Discover the magic of Secret Falls

Secret Falls is a hidden gem nestled just south of downtown Highlands that makes for an excellent day hike.

A half-mile hike leads to a multi-tiered Secret Falls off Horse Cove Road. Visitors can see the falls from the top, by the swim hole at its base, or a riverbend downstream with several small drop-offs. The view from the bend in the river is a 180-degrees of waterfall splendor.

Pictured below is Secret Falls

Brandon Anderson made the trip from Waynesville and said he had the day off and wanted to hike something in Western North Carolina.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Anderson. “It’s tucked away down here so it’s not crowded, and it’s not too much of a hike and it’s really scenic.”

Secret Falls just south of downtown Highlands makes for an excellent day hike.

There are two creek crossings that are spanned by logs and the trail is well marked by blue rectangles making it easy to follow.

Visitors can climb out on the rocks on the second tier of Secret Falls.

The trail to Secret Falls meanders through the woods and is a good birding spot.

Directions from Highlands:

Head east from Highlands on Horse Cove Road and drive approx. 4 miles and turn right on Walking Stick Road.

Directions from Cashiers:

Drive southeast on Highway 107 for approx. 2 miles and turn right on Whiteside Cove Road. Travel approx. 9 miles on Whiteside Cove Road and turn right onto Horse Cove Road. Drive a mile and turn left on Walking Stick Road.

Taking Whiteside Cove Road from Cashiers is a gorgeous trip in itself.

From Walking Stick Road:

Drive approx. 3 miles to an intersection and stay right over a one lane bridge, do not turn left onto Rock House Road. Drive a quarter mile to FR 4567 on the right. This road is gated but visitors can park at the gate. Hike down FR 4567 a quarter mile to Secret Falls Trailhead on the left, marked by a small signpost. Follow blue rectangle trail markings to Secret Falls.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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