Inquiring minds want to know…well, all kinds of things.
Fortunately, our resident expert, The Adventurist, stands ready to answer your most burning questions.
Why is this region known as North Carolina's Land of Waterfalls?
The simple answer is numbers. With 250 roaring, shimmering, breathtaking plunges, Transylvania County has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the United States. The slightly more complicated answer is a combination of dramatic, mountainous geography (think: Blue Ridge Escarpment) and a climatic phenomenon called orographic lift, which causes Transylvania County to have one of the highest average rainfalls in the United States. The end results are pretty spectacular. The term “Land of Waterfalls” has been used to describe our area since the early 1900s.
What time do we shut off the waterfalls?
The spigot controlling our local waterfalls is in the capable hands of Mother Nature, who adjusts the flow depending on the amount of rainfall. The wetter the weather, the higher the water. And yes, this was an actual question posed at the Visitor Center.
Are waterfalls dangerous?
Waterfalls are beautiful, awe-inspiring and a great deal of fun. But they are not theme park rides. Nature is not obliged to meet safety standards. And Sliding Rock, in Pisgah National Forest, is the only local waterfall with a summertime lifeguard on duty. But there is no reason to be afraid of hiking around our local waterfalls, just be smart and cautious and keep these tips in mind:
1. Stay on developed trails and don’t stray from observation decks and platforms.
2. Follow instructions posted at all waterfalls and trails.
3. Watch your footing. Dry rocks can be just as slippery as wet ones, especially those covered with algae.
4. The top of any waterfall is the most dangerous. Do not lean over a ledge at the top of a falls.
5. Watch children carefully. Children should always be under the immediate supervision of adults when visiting any falls. Pets should also be supervised. They can easily underestimate the slickness of rocks and the flow of water.
6. Be especially careful when you are taking photographs. Many times, photographers become more focused on taking a photo rather than securing their footing. Make sure you are in a safe, solid location before taking photographs.
7. To insure your safety on the rocks and trails, never visit waterfalls or hike alone.
8. Bring your cell phone in case you need to make a call for assistance
9. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, don’t go any further.
What do I need to bring with me on a hike? On a mountain bike ride?
Though this largely depends on the season and the length of your trip, the one thing we always recommend is a good map of the area. Our many local outfitters will be able to set you on the right path as well as recommending other items your journey may require.
What trails or forest areas are appropriate for small children? What areas are handicapped accessible?
Pisgah, Dupont and Gorges all have areas that are relatively easy to get to and some that aren’t. Visitors dependent and strollers or wheelchairs are advised to visit each area’s individual website to find out more about available options and keep in mind that many trails are narrow and natural-surfaced. DuPont Forest, in particular, offers a yearly, springtime tour event of its most famous waterfalls, specifically tailored for visitors with limited hiking ability.
So can I just set up my tent here?
Both Pisgah National Forest and Gorges State Park allow camping at designated sites. Visitors are advised to make sure they’re in the right place before rolling out their sleeping bag. DuPont State Recreational Forest offers no public camping, however there are many privately owned campsites nearby.
When is the best time to come to Brevard?
It’s always beautiful in Transylvania County. But the best time to visit depends on what you want to do when you’re here. Our swimming holes and waterfalls are heated by Mother Nature alone, so swimming and wading can be chilly propositions well into the summer. Higher elevations can see snowfall as late as April and as early as October, so campers and hikers in spring and fall are advised to keep an eye on the forecast and pack accordingly. Peak leaf season tends to fall sometime between mid-October and mid-November, for those moved by fantastic foliage. Many of the town’s biggest festivals (the White Squirrel, the Brevard Music Center Festival, the July 4th Celebration and Mountain Song Festival) fall during the summer, but there are cultural activities throughout the year.
How can I get information on accommodations and special events?
Visit our lodging page for a complete listing of hotels, inns, cottages and campsites.
The events calendar is a great resource for seeing what’s going on throughout the community. Or if you would like a preview of upcoming events delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here to receive The Adventurist newsletter.
How did the white squirrels come to Brevard?
In the early decades of the twentieth century, a pair of white squirrels escaped from an overturned carnival truck and found a new home in the Florida pecan grove. The owner of said grove, Mr. Black, captured the pair, and handed them off to his friend, H. H. Mull of Transylvania County. After unsuccessful attempts at controlled breeding, Mr. Mull and his family ultimately let them go. Not long after, an extended family of white squirrels began appearing all over town. They became so beloved by the local population that in 1986, the Brevard City Council passed an ordinance officially declaring the area a sanctuary for white squirrels. Though squirrel sighting is a year-round activity, fans of the fluffy white tail may want to make an effort to attend the annual White Squirrel Festival on Memorial Day Weekend.