Height: 40 feet
Trail Type: Asphalt
Hike Distance: None
US 64 from Highlands to Franklin is an engineering marvel. At times, the road is bordered by a massive rock wall on one side and a sheer drop hundreds of feet into the Cullasaja Gorge below on the other side. The only thing preventing you from a fiery death is a rusty guardrail that I’m convinced is just there for show and would disintegrate the instant it was touched by an out-of-control vehicle. The road is just wide enough for two semi-trailers to pass, but that won’t stop you from clenching your butt cheeks together when you see a car coming in the opposite direction (trucks are thankfully strongly discouraged from using this stretch of highway).
Bridal Veil Falls is the first of several accessible waterfalls on this portion of US 64 between Highlands and Franklin. When the highway was first built, the road actually passed underneath and behind Bridal Veil Falls, which is a 40-foot free fall from an overhanging rock cliff. Unfortunately, the builders of the road forgot that wintertime brings about a lot of ice, and routing the road underneath Bridal Veil Falls quickly became very dangerous thanks to icy roads and falling icepicks. Even when the road was rerouted around the front of the falls, you used to be able to drive under the falls along the pullout for a quick stop. However, that has since been prohibited thanks to the possibility of falling rock.
From the intersection of US 64 and NC highway 106 in Highlands, drive west on US 64. The falls are 2.3 miles on the right. If you miss it, you’re blind and shouldn’t be driving.