Travel: NC’s Whitewater Falls tallest

Upper Whitewater Falls (left) is 411 feet tall and is generally described as one of the best waterfalls in the eastern United States. Visitors can access two overlooks at the falls on the Whitewater River near Sapphire in western North Carolina.

Bob Downing


SAPPHIRE, N.C.—Upper Whitewater Falls is a monster.

That’s the only way to describe a cascade that is 411 feet high.

According to some, its height makes the three-tier waterfall on the Whitewater River in western North Carolina the highest east of the Mississippi River. That’s debatable.

It is often described as being the best waterfall in the East because of its high water volume, its height and its overall aesthetics.

And, just a half-mile downstream to the south, is Lower Whitewater Falls in South Carolina—all 200 feet of it.

The U.S. Forest Service makes viewing the upper falls very easy.

If you want to see Lower Whitewater Falls, lace up your hiking boots.It’s a two-mile hike to another far-away observation deck where you can admire the 200-foot-high cascade in a two-state area that is widely known as Jocasee Gorges.

Bob Downing is a Capital News contributor.