High Falls State Park: hiking the Falls Trail
Hike the Falls Trail at High Falls State Park near Macon, hiking a double loop to views of the enormous, thundering High Falls waterfalls.
The High Falls Trail follows the waterfall’s northeastern edge, descending into a rocky, boulder-filled forest. The trail hikes a double loop, exploring the waterfall-filled Towaliga River south of the High Falls State Park dam before looping through a shady forest. It’s a beautiful, moderately challenging but short-distance trail that’s a must-hike in the Macon area.
(There are two stunning waterfalls with the same name in North Carolina, and both are well worth a visit if you’re in the Asheville area. Hike to High Falls at DuPont State Forest, one of many waterfalls in this stunning park near Brevard, NC. And don’t miss the tumbling, towering High Falls at Lake Glenville near Cashiers, another exceptional NC waterfall hike.)
Falls Trail at High Falls State Park: the hike
The Falls Trail departs a signed trailhead on the Towaliga River’s northeastern shore, just downstream from the High Falls State Park dam (view maps and driving directions). The trail descends a series of wooden platforms along the river, catching increasingly better views of the huge, whitewater-filled High Falls waterfall.
The hike continues descending elevation along High Falls, the roar of the waterfall amplifying loudly along the trail. Large rock outcrops and boulders dot the forest floor, as pine and deciduous trees shade the trail overhead.
The Falls Trail reaches a sandy shore framed by large boulders. Multiple waterfalls spill over the river’s rocky, angled bed, cascading in streams of tumbled whitewater into heavily-churned pools below.
The Falls Trail crosses a wood bridge before beginning the hike’s southern loop section, continuing to follow red blazes. The hike veers from the river, crossing a small stream and then re-joining the notably-calmer Towaliga downstream. The hike arcs northbound at .5 mile, gaining elevation through the forest. Though the waterfall is now out of sight, its roar remains audible as the hike climbs a ridge before completing the trail’s lower loop.
Reaching the Falls Trail upper loop, the hike veers right to climb elevation through a rocky forest, crossing between several huge, angular rock outcrops.
The Falls Trail steadily climbs elevation toward the trailhead, passing a wooden bench at 1 mile before completing the trail’s upper loop. The adventure reaches the trailhead and finishes the hike at just under 1.2 miles.
Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.