Dry Falls

Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, Macon, NC
Dry Falls near Highlands, NC
Dry Falls (6/21/2013, 33 mm, f/22, 1.3 sec, ISO-100 hi res photo)
Order from Gardner Photography


Dry Falls was impressive.  After quite a bit of rain the Cullasaja River was roaring over this waterfall.  Check out the video for yourself!

I must say that the waterfall exceeded my expectations on many fronts.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the sun to cooperate (that is, go away) for any really stunning photos - good photos, yes, but not quite as stunning as I had hoped to capture.

Still, it’s a great waterfall for families.  The forest service has built a nice viewing platform just off the parking area.  There are toilets (the pits, literally) for those in need.  There is a well-maintained, paved and gravel trail that goes down and behind the waterfall.  On low flow days you can indeed stay dry.  On the day I visited there was a serious mist and backflow of splashing water onto the trail.  It didn’t drench but staying dry … no, refreshing but not dry.

If you are driving in from the north, then you should continue south on U.S. 64 to check out Bridal Veil Falls.  While a not-so-impressive waterfall in its own right, you can actually drive behind it and that makes it very special indeed.  Check out my page on Bridal Veil for location and photos.

Getting There

From the junction of U.S. 64 and NC 106 in Highlands, NC take U.S. 64 north (or west) for 3.1 miles.  You can’t miss it.  There is a large parking area on the left side of the road.  The gps coordinates for the parking area are below:

35.06845, -83.2385

Use the following link to customize your own directions to Dry Falls or just click through the map below.

Hike Details

No hike.

Photo Tips

You can really play with this waterfall.

Start at the upper overlook and try different compositions, both tight on the waterfall and zoom out for some perspective.  Keep an eye on your corners and try to keep the railing out.  It’s generally better not to put the waterfall dead center also, although it's hard to avoid due to people on the trail, etc..  See my page on taking waterfall photos.

There’s another good angle from partway down the path and then from either side of the waterfall at the base, depending on which way the spray is blowing and the angle of the sun.

No long lenses are needed.  You are up close and personal here so plan on a wide angle zoom lens of 17 - 50mm or so.

This waterfall also needs a polarizing filter to reduce glare as well as your ever-present friend the tripod.


Here you go. 

› Dry Falls

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