Height: 130 feet
Trail Type: Dirt
Hike Distance: 1.5 mile round trip
Glen Falls is definitely one of the prettiest falls in the state as long as there’s decent flow. There are three distinct falls here and over 600 feet of elevation change. However, the top two sections of the falls are what I’m counting as the actual height.
The top section is a 70-foot free fall over a massive open rock face. The second section is completely different – a 60-foot falls that spills and tumbles over innumerable rock ledges. For geology nerds, the rock at Glen Falls has unique banding and color, which adds to the character of the falls.
From the intersection of US 64 and NC highway 106 in Highlands, head south on NC 106 for just under 2 miles to the 3-way intersection with Holt Road and Glen Falls Road. There is a brown road sign directing you where to turn. Obviously you’ll take Glen Falls Road and follow it to the parking area at the end.
The trail begins at the parking area and follows a level course into the woods before beginning a series of long switchbacks. The first overlook isn’t too far from the parking area and puts you at the top of the first section of the falls, which doesn’t offer a view of the falls, but rather a panorama of Blue Valley downstream. From here, the trail descends pretty moderately down the mountain. The main viewing area for the first section of the falls is about 0.3 miles from the parking area. If you get too worn out making this hike, you can stop here, even though the second section is equally as beautiful.
The trail continues from that viewpoint and switchbacks several more times down the mountain to the second viewpoint. Here, there’s a narrow wooden platform that allows you to walk out onto the creek bed at the base of the falls. Be careful here! I watched someone slip on the rocks here and almost slide down the rest of the waterfall.
You could continue down the trail to the bottom section of the falls, but it isn’t that impressive and I would recommend turning back after you’ve seen the middle portion. You can kill a ton of time here because there’s so much character in this section. The rocks are beautifully banded and the water falling over all of the little ledges is mesmerizing.