★ 6.5/10: Good Experience

Hiking Triple Falls in North Carolina: Complete Guide

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

The Triple Falls hike in North Carolina takes you past several notable waterfalls, including a three-tiered waterfall (Triple Falls) and a 125 foot waterfall at High Falls. If you’re thinking about going to hike Triple Falls, make sure to read my step by step guide below with everything you need to know for your best adventure.

High Falls in North Carolina

Overview of Triple Falls in North Carolina

Located in Dupont State Park, the Triple Falls hike will take you on an adventure past several waterfalls, including Triple Falls and High Falls. At around 120 feet high, High Falls is the true gem of this hike. While Triple Falls is technically taller at 125 feet, it is spread out over 3 falls over a distance. High Falls is the real attraction here. In this section I highlight all the important details about hiking Triple Falls in North Carolina.

Hiking Triple Falls in North Carolina

This is a map (via alltrails.com) of the route I did.

Where to Park

The most convenient place to park next to the Triple Falls hike trailhead is at Triple Falls Parking Lot:

Here is the address: 692H+VW Hendersonville, North Carolina

Distance Traveled

According to Alltrails.com, I traveled almost 3 miles on this hike.

How Long Does it Take to Hike?

I arrived at around 2:30 PM and left close to 4:30 PM. I spent about 30 minutes or more at High Falls relaxing by the soothing waterfall.

Elevation Change

According to Alltrails.com, I climbed almost 400 feet (393 feet to be exact).

Triple Falls Hike Elevation Map

Elevation Map for Triple Falls in North Carolina (via alltrails.com)

Difficulty

If you exercise regularly this hike is not too difficult. However, don’t underestimate it. The beginning hill after the parking lot is by far the most difficult one, but it’s not too bad. After climbing the initial hill, it’s relatively flat except for going down to High Falls if you choose to do that (I highly recommend that you do).

Overall, I’d give this hike a 3.5 / 10 in difficulty.

Permits

There are no permits for this hike.

Cost

There is no cost to park or hike at Triple Falls. My favorite types of hikes!

When to Go

I went in June and it was perfect for getting into the water. At around 82 degrees, this hike was more than manageable because most of the hike is in the shade, and the sunny parts are next to the swimming area(s). I think summer would be best for Triple Falls, but it could be hiked anytime of the year. However, you probably won’t enjoy this one in the Winter as much.

Recommended Gear

Having the right gear can make or break your hiking experience. In North Carolina, preparing accordingly will help you maximize your adventure. I’ll highlight the gear that I brought hiking Triple Falls in June, as well as additional gear that might benefit you:

  • Shorts / Bathing Suit: This is one of those hikes you’ll want to wear a bathing suit on. I purchased exercise shorts that can double as swim trunks (fine netting), so they work great for hikes like this where swimming is possible.
  • Water Bottle: This hike is pretty short, so you won’t need tons of water, unless you plan hanging around High Falls for an extended period of time.
  • Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes that are waterproof will benefit you if you go in on this trail. There are plenty of muddy, wet sections of the hike near High Falls, so having the right hiking shoes is important.
  • Sunscreen: Summer time in North Carolina requires sunscreen. While a lot of this hike is in the shade, the water areas are very sunny. I’d recommend applying sunscreen on before your hike and maybe during the hike if you stop at the swimming areas for more than a little while.
  • Flashlight: If you go anytime near sunrise or sunset, I’d recommend having a flashlight.

Nice to Have Gear:

Here are a few items that would make your hiking experience even better:

  • Shoe impact insoles: These can help as you traverse hard rocks along the way.
  • Phone tripod: If you go alone or with a group and want great pictures, a phone tripod is key. I use one on every hike I go on. You may not need to use one very often because there were quite a few people on this trail that you could ask to take a picture for you.
  • Water shoes: While not necessary, water shoes could help protect your feet when you’re walking through shallow waters. You never know what kind of sharp rocks you could step on, so I like to bring a pair of lightweight water shoes and hang them from my backpack.
  • Snacks: Who doesn’t like snacks? While hiking, even on a medium-length hike like this, you burn lots of calories. My personal go-to’s on this hike were: Honey roasted peanuts, gummy bears, protein shakes, and protein bars. I also had some pepperoni sticks that provided some electrolytes the body craves in such a situation as a hike.
  • Bug spray: I didn’t experience bugs on this hike, so this wasn’t really needed.
  • First aid kit: It’s a good idea to bring Band-Aids, a bandage, and some cut cleaning items. I have needed band-aids in the past from slipping on rocks, but I did not on this hike.

The Play By Play: My Route Hiking Triple Falls in North Carolina

So what’s it like hiking Triple Falls? Read my hiking guide play by play below:

Parking Lot

Based on the number of reviews the Triple Falls hike has on alltrails.com, this hike is quite busy. It’s a good thing that they have multiple medium to large parking lots to accommodate all the happy wanderers looking to tackle this hike. I found several spots available at the very first parking lot:

Triple Falls Hike in North Carolina Parking Lot

Triple Falls Trail

Triple Falls trail is pretty close to the parking lots, and it starts by taking you under the main road bridge:

After you cross under this bridge, you’ll encounter a pretty steep hill. This is by far the most strenuous section of the hike. You’ll arrive at an overlook with views of Triple Falls off in the distance:

Triple Falls in North Carolina

After you pass by this observation area, you’ll find a large set of stairs that takes you down to the bottom of Triple Falls:

Remember, if you go down all these stairs, you have to climb back up them!

Triple Falls

The stairs lead you to the bottom of the first waterfall of Triple Falls. When I hiked Triple Falls, access to any part of the water was roped off with “Danger” signs. I’d suggest skipping this part of the hike, unless you really enjoy walking up hundreds of stairs!

River Bend Trail to Bottom of High Falls

After you climb back up the million stairs, you’ll continue onward towards River Bend Trail, which is on the left side if you’re going clockwise on Triple Falls Trail. This is the place you want to go, so don’t skip it! After going down a hill and through some trees and bushes, you’ll arrive at High Falls:

Getting to High Falls is a bit of an obstacle course from here. You’ll notice that there isn’t a nice neat trail that takes you directly to it. You’ll have to climb up branches, balance on some rocks, and obstacle-course your way to the falls (which makes it so much more fun!).

Once you finally make your way closer to High Falls, you’ll have the desire to get as close as possible to the falls. They’re like a magnet. Along the way, you’ll see people swimming and enjoying the full spectrum of beauty that is High Falls. I wanted to get on the giant rock front and center of High Falls. But there was a little creek in my way:

Be really careful if you decide to cross any shallow creek where water is flowing. I almost bit it hard when my feet slipped on what looked like safe ground (although wet). Anywhere where water is touching the rock is slick and slimy, so be extremely careful. When you make it across, congratulations, you’ve found the very best spot:

I would not recommend getting closer to the waterfall because it’s extremely slick (although I wanted to badly). Sit back, relax, and enjoy High Falls!

Triple Falls Trail Back to Parking Lot

After you leave High Falls, you’ll continue on Triple Falls Trail, which makes a loop back to the parking lot. There’s really nothing else to see on this hike except some lovely shaded hiking through a sea of green:

About My Experience Hiking Triple Falls

Overall, hiking Triple Falls in North Carolina was a good experience. In this section, I highlight my favorite parts as well as some parts I didn’t care for.

Favorite Parts

Here are a few of my favorite parts of hiking Triple Falls:

High Falls

High Falls was the best part of this hike, by far.

Lots of Free Parking

An underrated quality of a hike is the amount of parking and the cost of parking. This hike just so happened to have multiple parking lots nearby the trailhead, and it was 100% free.

Shaded Hike

Some hikes in North Carolina heavily expose you to the sun. This hike is mostly in the shade except for the waterfall areas. When you are in the water, the sun is lovely. However, when you’re going up big hills, the sun is not your friend and can make hiking unpleasant experience in the Summer. I greatly appreciated the beautiful green trees that provide shade along most of the hike.

Least Favorite Parts

Here is my least favorite part of this hike:

Triple Falls Trail

Besides High Falls, Triple Falls Trail is pretty boring. There’s not much to see once you pass High Falls on your way looping back to the starting point. It also is made mostly of gravel, which takes away from the natural experience of hiking in my opinion. That being said, being in the woods is always great! The gravel trails also make it much easier for young and old to adventure, so I do appreciate that aspect of this trail.

Triple Falls

Actual Triple Falls was quite disappointing! While you can take steps down to the bottom of Triple Falls, it was entirely roped off from getting any closer. Nothing to see here folks. Venture over to High Falls just down the trail and spend your time there.

Overall Score

Overall, Triple Falls was an enjoyable experience, mainly because of my waterfall adventure taking in High Falls.

I give this hiking experience a 6.5 / 10.

Hiking Tips for Triple Falls After the Fact

Here are some hiking tips for Triple Falls that I learned after the fact that can help you have the very best adventure:

  • This may be controversial to say, but they should rename this one to High Falls hike rather than Triple Falls hike. I’d recommend skipping right past Triple Falls on your way down to High Falls.
  • Definitely go down to High Falls, it’s where the majority of people will be congregated but it is quite a cool experience walking right next to a powerful waterfall that is High Falls. You will also see quite a few people swimming nearby.
  • When you’re at High Falls, be extremely careful with your steps when you’re near the waterfall. Anywhere where water has touched, it’s likely extremely slippery. I almost busted my butt on more than 1 occasion trying to navigate to the big rock next to the waterfall. I’d recommend planning to bring some type sandal or water shoe to put on to cross the gentle parts of the water.

Final Thoughts on Triple Falls in North Carolina

Triple Falls has it’s ups and downs, but High Falls is an excellent experience to take in a powerful waterfall in North Carolina. However, I’d recommend you drive a little further to Rainbow Falls first if you haven’t been yet before going to Triple Falls. If you do happen to go to Triple Falls, plan on spending the majority of your time at the bottom of High Falls, it is a very cool experience.

Happy wandering to you!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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