Upper Whitewater Falls in Sapphire, North Carolina

Written by Jason Barnette
Posted on August 22, 2016

I could hear the roar of the crashing water long before I could see it. By the time I had reached the end of the 1/4-mile paved path and caught my first sight of Upper Whitewater Falls I could hear nothing else. It’s part of the tallest waterfall on the East Coast, and one of the easiest to view in the area.

Whitewater Falls consists of an upper section in North Carolina and a lower section in South Carolina, accessible by a different trail. Together the waterfall is a total 811′ feet of tumbling, crashing water in the Jocassee Gorge of Nantahala National Forest.

Cashiers, NC

The amazing view from the lower observation deck. It’s a bit of a climb back up those stairs, but worth it.

The 1/4-mile paved path from the parking area to the first viewing location is an easy walk on a very gradual uphill climb. It’s handicap accessible and only takes a few minutes at a leisure pace. Visitors can get a better view from an observation deck down a long flight of stairs (154 steps to be exact, yes I counted). The view from the lower observation deck is straight-on and uninterrupted, and of course the sound fills your ears and drowns out all other noises.

The parking area has several spots and even a few spots of RV’s and camping trailers. It’s a $2 fee on the honor system. There are a few picnic tables and a small shelter, making this a good stop during a day trip through the area.

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