Parks & Forests
Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Gorges State Park, and Headwaters State Forest all offer excellent waterfall and recreation information at the respective Ranger Station or Visitor Centers.
Pisgah National Forest
One of the first national forests in the Eastern United States, Pisgah National Forest was established by the federal government in 1916. It covers over 500,000 acres in twelve counties in Western North Carolina and contains the original portion of George W. Vanderbilt’s once-vast Biltmore Estate. The roots of American Forest Conservation lie in Pisgah at the Cradle of Forestry, the brainchild of George Vanderbilt, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Gifford Pinchot. Transylvania County contains a significant portion of the forest, as well as some of its most memorable landmarks, including Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, and the Cradle of Forestry Historic Site and Museum.
Quick Stats on Pisgah National Forest
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Dupont State Recreational Forest
Spanning over 10,000 acres of rolling hills and rocky crags between Brevard and Hendersonville, NC, Dupont State Recreational Forest houses some of Transylvania County’s most exciting climbing, biking, and hiking opportunities.
The forest was established in 1996 following the generous sale of the land from the Dupont Corporation. The magnificent 2200 acre tract at the very heart of the forest, containing High Falls, Triple Falls, and eerily beautiful Bridal Veil Falls was added to Dupont in 2000. Easily accessible from downtown Brevard, Dupont State Recreational Forest offers myriad opportunities for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding. Other notable waterfalls in DuPont include Grassy Creek Falls, Wintergreen Falls, and Hooker Falls.
DuPont has also served as a backdrop in several major motion pictures. Scenes from The Last of the Mohicans were shot at Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Triple Falls. Many pivotal action sequences in the smash film The Hunger Games were also shot in DuPont.
Quick Stats on Dupont State Recreational Forest
Gorges State Park
One of the newest additions to Transylvania County’s numerous parklands, Gorges was founded in 1999 following a generous sale from the Duke Energy Corporation. The lush park straddling the high edges of the Jocassee Gorges is temperate rainforest and home to at least twelve species of endangered plant and animal life, as well as an impressive roster of rare plant and animal species, unique to Gorges’ unusual ecosystem. The dramatic topography features many beautiful waterfalls and allows for all kinds of things to do, including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, and camping.
Recent improvements have made Gorges State Park more visitor-friendly than ever. Access roads, parking areas, trails, and an impressive new visitor center have transformed Gorges into North Carolina’s best state park.
Quick Stats on Gorges State Park
Headwaters State Forest
The 6,730-acre Headwaters State Forest is located in southern Transylvania County near Rosman and Cedar Mountain. The forest was established in September 2018 with the intention to combine natural resource conservation objectives while providing recreation opportunities. Management at Headwaters State Forest focuses on conserving the lands that surround the upper reaches of the East Fork French Broad River.
Headwaters State Forest provides visitors with an undeveloped, primitive setting. The forest is open to foot travel, including hiking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The land is considered rugged and remote, so visitors should have contingency plans prepared prior to arrival on site. Cell phone service is very poor or non-existent, and parking is limited.