Glen Falls is a triple waterfall near Highlands with four great scenic stops along the roughly 2-mile round-trip hike in the Nantahala National Forest. The upper and middle cascades are the most beautiful. From the parking area, take the woodland trail downhill. We suggest not stopping until you get to the middle section (photo at top) since it's downhill all the way. Then you can stop at the upper section and other vantage points as resting stops on your hike back uphill!
Located just a few miles from downtown Highlands, Glen Falls is on the east fork of Overflow Creek in the scenic Blue Valley area. The hike makes a gradual descent with about 400 feet in elevation change. There are quite a few switchbacks, so the climb is not too steep.
About 1/2-mile from the parking area, you'll come to the observation deck for the upper section of the waterfall, dropping about 70 feet. Continue about 1/3-mile to the middle section of the falls that drop 60 feet, with water stair-stepping down a wide rock face. If you want to venture down the trail more, a third small section drops about 15 feet. We typically turn around at the middle section.
At both the middle and upper sections, there are observation decks to safely view the falls. If the water is down, you can venture out on rocks for a closer view. Of course, be careful of the slippery rocks and swift currents. Stay on the dry stones!
As you hike back to the parking area, you'll see a side trail that forks to the left, past the upper section. That takes you to an observation deck on top of the upper section of the falls for a birdseye view of the waterfall and mountains.
Directions: From US Highway 64 in Highlands, go south on NC Highway 106 about 1.7 miles and look for the sign to Glen Falls Scenic area on the left. After you turn, the gravel road to the falls (SR 1618) veers off immediately to the right. The road dead ends into the parking area in about a mile.
There are many waterfalls near Highlands and Cashiers that are easily seen and enjoyed. Many of these are located along US Highway 64, the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Another nearby waterfall hike is to Secret Falls.