The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Boone NC

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Located in the North Carolina High Country, Boone is a scenic college town with a surplus of art galleries, shopping, restaurants, hiking trails, Christmas Tree Farms, and beautiful overlooks. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs right through Boone, which is close to small towns such as Blowing Rock, Seven Devils, Wilkesboro, Newland, Linville, and Banner Elk.

This location high in the North Carolina mountains makes Boone the perfect place for finding an impressive array of wondrous waterfalls, cascades, and swimming holes.

So read on for our picks for the best waterfalls near Boone NC, which are listed below in order of geographic proximity.

Some are located right by the roadside and require no hiking at all, while others include hikes ranging from easy and moderate to strenuous. 

All of these Boone waterfalls are beautiful, but we urge everyone to use caution around them.

Note that it is not safe to jump from the tops of waterfalls or climb on them, and hikers should always be aware of slippery rocks and unpredictable water currents. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Boone NC (Blue Ridge Parkway MM 291.8)



Best Waterfalls Near Boone NC Guide

  1. Laurel Creek Falls (a.k.a. Trash Can Falls)
  2. Hebron Falls
  3. Glen Burney Falls
  4. Otter Falls
  5. Cascade Falls (a.k.a. The Cascades)
  6. Green Mountain Creek Falls
  7. Silvervale Falls
  8. Waterfalls Park
  9. Elk River Falls
  10. Linville Falls


Laurel Creek Falls
Laurel Creek Falls, Photo by Dawson Tozier

1. Laurel Creek Falls (a.k.a. Trash Can Falls)

Boone, NC

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 0.3 miles round-trip

Laurel Creek Falls is a popular swimming area on the Watauga River, where you’re likely to find App State students hanging out on any given day.

This well-known local spot is often featured on souvenir shop stickers and t-shirts.  The 30-foot falls are located approximately 11 miles from downtown Boone on US 321.

To get there, drive on US 321 for around 11 miles until you see a pullout. Park there and follow the short, but steep 0.3-mile round-trip trail to the falls, where swimming holes abound. 

The falls are only about 200 feet from the main road. Locals call it Trash Can Falls because it used to be located near a dumpster, which visitors used as a reference point for the unmarked trail. 

Laurel Creek Falls contains many rocks to climb on, logs to walk across, and plenty of space for swimming. There’s also a large, flat area where people often camp out and have bonfires. 

Although the hike is relatively easy, hikers should be aware of poison ivy along the trail and slippery rocks at the falls. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Boone NC Hiking Trails to Explore

Hebron Falls Near Boone NC
Hebron Falls, Photo by Dawson Tozier

2. Hebron Falls

Boone, NC

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1.5 miles round-trip

Hebron Falls is an 80-foot waterfall located approximately 12 miles from Downtown Boone.

The falls are located along the Boone Fork Trail in Julian Price Memorial Park. Visitors can get there by taking US-321 S and the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 297. 

The hike to the falls is around 1.5 miles long, and is considered easy to moderate in difficulty. When you come to the trail loop, take the right loop and continue on to a small sign that announces Hebron Falls is 1.4 miles ahead. 

The Boone Fork Trail is surrounded by a scenic creek, and there are also several swimming holes. Along the way, hikers will see several smaller waterfalls, as well as various overlooks and boulders they can climb on.. 

Hikers should be aware of roots and rocks along the way. Caution should be taken when climbing boulders as well, since they may be slippery. 

The well-marked, moderate trail contains a variation of uphill treks and flat ground, making it a good trip for hikers of all experience levels. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Bryson City NC & Swain County

Glen Burney Falls near Boone NC
Glen Burney Falls, photo by Maria Smith

3. Glen Burney Falls

Blowing Rock, NC

Distance from Boone: 8 miles

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 2.7 miles round-trip

Glen Burney Falls is a stunning 50-foot waterfall near downtown Blowing Rock, which is located approximately 8 miles from Boone on US-321 S. 

Starting in Annie Cannon Gardens, the 2.7-mile round-trip trail takes hikers to Glen Burney Falls, Glen Marie Falls, and Cascade Falls.

The falls are located on New Year’s Creek, below Mayview Lake. They drop off the side of the Blue Ridge Escarpment into the John’s River Gorge. 

The beautiful, but strenuous hike takes you along the top of all three of these Blowing Rock waterfalls. These areas require extra caution, since they’re close to the edges of the falls. 

The hike takes visitors through the beautiful Annie Cannon Gardens (which features North Carolina wildflowers in spring and early summer) and alongside “The Ruins,” Blowing Rock’s sewage treatment system from the 1920s. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Blowing Rock NC for Foodies

Otter Falls Trail near Banner Elk and Boone NC
Otter Falls Observation Deck, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

4. Otter Falls 

Seven Devils, NC

Distance from Boone: 12 miles

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1.2 miles round-trip

Otter Falls is a picturesque 25-foot waterfall in Valley Creek. The falls are located at 825 Skyland Drive in Seven Devils, approximately 12 miles from Boone on NC-105 S.

The Otter Falls trail, which opened in 2015,  is a more recent attraction in the High Country.

The roaring water of Otter Falls cascades down mossy rocks, and it can be seen at several viewing points along the trail. The best view, however, is at the recently added observation deck, which hikers will find at the end of the trail. 

A mildly strenuous 1.2-mile round-trip hike takes visitors to this observation deck for a close-up view of the falls. The path to Otter Falls is very clearly marked and fairly easy to navigate.

There are boulders and flat rocks hikers can sit on at the falls, where they can take in the surrounding beauty. From there, they can dip their feet in the creek and relax before beginning the arduous climb back to the parking area. 

READ MORE:The 20 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC

Cascades Trail
Cascade Falls, Photo by Dawson Tozier

5. Cascade Falls (a.k.a. The Cascades)

Wilkesboro, NC

Distance from Boone: 15 miles

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1.2 miles round-trip

Located near E.B. Jeffress Park, Cascade Falls (a.k.a. The Cascades) is a 150-foot waterfall in Falls Creek, approximately 15 miles from Boone on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 271.9.

There’s an easy 1.2-mile round-trip hike to the falls, with various picturesque overlooks along the way.

This trail, which is good for hikers of all experience levels, takes you on a bridge over the Falls Branch stream and through a nearby cove. 

There are various viewpoints of The Cascades along the way, with side views, mid-views, and upper overlooks. For the best view, go to the lower viewpoint at the bottom of the steps at the end of the trail.

Hikers should not attempt to climb on the falls or jump from them, as this can result in serious injury or even death. 

READ MORE: The 21 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls in North Carolina

Green Mountain Creek Falls
Green Mountain Creek Falls, Photo by Dawson Tozier

6. Green Mountain Creek Falls

Blowing Rock, NC

Distance from Boone: 15 miles

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: Roadside

Green Mountain Creek Falls is a 20-foot roadside waterfall located near downtown Blowing Rock, approximately 15 miles from Boone on US-321 S and US-221 S.

The falls cascade through Green Mountain Creek, and the water flows into a stream on the other side of the road. 

The waterfall is located on the right side of the road, and there are viewing points from both sides of the road.

An excellent viewpoint can be found at the corner of a pull-out just past the waterfall. These falls are easily accessible, and include a shallow pool at the base.

This small, but scenic waterfall is rarely crowded, so there is a chance you could have it all to yourself!

READ MORE: The Top 25 Blue Ridge Mountain Towns in GA & NC

Silvervale Falls
Silvervale Falls, Photo by Dawson Tozier

7. Silvervale Falls 

Blowing Rock, NC

Distance from Boone: 17 miles

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: Roadside

Silvervale Falls is an 80-foot waterfall located near Blowing Rock, approximately 17 miles from Boone on US-321 S. 

The falls are easily accessible and do not require any hiking whatsoever.

In fact, they can be seen right from the parking area.

Although the falls themselves are quite beautiful, the surrounding rocks are a popular spot for graffiti. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Treehouse Rentals in the North Carolina Mountains

Waterfalls Park NC
Waterfalls Park, Photo by Dawson Tozier

8. Waterfalls Park

Newland, NC

Distance from Boone: 23 miles

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: N/A

Waterfalls Park (a.k.a. Bobby McLean Memorial Park) is home to several cascades that come together to form a 50-foot waterfall. 

The park is approximately 23 miles from Boone via US-105 S, on NC 194 in Newland NC. It is directly across the street from a Dollar General, which is located at 871 Cranberry St. 

The lower cascades are easily accessible, but you can also walk up a short, steep trail for a better view.

There’s a green footbridge and several picnic tables in the area, providing a great spot for relaxing or picnicking. 

For a short road trip from the park, you can drive 11 miles north to Elk River Falls or 12 miles south to Linville Falls. 

READ MORE: The Top 10 Waterfalls Near Brevard NC (Transylvania County)

Mary Gabbett at Elk River Falls in Banner Elk NC
Mary Gabbett at Elk River Falls, photo by Bret Love

9. Elk River Falls 

Elk Park, NC

Distance from Boone: 30 miles

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: Negligible

One of favorite waterfalls near Boone, Elk River Falls is a 50-foot waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest. It’s approximately 30 miles from Boone on NC-105 S, on Elk River Road in Elk Park. 

Visitors can take a five-minute walk to the cascading falls and view them from a flat area that makes a great spot for picnicking.

You can also walk down to the left of the big boulders to find a shallow pool area that is safe to wade in. 

There’s also a beach area that is safe to swim in below the falls. However, visitors should be aware of the deadly currents directly in front of the falls, which have caused severe injuries and even deaths. 

Additionally, we do not advise visitors to jump from the rocky cliffs into the falls, which has also proven fatal numerous times over the years. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina

Linville Falls in Linville Gorge Wilderness
Linville Falls, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

10. Linville Falls

Linville, NC

Distance from Boone: 30 miles

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1.6 miles round-trip

Arguably the most famous waterfall in Western North Carolina, Linville Falls is a three-tiered, 150-foot waterfall located in Pisgah National Forest. It’s located around 30 miles from Boone via NC-105 S and US-221 S. 

The falls drop into the Linville River, which was known by the Cherokee people as “the river of many cliffs.”

The river is a part of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, which is called “The Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians,” and was America’s first officially designated wilderness area. 

The 1.6-mile round-trip hike to the waterfalls is considered easy by most. But the nearby Linville Gorge Trail is strenuous and difficult.

Another nearby trail to Linville Falls is the Plunge Basin Trail, which is one mile round-trip and is considered to be a moderate hike. These trails are all sprinkled with beautiful wildflowers and other plant life. 

Additionally, there is a Linville Visitors Center at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 316, where visitors can find information on hiking trails, camping, and other activities in the area.  –by Maggie Watts; lead image by Dawson Tozier

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Cherokee NC & the Qualla Boundary


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!