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Upper Creek Falls

A roadside swimming hole with several stunning cascades and a rope swing!

Hiking Difficult

1.4 km
102 m
102 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
877 m
High Point
979 m
Upper Creek Falls Map

Upper Creek Falls is a short waterfall hike along NC-181 with two spectacular waterfalls, a forested boulder field, numerous swimming holes, and even a rope swing! It's blazed with yellow markers and would make an excellent destination by itself, or as a roadside stop for anyone driving from Asheville to Grandfather Mountain or Linville Gorge.


As a whole, this hike is challenging due to its sheer steepness. The trail forms a loop from the trailhead, and if hiked clockwise, you will begin with a steep descent, then climb back to the trailhead with a series of mellow switchbacks. Reversed, the route down is easier, but ends with a steep uphill push. Hiking the entire loop also requires you get your feet wet, so an out-and-back to the river is sometimes chosen if it's been raining recently.

The trailhead is a small, unpaved lot near Jonas Ridge, about 13 miles from Morganton, and just shy of 6 from the nearest section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. No facilities are available, though a small general store and gas station is just north on 181.

For a longer hike nearby, a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail begins just minutes away on the road. Highlights include Harper Creek, Lost Cove, and Grandfather Mountain, with the section ending at the town of Blowing Rock.




Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area