Coyote Falls

Nikon D850, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 24mm, f/22, 3 seconds, ISO 200, polarizing filter. Photographed while it was raining. 

Beauty Rating:
Lower access–trail, bushwhack, creek walk; Upper access–bushwhack and creek walk
Little Whitewater Creek
River Basin:
Very small
3,320 feet
Type and Height:
Steep broken slide, about 35 feet high
Nantahala NF, Nantahala RD
Hike Distance:
Lower access–about 0.5 mile; Upper access–about 0.25 mile
Hike Difficulty:
Lower access–4-10; Upper Access–10
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
Lower access:  N35.06235, W-83.06903
Upper access:  N35.06946, W-83.07422
Google Earth Waterfall Download View waterfall on Google Earth. Link is for a Google Earth file. Click file after download and Google Earth will open and fly to the waterfall. Don't have Google Earth on your computer?

Driving Directions

Lower access  

Lower access. From US 64 in Cashiers, drive south on NC 107 for 4.4 miles and park in the pullout on the right side of the curve. This point is 0.35 south of the trailhead for Silver Run Falls.

Upper access  

Upper access. From US 64 in Cashiers, drive south on NC 107 for 3.2 miles and turn right on Found Forest Road (SR 1178). Drive 0.7 mile and park in the narrow area on the left side of the road at a power pole. P15 is written in white paint on the road at the pole.

Hike Description

There are two ways to reach Coyote Falls. The lower access is longer but probably easier for most people.

For the lower access, start out on the obvious path that runs from the pullout. You’ll follow an old overgrown road for about 0.3 mile before it becomes to overgrown to follow. At this point you need to bushwhack down to the creek and follow it upstream to the falls. You’ll find it much easier to walk in the creek bed.

For the upper access, enter the woods at the power pole, then work your way to the creek, which is a short distance from the road. Now it is a simple matter of following the path of least resistance down to the falls. You’ll probably want to walk the creek bed. When you get near the falls, you’ll have to swing wide around on river right to reach the base and wade through dog hobble hell. A small branch flows into Little Whitewater Creek a short distance downstream from the falls. Because of steep cliffs, you’ll want to follow the branch down rather than trying to go down closer to the falls. If you go down on the river left side, you’ll have to swing around even farther to escape the cliffs.


What a pleasant surprise! If you look at the original Cashiers USGS topo map, you wouldn’t expect to find anything on this creek, and especially not a waterfall this high. Part of the reason is that the map appears to be drawn wrong. Based on studying the various map layers on the CalTopo site, the original map is missing a contour line at the falls, showing it to be much farther upstream than it really is. But thanks to Andy Kunkle, we know about this beautiful waterfall. Andy named falls after discovering a coyote carcass on his hike.

Don’t let the short distance of this hike mislead you into thinking it will be a simple matter to see it. The forest here is very dense with rhododendron, dog hobble, and rotten downfall that sinks under your steps. Plan to move slowly.