Summary: The hike starts on the Craggy Gardens Nature Trail but soon turns right onto the Mountains to Sea Trail. The first part of the trail travels through high-elevation hardwood trees. At the intersection with the Douglas Falls trail, turn left off the MST. Descend on many switchbacks on a rough, sparsely used and maintained trail to a small stream; the trail levels and is a bit smoother. Cross Cascade Falls at 2.1 miles; be careful because it is slick and a long drop below! The trail passes very large, old-growth hardwoods then enters a virgin hemlock forest at Waterfall Creek. Cross the stream; descend on some more switchbacks to campsite and then 70' free-falling Douglas Falls at 3 miles. Return.
Trailhead: From Asheville, drive 18 miles north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (milepost 364.5). Park here. The trail starts on the left side of the parking area. (Lat:35.6987 Lon:-82.38032)
Trail Guides for Douglas Falls:
North Carolina Hiking Trails
by Alan DeHart (Appalachian Mountain Club)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Blue Ridge Parkway, Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, 1-800-PARKWATCH
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Chris R. on 7/24/2012
Chris' review in 2010 is accurate. Went with my boys (10 and 7) and took a few hours to get there. We were not in a hurry and took lots of pics. We left parking area at the visitor center just after 1 and around 5 at the Falls, I wasn't to excited about the trip back. The boys were Great though and we were back to the truck by 7. We were defintely lolly gaggin on the way to the Falls. It is a difficult hike due to the footing. Coordination and careful foot placement is paramount! Wish we could've stayed at the Falls longer...maybe next time.
Reviewed by SKS on 5/26/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: --
Reviewed by masonsmom on 5/13/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: --
Reviewed by MSUBulldog on 4/1/2012
Hiked down from the Craggy Gardens visitor center. Didn't know how far I was going to go, but it turned out to be a really nice hike in a part of the parkway that I really enjoy. It was pretty rough coming back out, passed several hikers who were struggling to make it back. Take plenty of snacks and water, but otherwise travel as light as possible. Great hike for dogs too.
Reviewed by Leon J on 10/16/2011
I just went on the trail yesterday and I have to say, it was most certainly an experience to remember. I never heard of Douglas Falls or that trail so I severely underestimated it which proved to have severe consequences. We went on the long trail, which was actually 4.9 miles now in one direction, without any food or water. The terrain was dangerous at some parts and there really is a lack of maintenance. We got to the falls in about 1:30 minutes. The falls themselves are quite a sight. It felt very nice and the geological formations was truly a site to behold. Unfortunately, we had to climb back up, that was the horrible part. Prepare yourself extremely well for this trail. That was our error. We are gonna go again if we can though.
Reviewed by Paul E on 5/30/2011
Nice day out but have to plan where to place nearly every step. Falls make the effort worth it.
Reviewed by Monte on 7/27/2010
Started the hike from the Craggy Visitors Center at 11:07 pm with my 2 dogs. Trail is in SERIOUS need of maintenance. Lots of stinging nettle. Wear long pants. (Take cider vinegar with you for antidote.) Hiked to the falls in about an 1:40 minutes. It is, indeed, not for the beginning hiker. Lots of rocks and roots. Steep ascent coming back. I was a bit disappointed in the falls. The Twin Falls near Davidson River are prettier and the hike is more pleasant. The geology is awesome on Douglas Falls Trail, though! Great outcrops. Returned to car around 2:50 pm, soaked to the bone from the strenuous return. What a rush!
Reviewed by Chris on 6/10/2010
The hike was extraordinary. My girlfriend and I left at 2:30, spent 30 minutes at the falls, then arrived back at the car at 7pm. The hike is strenuous. It is not the severity of the incline that's the trouble, it is rather the need to be sure-footed. If you are not very coordinated, this hike can be quite precarious. To some degree, this can hinder your sightseeing opportunities, because you need to keep your eyes on the ground. And one more significant detail: upon our return, no more than a 1/2 mile from the mouth of the trail, we came upon a Black Bear standing in the middle of the trail. Due to the thickness of the mist in the trees, we were no more than 50 ft from it when we saw each other.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: North Carolina Hiking, North Carolina Trails, North Carolina Hikes, Buncombe County Hiking, Buncombe County Trails, Buncombe County Hikes