Hike to Moore Cove Falls, a towering, 50-foot free-falling waterfall set in a scenic creek valley filled with fern and rhododendron. It’s a beautiful, moderate, one-mile hike, and located in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard.
OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 780 Trails Illustrated Map (find it at Trailful Outdoor Co.)
Transylvania County is dubbed the ‘land of waterfalls’, and for a good reason: more than 250 waterfalls spill, cascade, and tumble in this North Carolina county south of Asheville. One of the county’s prettiest and most easily accessible waterfalls is Moore Cove Falls, a 50-foot waterfall that spills in a single, classic drop from a towering, angular rock outcrop. It’s dramatically beautiful, given the high drop, massive cliff and small cave behind the falls.
The waterfall ranges from a mere trickle in dry weather to a pouring rush after extensive rain – but the waterfall’s sweet spot for beauty tends to be somewhere in the middle. The hike to the falls is as equally beautiful as the waterfall, trailing through a lush forest in a stream-filled valley. And at 1.2 miles, roundtrip, this trail makes a great family-friendly waterfall hike.
The trail is located just off US 276 between Brevard and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The waterfall sits in a secluded, quiet cove set back from the highway, a quiet refuge in an area popular with waterfall tourists (both Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls are nearby). But unlike some of the nearby, uber-popular waterfall trails, this trail is often far less busy, offering a serene hike in an exceptionally beautiful forest.
Moore Cove Falls: the hike
The trail departs from a signed trailhead just off US 276 (view maps and driving directions), crossing a footbridge over Looking Glass Creek. Yellow trail blazes mark the trail, but it’s also well-worn and easy to follow. The hike rolls elevation, climbing a tall ridge high above Looking Glass Creek and plunging between large rock outcrops.
The trail treks northbound, leaving the sounds of the highway behind as it dives deeper into the forest. Vibrant green ferns thrive on the sun-dappled forest floor, and wildflowers dot the sides of the trail in warmer months. The trail climbs elevation before crossing Moore Creek over a wood bridge at .35 mile. Moore Creek is a tributary of Looking Glass Creek, the same creek that the hike crossed at the trailhead.
Downstream, Looking Glass Creek flows into the beautiful, popular cascades at Looking Glass Falls.
The hike crosses a boardwalk and continues to climb, crossing another wood bridge at .5 mile. The sound of the waterfall grows louder as the hike approaches the falls. Moore Cove Falls comes into view, plunging in a wispy stream from the broad, vast, blocky cliff above.
The overlook area makes a fantastic place to enjoy the falls and snap a few Instagram-worthy shots. As always, though, please view the waterfall safely and from a distance – don’t climb on or near the waterfall. And please remember to pack out everything you packed in and leave no trace to help preserve the area’s natural beauty.
Departing the waterfall, the hike retraces its steps to the trailhead, completing the hike at 1.2 miles.
More nearby hiking adventures
In the area with daylight and energy to burn? Don’t miss the exceptionally beautiful loop through Pink Beds at the Cradle of Forestry, a mostly-level five-mile loop through high-elevation grassy wetlands, beaver-dammed ponds, and mountain bogs.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.
Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.
Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.
Moore Cove Falls Map, Directions & Details
Love the trail?
This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of The Pisgah Conservancy. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!
Free (but limited) parking is available at the Moore Cove trailhead, located off US Highway 276 near Brevard, NC.
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