State Forest near Brevard, NC
OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 780 Trails Illustrated Map
Three thundering waterfalls spill in succession, tumbling and cascading from wide, blocky rock ledges. Tall trees frame the waterfalls in lush, green beauty. It’s one of North Carolina’s most popular waterfalls, and for a good reason: with three waterfalls in such a short stretch of river, Triple Falls is a gorgeous hike. And movie buffs, it’s no coincidence that these waterfalls might look familiar: the waterfall was a former filming location for The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
This hike scores views of all three waterfalls on a one-mile, kid-friendly, round trip adventure. The route explores DuPont State Recreational Forest, a beautiful, 10,000-acre playground that’s popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and runners, located just east of Brevard, NC. And while the waterfalls are the hike’s main attraction, there’s abundant natural beauty throughout the hike, too: the trail follows the scenic Little River, catching views of the glassy river as it flows over a grassy, bouldered bed.
Triple Falls, NC: the hike
The adventure starts at a trailhead in the park off Staton Road (view maps and driving directions), immediately crossing the wood and metal bridge spanning the Little River, catching views of the river’s scenic rocky bed from the bridge.
Reaching the opposite shore, the hike ducks under a bridge, catching expansive river views. A tributary stream, Hooker Creek, joins the river on the opposite bank, tumbling over a rocky, bouldered bed before flowing into a glassy pool. Tall grasses line the river’s banks.
The trail follows a wide, graveled path, diving deeper into the forest and following the river’s broad meander. The forest is lush, shaded by tall trees above and covered in vibrant green moss and orange-brown leaves below. Leathery-leafed and gnarly-branched rhododendron are abundant, lining the sides of the trail.
The hike arcs southbound, reaching a trail junction at .2 mile and veering left to visit the lower of the three waterfalls. Just below the falls, the river’s flow is serene, bordered by blocky rocks, grasses, and tall trees.
The hike reaches the lower waterfall at .3 mile, catching an up-close view of the tumbling waterfall.
Departing the lower falls, the hike doubles back to the main trail and turns left at .4 mile, beginning a climb to the upper and middle waterfalls. The hike scores a stunning view of all three tiers of Triple Falls from a break through the trees at a half mile.
Reaching a series of wooden stairs and landings, the route turns left, descending to the upper and middle waterfalls. Gorgeous views of the top two tiers of Triple Falls open up as the hike reaches a wide, expansive rock outcrop, and the lower waterfall thunders downriver. The sun-drenched expanses of rock make a perfect spot for a mid-hike water break, surrounded by the stunning cascades of the falls.
After soaking up the beauty, this hike retraces its outbound steps to return to the trailhead, reaching the trailhead at one mile and finishing the waterfall-filled, scenic adventure.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
More waterfall-filled adventures at DuPont State Forest
Up for an adventure? DuPont State Forest offers more than 80 miles of outstanding hiking, biking, and running trails. Don’t miss the short hike to Hooker Falls, accessible from the Triple Falls trailhead: it’s an easy .6 mile hike to a broad, cascading waterfall on the Little River (and a popular summertime swimming hole). Or if you’re up for chasing some serious waterfall beauty, hike the forest’s Three Waterfalls Hike to visit Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and the towering cascades of High Falls on a 4.5-mile roundtrip.
And don’t miss our other favorite hikes to waterfalls near Asheville, under two miles. They’re all stunningly beautiful, but short on distance, making them especially great for beginners and families with young kids.
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
Free parking is available at the trailhead. Check the DuPont State Forest website for hours and closures.
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