Waterfalls in Burke County, NC
Linville Falls, High Shoal Falls, McGilliard Falls
Burke County, NC is located 55 miles due east and northeast of Asheville, on Hwy 40, and has portions in both the mountains and piedmont of the state. The county seat is Morganton, which is in the southern portion of the county. The northern portion of Burke County extents all the way past Linville, NC, near Hwy 221. For our waterfalls guide we have selected three waterfalls from across the county. High Shoals Falls and McGilliard Falls are located closer to the southern part of the county and are accessible from Hwy 40. Linville Falls, one of the best known falls in the state, is located farther north, and is accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
For more information on Burke County visit Wikipedia’s Burke County Article.
Photo: Jordan Mitchell
High Shoals Falls
Directions: High Shoals Falls is located in South Mountains State Park. From I-40, take Exit 105 onto N.C. 18 South. Drive 10.7 miles to S.R. 1913 (Sugar Loaf Road), on the right, then drive 4.1 miles further on S.R. 1913 to where it intersects S.R. 1924 (Old N.C. 18). Make a left and drive 2.6 miles, at which point you will encounter S.R. 1901 (Ward's Gap Road). Make a right onto S.R. 1901 and drive for 1.3 miles. Make a right onto S.R. 1904 and drive 3.5 miles to the parking area. The trail begins in front of the restrooms and provides the option either to hike to a viewing platform at the base or all the way up to the top.
Trail Length: 1.25 miles
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Directions: Linville Falls is simply incredible, and a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Western North Carolina. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Milepost 316.3 and follow the paved road 1.4 miles to the Linville Falls Visitor Center. The trailhead and a sign illustrating complete trail details are located near the center.
Trail Length: Trails lead hikers to five different points where they can view the falls. The length of these trails ranges from 0.5 to 0.8 miles.
Trail Difficulty: The difficulty of these trails ranges from easy to moderate. All trails are marked and maintained very well.
Directions: McGalliard Falls is owned by the Valdese Parks and Recreation Department. Drive east from Morganton on I-40 for about 6 miles. Take Exit 111 and make a right onto Carolina Street (heading towards Valdese). Drive 1.1 miles and make a left onto Main Street (U.S. 70). Drive for 0.5 miles, make a right onto Church Street. Drive 1.35 miles to the park entrance, which will be on your right. Follow the paved road from the parking area for a view from the top of the falls. Other views are available via more moderate trails.
Trail Length: 0.1 mile
Trail Difficulty: Easy