My book, Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage, is being reprinted. I went through it to find typos and errors. But it was a good chance to update information, as well. This is a new reprint, not a new edition. For a new edition, I would hike all the trails again.
When I wrote the book in 2007 and 2008, Dry Falls in Highlands was closed. The U.S. Forest Service was going to repair the parking area. It reopened a while back but I had to see it for myself before I put it in my book.
So I drove 175 miles (roundtrip) with my hiking friend, Dave, to check it out. There’s now a new parking area, restrooms, wheel-chair accessible ramp and a lovely paved walkway down to the falls. On the way, we passed Bridal Veil falls (right), not as impressive.
It was a long way to check out one fall, so we did a little walking. On the way here, we had tried to go up to Whiteside Mountain. We started up the trail but it was covered with a sheet of ice; we could have ice skated up. So we gave up on that and turned around.
Instead I took Dave to Glen Falls (on the right). No snow on that trail. The one-mile road on NC 106 was being repaved but we dodged the construction trucks. The falls were really flowing – I had never seen it this full. We went down to the end of the trail and continued until the stream crossing and came back up (2.8 miles round trip and a climb of 800 ft.) On the way, we met a couple from Ontario on their spring break. They were staying in Dillard, GA and just hiking around.
On the way up the trail, we had lunch at the view (left) into Georgia.
We headed home and stopped at Gorges State Park. We drove around the new road into the park but had no desire to get out of the car. No real views and almost no hiking on the western end of the park. You can walk to Rainbow Falls on Horsepasture River into Nantahala National Forest, but other than that, the hikes are quite short.