Height: 30 feet
Trail Type: Asphalt and dirt
Hike Distance: A few dozen yards
McGalliard Falls is the centerpiece of McGalliard Falls Park (go figure) just north of downtown Valdese. If you’re into religious history, the Waldenisan heritage story might be of interest in addition to the park. The falls are typical of the kind you find in this part of the state, similar to Moravian or Stone Mountain Falls in which the water slides down a half-dome shaped rock into the splash pool below.
The falls are joined by a reconstructed mill that was damaged by a tree when it fell in 2015. Since then, Valdese town leaders put a bunch of yellow caution tape to protect themselves from any sort of lawsuit resulting from a dumb kid jumping around and getting hurt. You can still make the steep walk down the bank and get down to the base. If you can ignore the bits of trash left by the inconsiderate pigs, the falls are actually really nice.
From Exit 111 off of Interstate 40 in Valdese, head north on Carolina Street. When the road ends at Main Street, turn left. Drive 0.5 miles and turn right onto Church Street. The park is on the right about 1.5 miles down the road.
A paved path leads from the parking lot across the creek at the top of the falls. If water levels are up, the creek actually flows over the path and you might have to get your feet wet (or drive around to the other side of the park to another lot). Although there’s not an official path to the base, enough people have gone down there that it’s pretty obvious what the best route is.