High Falls at DuPont State Forest

Towering 120 feet over the river below, High Falls Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in North Carolina and part of a trio of falls along the Little River in DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Large Waterfall seen from the base at DuPont State Forest. The waterfall splits in two on the way down and a small ledge with a tree grows in between flows. The river and riverbed in foreground with many rocks visible.
After heavy rains, High Falls turns into a raging torrent.

During times of drought, the falls slow to a graceful cascade over the granite plane, but heavy rains upriver turn High Falls into a raging torrent with water crashing down on the rocks below.

High Falls Waterfall in DuPont State Forest in the fall seen from a distance. Large amounts of water flowing over the granite face of the falls surrounded by multi colored trees and a blue sky.
The High Falls Waterfall Loop is a popular spot for leaf peeping in Autumn. Be sure to arrive early or you might not get a parking spot.

Getting to High Falls

From High Falls Parking Area

brown wooden sign with arrow and text: High Falls Loop and blue circle blaze
The easiest way to get to the falls is to follow the signs to he loop, but if you head down the gravel road behind the sign, you can start at the covered bridge.

The easiest and most direct way to get to the falls is start from the aptly named High Falls Access parking area. From there follow the signs to a short half mile trail that will take you to the start of the High Falls loop.

Like all the trails at DuPont, you’ll find it wide and easy to walk on. Most of the loop is compacted soil with stretches of gravel or sand. Not a lot or roots or rocks in the path to trip you up.

brown covered bridge with walkway to the right and road going through the middle.
The covered bridge is a great side trip and offers a view of the river just before it plunges over the falls.

Covered Bridge Detour

gravel road in DuPont Forest leading to a covered bridge in fall. Leaves are all changing to golds yellows and reds with many leaves on the ground to the right of the road.
Fall is an amazing time to visit DuPont State Forest. Hiking down Buck Forest Road in mid to late October to the covered bridge is great way to start your visit to DuPont Forest.

If you want to visit the covered bridge above the falls, the best way is to go down Buck Cove Road at the end of the parking lot. Visiting the bridge is a great way to start your trek to High Falls. On one side of the bridge, the river is calm and majestic.

river with little sign of movement trees on each side and reflection of sky
The river from the opposite side of the bridge. The still waters give little hint of the waterfall just feet away.

On the other side of the bridge, the current picks up some speed and then just disappears. From the top, you can see the path below and the picnic shelter overlooking the falls, but no other clue as to what is just feet away.

river with large rocks in stream and trees on each side with abrupt end and trees seen in the distance
Little River just before it plunges over High Falls form the covered bridge.

As you approach the covered bridge from the road, there’s a trail head on your left heading back to High Falls Loop. Follow it until it ends and turn right to continue to the falls.

Mountain River in fall with multi colored leaves all around.
Looking upriver from the High Falls Covered Bridge in Autumn.

Where to get your best view

large waterfall seen from a distance on a sunny day the river and rocks can be in the river bed
Your first view of High Falls from the picnic shelter

A little further down, the path will split with one way leading to the falls and the other leading to the picnic shelter. Don’t be fooled. The shelter overlooks the falls and you can get some great views as you follow the path by the picnic shelter back down to the main trail.

High Falls Waterfall at DuPont Forest in the Fall as seen from the hiking trail - closer to the falls but with multi colored leaves only on the left hand side
Fall makes a great time to visit the waterfalls in DuPont Forest.

You’re now getting your first sight of this magnificent waterfall. And if it’s been raining upriver, you should be treated to a roaring spectacle. Now, of course, you want to get closer. If you didn’t take the trail to the picnic shelter, you will have passed an old treacherous looking trail on your right. Do NOT take that trail, there’s a better and safer way.

waterfall with two streams flowing down granite cliff
You can make you’re way to the base of the waterfall via a trail a little further down the path.

Continue down the trail past the overlook to another path signed “Base of Falls”. The base of high falls is one of the most popular places in the forest, so you’ll have lots of company. Folks manage to carefully work their way around the banks of the river to the very base of the waterfall.

waterfall with people on boulders at the base of the falls.
People at the base of High Falls are dwarfed by its height as they get drenched by the water.

One more waterfall before we go

After you return to the trail, you’ll walk along the Little River for less than a mile when it loops back through the woods to the parking area. Again, don’t be fooled, you’re only a few yards away from another spectacular waterfall.

three waterfalls together
Triple Falls is just a little ways down the path.

You should already hear the roar from Triple Falls. Turning right at the loop will put you on the same path that leads to the Triple Falls parking lot and then on to Hooker Falls.

For your return hike, you can either follow the loop through the woods, or go back the way you came. But you came out here to see waterfalls, and there aren’t any on the return loop. So if you want to travel beside the river and get another look at High Falls, just go back the way you came.

Fast Facts About High Falls

Location:Located in DuPont State Recreational Forest
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Things to do: Waterfall Viewing, Hiking, Bird Watching, Picnicking

Map to High Falls