Chasing 10 Waterfalls Near and at The Coves

Waterfalls North Carolina

“There’s nobody living who couldn’t stand all afternoon in front of a waterfall.”  Agnes Martin, Artist

Waterfalls stimulate all of our senses.  We see the whiteness of the foam, feel the spray on our faces, hear all the pleasing music of the water as it seeks its new levels and even detect a clean and pleasant smell surrounding us.  Of course, we’re moved by the beauty of it all and being in the presence of something so purely natural and awe-inspiring.  But are you aware of the underlying reason we are so drawn to waterfalls and how being around them is beneficial to your health?

Without getting too deeply into the details, we can simply say that the collision of falling water molecules causes electrons to be stripped and transferred to the surrounding air, creating a negative charge.  And the more negative ions you encounter, the better you feel.  Your mood is lifted, depression is alleviated and anxiety is reduced.  They stimulate your metabolism, strengthen your resistance to illness and speed up the rate at which you recover from fatigue.  Negative ions also clean up the air you breathe, removing bacteria, mold spores, dust and pollutants.

It’s hard to imagine anything else that provides so many benefits just by virtue of its existence.  And some of nature’s most beautiful waterfalls are waiting for you on the hiking trails in Western North Carolina.  What better time to discover them than during the spectacular fall foliage season?  As you explore the different elevations, you’ll see breathtaking colors everywhere.  And nothing can prepare you for the unforgettable experience of hearing the rush of water ahead, turning a corner and coming upon one of the magnificent waterfalls of Western North Carolina cascading from high above through a breathtaking backdrop of local wildflowers.

One of the many advantages of living in Carolina mountain homes is being close to so much natural splendor.  At The Coves Mountain River Club, we have these waterfalls to explore nearby: 

  • Crabtree Falls, Marion – You can start at a campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike through a beautiful hardwood forest to this 70-foot drop, which is considered to be one of the most photogenic of the waterfalls of Western North Carolina.
  • Linville Falls, Linville  This is a three-tier waterfall, especially popular for its easy accessibility to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It plunges into Linville Gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians.


Catawba Falls, Old Fort  Over a hundred feet high, this waterfall is at the southern tip of the Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District.  It’s fully accessible to the public and a “must-see” if you’re in the area.

  • Elk River Falls, Pisgah Forest – It’s an easy five-minute walk up the trail to the top, where you can stand on flat rock and watch the water plummet over the cliff.  Don’t be tempted to dive or swim above or under the falls or climb the rock face.
  • High Shoals Falls, South Mountains State Park – Forty miles of some of the best of the hiking trails in Western North Carolina take you as high as 3000 feet elevation, where the water drops 80 feet into a large pool.  This is one of the state’s most rugged parks and features equestrian camping, trout fishing, mountain biking and more.
  • South Harper Creek Falls, Cary’s Flat – At about 120 feet, this is the highest waterfall in the Wilson Creek area.  It’s so big that you can’t see it all from one place.  Getting there is not an easy hike if you have a fear of heights, but it’s definitely worth the trip.

We’ve completed most of the 50 miles of hiking trails we’ve planned for The Coves Mountain River Club.  Here’s what’s available for you so far:

39 Miles of Hiking and Horse Trails

  • Switchback Trail – 7 mile trail crossing over several streams, brings hikers to bottom of lodge, by the old gold mine and along Mila Cascading Falls
  • Spine Trail – 7 mile trail that brings hikers through the pasture property along side stock fishing pond and past the wildlife viewing area and over several beautiful streams
  • Winding River Trail – 4 mile trail that follows along the Johns River, passing Coves River Park, the community gardens and stables leading to Coleton’s Swimming Hole
  • Magnolia Trail – 3 mile trail starting down near the pasture then goes up in elevation about 100ft overlooking river, then deep into woods and back down to Coleton’s Swimming Hole
  • Tranquility Vineyard Trail – 2 mile trail that brings hikers deep into woods and along several small streams down to the vineyard
  • Little Waterfall Trail – 1.5 mile trail that starts at Table View Lane and passes several waterfalls and ties into Waterfall Trail
  • Cedar Cove Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers to the Waterfall Trail leading to the community gardens and stables
  • Waterfall Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers down to Waterfall Park and into community gardens
  • Hawks Nest Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers from Waterfall Lane down along spring fed stream into the Waterfall Trail leading to the community gardens and stable

Four Cascading Waterfalls

  • Grandfather Gorge Falls – 50 foot triple tier waterfall over large boulders plunging into a pool
  • Mila Cascading Falls – easy access, dramatic stairway-like waterfall into the Johns River at Mila Park
  • Highland River Falls – easy access, tumbles down a mountain hollow into the Johns River
  • Penelope Cascading Falls – 40 foot layered waterfall with splash areas, easy access near the Coves River Park

Our trails blend seamlessly with the forest.  They’re wide and well-marked, and they lead to scenic outlooks, picnic areas and community parks.  Thirteen miles of the system is “horse-friendly”.  Residents can choose a short day hike or a full-day adventure without ever leaving our gated community.

Fauna and flowers you’re likely to see along the way include mountain laurel, poplar, rhododendron, azaleas and wild mushrooms. Bird enthusiasts can expect to encounter a variety of woodpeckers, owls, bluebirds, colorful finches and hummingbirds.  It’s a paradise for anyone who loves photography and videography, so be sure to bring your camera.

Our North Carolina mountain homes at The Coves Mountain River Club provide a front-row seat to all of this and so much more.  Fishing, boating, gardening, hiking, golfing…the list goes on and on.  If you’re visiting the Lenoir area or anywhere else in the foothills, we invite you to stop by and visit.  We’d love to show you how great living here can be.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

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