The Adventurist is excited to introduce a new excursions series that’s designed to give you all the information you need to explore specific adventures in Brevard and Transylvania County. Tuck in and enjoy our first installment of “Adventurist Excursions” and stay tuned for more information on future adventures in the area.
Imagine, it’s a beautiful day in Brevard and Transylvania County. And with Spring at the ready, you have longer hours to explore, plenty of excitement, and a hankering to check out some truly unforgettable sights.
Rainbow falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in the region, is waiting for you to explore. To get started take US 64 west out of downtown Brevard for a scenic, winding drive up the mountains toward historic Toxaway and Gorges State Park, and an area locally referred to as “Upper Transylvania.” The park spreads out over 7,709 verdant acres of temperate rainforest along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. It features some dramatic topography, ranging from sweeping, cliffside panoramic views, to the stunning scenery far below at Lake Jocassee, to some of the area’s most iconic waterfalls.
The Gorges Visitor Center, a beautifully designed facility with a sweeping terrace, is always a good place to start. It’s a lovely place to learn about local wildlife and topography from exhibits, and then put your feet up to study your trail maps. Once you’ve taken all the Visitor Center has to offer it’s just a short drive down Grassy Ridge Rd. to the parking area for the trailhead. Click here
for driving directions to the trailhead.
From the trailhead just off Grassy Ridge Rd. beside the parking area, the Rainbow Falls Trail is a 3.9 mile well-trafficked, out-and-back hike of moderate difficulty, with some reasonably steep climbs and descents. The trail blazes are small metal circles colored blue and orange. You’ll begin by winding down through verdant, mountain laurel into a lush creek valley, home to delicate ferns and wildflowers in the warm seasons. Around one mile in, you’ll hear the sound of the Horsepasture River, marking the edge of the Nantahala National Forest and the start of waterfall territory. You’ll follow the river upstream until you reach Rainbow Falls.
Rainbow Falls, with its stunning 150-foot plunge over giant mossy rocks into a misty pool, is a superstar-level waterfall, but it’s best observed from the trail, away from the slippery rocks and dangerous currents. As always, review your waterfall safety guidelines
and be extremely careful.