North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville is home to hundreds of waterfalls, so the choices can be overwhelming. According to the readers of the popular online travel vacation guide RomanticAsheville.com, here are the Top 10 Waterfalls that visitors should not miss during the summer and fall of 2011:
1. Sliding Rock: Each summer, thousands of people of all ages slip and slide down this favorite natural, 60-foot cascade down a sloping boulder in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard and 38 miles from downtown Asheville. Lifeguards work daily and facilities include restrooms and changing rooms.
2. Looking Glass Falls: You don't even have to get out of your car to see this 60-foot waterfall, located near Sliding Rock along U.S. 276 north of Brevard, about ten miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy the view from the parking area or take stairs down to the base and dip your toes in the water.
3. DuPont State Forest: A three-mile easy hike takes you to three waterfalls: Hooker, Triple and the 150-foot High Falls. While swimming is not allowed here, Triple Falls has plenty of space by the water for a picnic on large rock outcroppings.
4. Graveyard Fields: This popular hiking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway features a loop trail that takes you to two waterfalls on the Yellowstone Prong. One waterfall, Second Falls, is just 1/3 mile from the parking area.
5. Rainbow Falls: This spectacular 150-foot waterfall is located in the Nantahala National Forest. Park and take the hiking trail from adjacent Gorges State Park. Continue on the trail to Turtleback Falls for sliding and swimming.
6. Linville Falls: Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Erwin’s View Trail is a moderate hike of 1.6 miles round trip with four overlooks, each with beautiful views of the waterfalls and spectacular Linville Gorge.
7. Crabtree Falls: This beautiful 70-foot waterfall, located near Linville Falls, is accessed by a 2.5-mile loop hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
8. Upper Whitewater Falls: The highest waterfall east of the Rockies plunges 411 feet. Enjoy the a majestic view of the waterfall via an easy, short paved trail.
9. Hickory Nut Falls: This 404-foot waterfall at Chimney Rock Park was featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. It is a perfect example of what geologists call a "hanging valley." A hiking trail takes you to its base, complete with a picnic table.
10. Dry Falls: Located near Highlands, get the rare treat of walking safely behind this 75-foot waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest. Nearby, drive behind Bridal Veil Falls.
For details, photos and videos on these and other waterfalls near Asheville, Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains, please click here.