Scadin Falls

Scadin Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 20mm, f/11, 0.3 second, ISO 200, polarizing filter.

Danger Will Robinson!
Beauty Rating:
Steep scramble path
Cullasaja River
River Basin:
Little Tennessee
3,000 feet
Type and Height:
Cascading and free-falling falls about 30 feet high
Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala Ranger District
Scaly Mountain
Hike Distance:
A few hundred feet
Hike Difficulty:
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
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

From NC 106 in Highlands, drive 5.8 miles west on US 64 to the tiny one-car pullout on the right side of the road. The pullout is on a dangerous curve, so if you’re traveling east, from Franklin, continue up the road and find a safe place to turn around. That way, you won’t have to cross traffic to turn into the pullout. Also beware of crossing traffic when exiting. The path to the falls is across the road, directly opposite the pullout. You can get a poor winter view of the falls from the road.

Hike Description

The path descends a few hundred feet to the falls. When you get close, you’ll reach a fork. The left fork leads to the top, while the right fork descends a short distance to an open view of the falls high above the river. Be careful there! Don’t let kids, dogs, or idiots run free.


I mentioned this falls in the last edition, but after making several visits since, I decided it deserves a full listing. Most people traveling through Cullasaja River Gorge have no idea this waterfall exists, and that’s probably just as well. I hope those who learn about it from this book will take heed of the trail rating of 8 and my caution about the viewpoint.

The name honors Rupert Henry Scadin, a prolific western North Carolina photographer during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Scadin photographed extensively in the area encompassing Hendersonville, Tryon, Brevard, Cashiers, and Highlands. Waterfalls, including those in Cullasaja River Gorge, were among his favorite subjects. As you scramble down the steep bank to the falls while carrying your cell phone or digital camera, think about Scadin lugging his glass plates, huge camera, and heavy tripod through the gorge. And this was long before a highway ran beside the river.