Accessibility – Moderate+
Height: Approx 20′
Distance – 0.4 (out and back)
Beauty – 7
Photo rating – 8
Solitude – 7
GPS Info: LAT 35.00837 LONG -83.24688
Last updated – 08-11-2018
Chasm Falls is a unique waterfall near Highlands NC. Standing only 20 feet high it isn’t it’s height that sets it apart but the geology and the power of the falls. The waterfall has a split upper drop as the river is bisected by a large rock outcrop but after the two halves of the river come over the initial plunge the river changes direction by 90 degrees before going over another drop and rushing past the elevated location where you can best see it. It is an awe-inspiring waterfall.
To get to Chasm Falls, start at the intersection of US64 and NC28 in Highlands, heading South on NC28. Follow this for 5.9 miles and turn right onto Blue Valley Road. There are numerous campsites on the road. Blue Valley Road eventually becomes FR79 and when it does it transitions from paved to gravel. A total of 4.5 miles from the turn off of NC28, there is a small pullout on the left where an overgrown logging road enters the woods. This is very close to the trailhead for Picklesimer Rockhouse Falls (0.3-0.4 of a mile).
The hike continues on the overgrown logging road. The overgrown road leads to a path that swings toward the falls and splits. The left branch leads to a somewhat unnerving overlook at the top of the falls, while the right branch descends to the creek and an equally unnerving creek crossing. The creek is really raging so one false step is going to make for a terribly bad outing. The best vantage I could find was on the boulders on the river left and even above the creek the sound of the water churning through the chasm was loud and impressive.
This is not a good family hike and this goes doubly so for the upper vantage. I think the view is much better from across the creek than perched above the falls but it is a different way to see this waterfall. The total hike is less than 0.4 of a mile round trip but the scramble and creek crossing make this one more than a moderate hike.