Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Swimming — Waterfall — Wildlife
Family Friendly: The trail here is not too difficult and provides great access to swimming.
From the trailhead, hike a short ways through mixed forest with some blueberry bushes and sassafras lining the trail until you hit a trail junction. Go right and just keep following the trail. It's mostly wide enough to accommodate big groups, but please be courteous to your fellow trail users as this area is popular, especially on weekends.
There are tons of trails accessing the river- both legitimate and not. Try to use the ones with built-in switchbacks, as social trails contribute to erosion.
As you continue on, you'll soon come to Rainbow Falls
, which is big and powerful. There is a nice swimming hole at the base of the falls for those adventurous visitors looking for a place to cool off.
Continue up the trail to get to Turtleback Falls. There is another great swimming hole and those seeking a thrill can use Turtleback as a natural slide.
Once you've had your fill of the falls, head back the way that you came to return to the trailhead.
Oodles of berries and mushrooms in this classic Western North Carolina mixed hardwood and coniferous rain forest.