Drift Falls via Rainbow Falls Trail

13 reviews #1 hike out of 21 in
3.9 mi
Distance
2 hrs 4 min
Time
terrain
388 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a easy out and back trail to Drift Falls in Gorges State Park. This trail goes by Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls. These falls are spectacular and worth seeing in any season.

From the Visitor Center the trail leads upstream to spectacular Rainbow Falls. Continuing upriver, Turtleback Falls (Umbrella Falls) are reached in 0.3miles. The trail ends at a property boundary where there is a view of Drift Falls (also known as Bust-Your-Butt Falls from when swimming was permitted). Do not trespass on private property.

Getting Started

From the intersection of US 64 and NC 281 is Sapphire, NC follow NC 281 south for 0.9 miles and turn left on Grassy Ridge Road. Follow Grassy Ridge Road 1.1 miles to the Gorges State Park Visitors Center.

Taking Children

This hike is suitable for well-supervised children. Note that Rainbow Falls claims lives annually due to failure to take proper precautions. DO NOT allow children (or adults) to enter the water above the falls. The river at this location is deceptively shallow with a slippery bottom and strong current, making it easy for people to get swept over the falls. While swimming is popular at Turtleback Falls the same precaution applies.



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    3 weeks, 2 days ago
    Nice hike with a few tricky parts and constant elevation shifts. Wonderful views throughout. Trail rating is Red. There are a couple of stream crossings, so be mindful of footwear. Decent traffic so it’s ok to pack light with just water. Hiking poles did help. Falls look amazing.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    2 years ago
    Very beautiful hike. About 5 miles back and forth. Three gorgeous falls overall. Hike is easy to moderately challenging. Not really crowded on a Sunday in November. Stay on the path. The waters and rocks are inviting but very dangerous. Numerous signs on the trail to confirm that. If you stay on the trail the hike is very safe and you can bring kids, dogs and parents as you with. A must do. The falls are totally amazing!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    9 months ago
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    1 year, 1 month ago

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    2 years ago
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    2 years ago
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    2 years, 1 month ago
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    2 years, 5 months ago
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    2 years, 5 months ago
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    2 years, 5 months ago
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    2 years, 8 months ago
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Public Tracks

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Frank Erk 2 years, 7 months ago
Rainbow Falls 5/2/19 10:52:36 AM
Hiking at Gorges State Park to Rainbow Falls. Great weather but wind and mist in your face from viewing area across from the falls. Rainbow seen in 1 photo;-)
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Jason G. 5 years, 3 months ago
Rainbow Falls Trail Pisgah National Forest,NC
ONEWAY Trail(Out & Back) 3.5m.Total(Moderate Rough) Area-Gorges State Park, NC Views-Waterfall, River Highest Elevation-2920ft
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sameckstroth 7 years, 5 months ago
Track (6/7/14, 8:31:43AM)
Rainbow Falls. Gorges State Park
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