Cool off in the mist of our waterfall, one of the tallest in NC!
The Hickory Nut Falls trail is currently closed for repairs due to damage sustained in a rockslide and is not expected to reopen before spring 2013. Discounted rates are in effect. Read more about the trail closure.
It's well worth the effort to get to the foot of Hickory Nut Falls, one of the highest NC waterfalls and one of the tallest east of the Mississippi River. The Falls can be reached by taking a gentle walk via the Hickory Nut Falls trail to a platform at its bottom. It's a cool, refreshing stop and a "must see" during your visit to Chimney Rock.
At the base of the 404-ft. drop, the water pools again before splashing through a series of cataracts to the Rocky Broad River below. If you've seen the romantic adventure The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, the full view of this NC waterfall will look familiar. It was showcased in several of the movie's scenes.
Hickory Nut Falls is a perfect example of what geologists call a "hanging valley," a tributary valley that drops off abruptly into its main valley. Over thousands of years, the gorge below has been eroded more rapidly along a fault line by the Rocky Broad River. The much smaller Falls Creek had a tougher job of it with less water and no fault line to help it carve through the solid rock. Even today, the valleys are cut down at different rates, so Hickory Nut Falls may become higher in centuries to come, as the large valley erodes more quickly.
In cracks next to the waterfall and even in some places in the falling water, several plants have found a wet home—Lady Rue, a dainty white-flowering plant, and Deerhair Bulrush. The Deerhair Bulrush (Scirpus cespitosus var. callosus) is a grass-like plant with small knobs at the end of shiny, wiry leaves, found growing out of cracks in the rock and cliff wall. It is just one of the many uncommon plants that make Chimney Rock special.