Sometimes all you have is a couple of hours to see as much of the Plateau possible. Maybe between wedding events, part of your group wants to go shopping and the other wants to see the sights, can’t check into your hotel yet, or you have to check out and you don’t want to hit the road and head home just yet; these four waterfalls all on the Plateau are a great way to spend a couple of hours and leave the area with some amazing memories. The waterfalls I’m referring too are Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls, and Glen Falls. I’ve listed them in the order I visited them as I was coming from Highlands and it seemed like the most logical route to take. The entire round-trip journey took about 3.5 hours, but I spend a lot of time snapping photos. The first three stops are just off Highway 64 on the way to Franklin.
Bridal Veil Falls
First item on the agenda was Bridal Veil Falls. This approx. 120-foot fall is approx. 2.5 miles from Highlands along Hwy 64. The falls is at a pull-off on the right side of the highway coming from highlands and the falls are obvious from the road. Be careful entering and exiting the parking area, there are curves on either side of the highway. To head to Dry Falls next, make a right out of the parking area onto Hwy 64 and drive just under a mile and Dry Falls will be on your left.There may be a line to get into the parking lot, this is nothing new, remain calm and you will be able to find a spot. If it’s so packed and you get to the end you can always exit the lot and take a left and give it another try, like picking up an irresponsible friend at the airport.
Dry Falls is an amazing spectacle that’s listed online at 75-feet but when looking at it up close it seems larger than life. It’s called Dry Falls because the walkway to view the falls leads directly underneath, but you remain dry. You can see the walkway come out of the right side of the waterfall in the photo above about halfway up the falls. After heavy rains you don’t stay nearly as dry once the falls get flowing. Take a right on Hwy 64 when you leave Dry Falls so now you’re headed back towards Highlands.
Pictured below is Dry Falls at high water.
Pictured below are photos of Dry Falls taken on Christmas Eve 2018.
Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls
This greets everyone coming into Highlands from Franklin. The Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls will be on your right as you approach Highlands. The “Highlands Elev. 4118 Feet” sign will mark it’s location. You can get desensitized to the beauty of these falls if you pass by it several times a day but it is stunning to look at.
After seeing Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls is when you may have to check the time depending on your schedule. The next falls is about 5 minutes away and involves some hiking. This is the most time consuming falls on this list but in my humble opinion it’s the best.
If you do have time, when you leave the falls turn right onto Hwy 64 and now you’re headed back to Highlands again. When you get to the intersection of Hwy 64 and the Dillard Road (NC 106), the Farmer’s Market convenience store will be kitty-comer to you up on your right. You want to take a right at these lights and head south on Dillard Road. Travel about 2 miles on Dillard Road and you’ll reach an intersection with a left turn, and a soft-left turn. The soft-left turn is cleverly named Glen Falls Road. Take Glen Falls Road about one mile to the end and you’ll see the entire dirt-circle area is available for parking and there’s usually plenty of it.
Pictured below is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls at high water.
Pictured below are photos of Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls taken on Christmas Eve 2018.
Park near the Forest Service sign and the trail head is right there. There are three-tiers to Glen Falls. Depending on how much you want to commit determines how far you want to go.This waterfall and trail ARE NOT wheelchair accessible, however, the first three are visible with wheelchair access.
The first tier is gorgeous and you find it about a half a mile into the trail. This is somewhat of a steep trail. Throughout all four tiers there’s approx. 400 feet of elevation change, so remember whatever you walk down into, you going to have to hike up out of.
When observing all three levels of these falls please use common sense. People that try to climb out over the fences and onto rocks do fall off, it happens, please exercise caution.
The second tier is about another half-mile down the trail. At one point, the trail will fork and you have the option to take a right. Take the right and follow the sound of the falls. The second tier is often the favorite as it is big and you can get close.
The third tier is where things get iffy. If you have the time, which only takes about another 20 minutes, I highly suggest making the last leg of the journey. The falls end is a narrow chute and empty into a serene flat pool. Frankly it’s gorgeous. It may get a bad rap because it’s the hardest to get to, making it the hardest to get out of, and it’s following the second tier, which is like following the Beatles on stage. But again, if you have the time I suggests you check it out.
Pictured below are photos of Glen Falls taken Christmas Eve 2018.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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