Glen Falls

Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, Macon, NC
Glen Falls near Highlands, NC
Glen Falls (6/21/2013, 33 mm, f/22, 4 sec, ISO-100 hi res photo)
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Glen Falls is a nice waterfall.  I didn’t rate it higher because of photography issues.  It can be quite challenging to frame the waterfall properly because of trees, limbs, railings, you get the picture.  Still, don’t let that keep you away.  The view across the valley at the top of the first cascade is tremendous, and the waterfall itself is quite nice.

I did an early morning trip to the waterfall, leaving my spouse at the 4 ½ Street Inn in Highlands still sleeping away (a great place to stay, highly recommended).

No people.  Peaceful and quiet – well, except for the rushing water and wind.

I highly recommend early morning trips.  Quite nice.  I’ll just let the pictures speak.

If you have the time I highly recommend you take U.S. 64  north out of Highlands, NC to check out other nearby waterfalls, including Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, and Cullasaja Falls.

Getting There

Turn Here off of NC106

Measured from the 64/106 junction in Highlands, N.C., drive 1.6 miles south on NC 106 and turn left at the sign for the waterfall.  There are two roads here.  Stay right on the gravel road (Glen Falls Rd) going downhill.   (see photo to the right)

The road dead ends at the parking area for the hike in one mile.   The GPS coordinates for the parking area  are here:

35.03335, -83.2357

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

Hike Details

The trail starts to the right of the information sign.  In this hike you’ll be starting at the top of the waterfall and will be working your way down.  The difficult part is in knowing when to stop.

There are many, little side trails over to the creek.  Keep to the main ones and ignore the smaller ones that people have made.

The first one leads to the top of the first major cascade and has a fantastic view of the valley.  The next one will take you to the base of the first cascade.   From there go back to the main trail and proceed down to the base of the second cascade.   Total distance is now around 0.8 miles and the photo ops are very limited past this point.  Of course, you are welcome to go on down if you like exercise.

Photo Tips

Once again you are right at the base of the waterfall so a wide angle lens is a must.  Most of your photos will be portrait (vertical) orientation but you might want to try some isolated sections in landscape as well.  Note the variety of photo compositions that I have uploaded on this page.

Options on composition were very limited due to high water flow causing mist and covering rocks that might be used otherwise.  Also, note that people have died here due to falls so please be careful and act responsibly.

I always recommend using a tripod for waterfall photos  and that applies here as well. 

Some waterfalls actually photograph better with lower flow and I think Glen Falls would’ve been better with a little less water as well.


Here you go. 

› Glen Falls

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