Dupont State Forest - A Waterfall Paradise
If you like waterfall hikes, Dupont State Forest is just what you're looking for. It's a 10,000+ acre
waterfall haven located in Western North Carolina.
The serene rivers and streams leading to roaring
waterfalls attract visitors year round.
hikes to the falls can be complimented by longer hikes
over the trails and roads throughout the forest.
Dupont is a relatively new state forest acquisition. Most of the land, which was originally owned by
Dupont, was purchased at a bargain price in the 1996-1997 timeframe. The remaining land around the primary
waterfalls area ended up in an ugly battle.
Luckily, in 2000, the state of North Carolina stepped in and saved the land from major residential
Now it's available for all of us to enjoy.
Dupont Forest is located between Hendersonville and Brevard,
straddling the Henderson and
Transylvania County line. It's a little off the beaten path, but can be easily found.
From U.S. Highway 276 in Cedar Mountain (between Brevard and South Carolina line), there's
a sign at Cascade Lake Road. From Hendersonville take Kanuga and Crab Creek Road to Dupont
Road. From Asheville take U.S. Highway 64 to Crab Creek Road to Dupont Road. There are
Dupont Forest signs.
Things To Do
This is a multi-use forest.
Horse trailers are seen in many of the parking areas for those that like
to spend the day riding the trails. Mountain bikes are also popular. Motorized vehicles are not
allowed. Fishing and in season hunting are available with proper licenses and permits.
There are a number of parking areas around Dupont State Forest, giving access to about 90 miles (145 km)
of trails and roads. There are no camping facilities. Camping of any kind is not allowed, except
by special permission.
Dupont State Forest is geared toward day hiking.
The main attractions for the forest are the waterfalls on the Little River. There are three good
waterfalls within a short distance from the Hooker Falls parking lot on Staton Road, making this area
In fact, it's so popular a second parking lot was recently added,
diagonally behind the first
lot, toward Hooker Falls. Even with the added parking, the two lots fill up on summer weekends. In addition to
the second lot, a deluxe foot bridge was constructed. You no longer need to cross the river using
About 0.3 miles (0.5 km) downstream from the parking area, Hooker Falls is a wide, 11 foot (3.4 meters) tall
waterfall. While it's not a high waterfall, the width and volume of water is impressive.
There's a nice
pool at the base of the falls, and it's not unusual to see people swimming here during the warm weather months.
Take that new footbridge across the Little River to find the trail to Triple Falls. It's about a 0.5 mile
(0.8 km) hike upstream, with the last 0.1 mile quite steep. The viewing area for the falls showcases the multiple
cascades. This is a great spot for family photos, with the falls as a backdrop.
Continue upstream past Triple Falls about 0.7 miles (1.1 km) on High Falls Trail. From the trail, you'll have
a birds-eye view of awesome High Falls,
which most feel is the marque falls for the forest.
There's a trail that leads to the base of the falls. From this vantage point, you can feel the power of the
especially after a heavy rain. Realize that with all of that water and mist, this is a
dangerous area. Be very cautious.
From the falls viewing area up above, circle around to the top of falls using Buck Forest Road. There's a
beautiful covered bridge just upstream from the top of the falls. As an aside, Buck Forest parking area
can also be used for High Falls access. It's less than a mile hike one way.
Bridal Veil Falls
The parking for Bridal Veil Falls is at Fawn Lake Access area, on the opposite side of Dupont State Forest off
Reasonover Road (near highway US 276). Take Reasonover Creek Trail, left on Conservation Road, left on Bridal
Veil Road to get to the falls. It's a little over 2 miles (3.2 km) one way.
This unique falls is really a couple of small falls with a wide rock facing in between, with water
cascading like a wide bridal veil.
On the way to the falls, on Conservation Road, you get a little surprise:
a hike along an old airstrip. You don't do that often, especially in the middle of the mountains.
There are a couple of other waterfalls to see in the forest, Wintergreen Falls and Grassy Creek Falls. A hike up
Stone Mountain (3600 feet/1100 meters) will give great vistas of the surrounding area.
Cedar Mountain has
masses of exposed flat granite.
With 90 miles (145 km) of trails and roads, you can do a lot of hiking without taking the same trail twice. An
online map is
available from the Friends of Dupont Forest (FODF).
FODF is an organization that really makes Dupont State Forest what it is today. They do so much,
organizing efforts to maintain trails, raising funds for building projects, and providing information through
their website. Consider becoming a member and making a donation
on the Dupont Forest website.
Rest assured your money will support the preservation of a
If you're visiting or live in western North Carolina, take the time to visit Dupont State Forest.
You can do a little
hiking. You can do a lot of hiking. For sure, you can see some great waterfalls.
Other Nearby Hiking Destinations