Upper Silver Run Falls

Upper Silver Run Falls

Hiked in before sunrise so I could capture first light on the trees above the falls. Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm, f/14, ISO 100, polarizing filter. Shot 5 exposures at different shutter speeds to capture the full tonal range, then blended them together in post processing.

Beauty Rating:
Silver Run Creek
River Basin:
3,340 feet
Type and Height:
Cascading falls about 18 feet high
Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala Ranger District
Cashiers NC/SC/GA
Hike Distance:
About 0.2 mile
Hike Difficulty:
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
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Driving Directions

The trailhead is the same as for Silver Run Falls. From US 64 in Cashiers, drive south on NC 107 for 4 miles and park in the pullout on the left side of the road.

Hike Description

Hike to Silver Run Falls. The path leading down to the base of the falls passes by a cliff with an exposed section of tree roots that you can use to climb up the rock. This is the route to the upper falls. It’s a near vertical climb, but mercifully short. You could skirt the base of the cliff for a short distance before climbing, but it wouldn’t be much easier. And it’s more dangerous that way, as you would then have to traverse a steep slope at top. In winter, the slope is covered in ice. For now, the best route is straight up the rock from the trail. I say for now, because some of the roots you’ll grab hold of are on dead hemlocks. Who knows how much longer they’ll be there.

Once at the top, follow the winding path a short distance to the falls. You’ll have to crawl under rhododendron along the way.


Most people who visit Silver Run Falls are unaware that another waterfall is upstream. For those who can handle the initial climb up the rock and don’t mind ducking under rhododendron, the upper falls makes a nice visit. As far as I can determine, the waterfall is on national-forest property, but is barely inside the property line. If you explore the creek any farther upstream, you’ll be trespassing.