Traveling through Nantahala National Forest, you’ll have several chances to see jaw-dropping sights. Few stops will be as close to the highway as Silver Run Falls, though. After a brief walk from the pull-off, you’ll find yourself immersed in the natural beauty surrounding Silver Run Falls.
The path from the parking area off the side of the highway to the falls is only 0.2 miles. This gravel-covered path does have steps along the way, so it is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. For experienced hikers, this short walk is easy with only a 16-foot change in elevation.
While Silver Run Falls is the main destination for most people, enjoy the brief walk along the trail. Some people have likened the trail to those they’ve seen in botanical gardens for the lush greenery surrounding the path. During the short trip to the falls, make sure to spend time looking at the natural North Carolina flora and fauna around you.
Due to the ease of the trip, many families bring young children. However, some minor hazards along the trail exist that families should know about. Tree roots grow across the path near the falls and create tripping hazards for the unwary.
If you plan to wade in the water, use caution. The rocks at the base of the falls tend to be slippery. Plus, Silver Run Falls does not have lifeguards to watch those who want to swim or wade in the shallow water at the base of the falls.
When you go, take along a picnic or book to enjoy once you get to the falls. The small parking area limits the number of people along the trail, so you should have plenty of time and space to sit and enjoy the flow of water.
Pack up any waste that you have from your picnic, even food waste. Doing so will keep the area around the falls clean for future visitors.
While most people visit during warmer weather, others have discovered the incredible beauty of these falls during winter freezes. Snow melting from upstream can increase the flow of the water while making it too cold for a swim. If you visit during the winter, admire the possibly frozen falls or the lacy ice at the edges of the pool at the base of the falls.
While the walking time to the falls from the road is only five minutes, you may want to plan to spend an hour or two here at the falls. Plan for a longer stop if you want to swim or picnic once you get to the falls.
As part of a national forest, much of the area around Silver Run Falls remains rustic. While the trail and bridge connecting the road to the falls are well-kept, you won’t find other signs of human intervention in the environment. Restrooms, trash cans, and water fountains are not available at Silver Run Falls. Plan to make bathroom stops before you arrive at the falls.
Despite its location close to the highway, you still have to walk along the trail and reach the wooden trail bridge before you can see the falls in the distance. This small separation from the road makes your trip to Silver Run Falls a fast, effortless way to retreat to a natural setting.
Whether you want to bring the entire family for fun at the swimming hole at the falls or prefer to have a quiet time in the natural beauty of North Carolina, Silver Run Falls in the Nantahala National Forest will be an ideal stop for you at any time of the year.
-The gravel-covered parking pull-off can be easy to miss. Watch for the sign that reads, “National Forest Access Silver Run Falls” near the parking area that points toward the path to the falls.
-The only parking for this popular spot is in a small pull-off on the side of the highway. Arrive early in the day to increase your chances of finding parking.