See Mingo Falls
If you are looking for waterfalls, there are a number of them in Appalachian Mountains. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are an abundance of cascades. Some of these waterfalls require a strenous hike of several miles while others can be viewed along the road. Mingo Falls is one of the many options and is somewhat popular due to it's easy access.
The falls, as seen in mid-April in this photo, are said to be 120ft high according to the National Park Service. Certainly the volume of water flowing over the falls fluctuates according to the rainfall and time of year. Mingo Falls is located just a few miles off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hiking Up To Mingo Falls
I came to Mingo Falls from the Smoky Mountains. I drove south from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center out of the park, into North Carolina on highway 441 into the Qualla Cherokee Indian Reservation. Once in Cherokee, I made a left on Big Cove Road. I followed the road for just over 4 miles, twisting and turning, passing several campgrounds, and finally arriving at the Mingo Falls Campground where the parking lot for the falls is located. (I've included a Google Maps widget below to help you pinpoint the location or get specific directions.)
Hikers will be faced with a steep but short climb to approach the falls. Immediately there are 140 to 150 steps to climb (pictured in the snap shot here) then the dirt path takes over (shown below) and hikers walk only a short distance, perhaps .1 miles to reach the small wooden bridge that sets directly in front of, and at the foot of the falls.
The wooden bridge provides the perfect, up close viewing platform.
In total, the round trip hike is only .4 miles.
I encountered no other visitors during my morning (9:00 AM) visit so everthing was peaceful and only the sound of the cascades and some birds were evident. Even with the steep climb, the entire time I spent here was less than 20 minutes.
For anyone passing through the area, I would recommend this side trip. I can easily imagine that a trip to Mingo Falls in the autumn would be especially beautiful.
See Mingo Falls
When I hike, I love to have a destination. Waterfalls can make a long trek worth the effort, it motivates me to keep moving even after several hard, up hill miles of hiking.This is the book that introduced me to a number of great destinations in the Smoky Mountains.