Kevin Adams North Carolina Waterfall Challenges


Up for a challenge?

If you’re like many waterfallers, you like to keep a list of waterfalls visited and you’re always looking for new ones to add to the list. These challenges will hopefully add a little more fun in your pursuit and give you a reward for reaching the various goals. There are four different waterfall challenges.

Kevin Adams 100 Disabled-Access North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge

Kevin Adams 100 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge

Kevin Adams 250 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge

Kevin Adams 500 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge
See important note below about 500 challenge

All of the challenges consist of waterfalls that are on public land or those on private land that are accessible to the public. Nearly all of the waterfalls are included in my North Carolina Waterfalls book. The lists include the corresponding page numbers from the book to help you visit the falls. The lists also include the general location for each falls (Hub), and the trail length and difficulty for some of them.

The 100 Disabled-Access North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge contains waterfalls that are visible from a road or that require short, easy walks. Persons in wheelchairs should be able to experience most of these waterfalls, while those who can walk with limited mobility will able to see all of them. Some of the waterfalls are spectacular, among the finest in the state. But several of them aren’t much to get excited about. Some will be very hard to see in summer and the creeks may dry to a trickle. Some are distant views, with the waterfall not showing up well. However, I wanted to include 100 waterfalls to make this a worthy challenge for those who aren’t able to make difficult hikes to see waterfalls. Coming up with 100 waterfalls that are extremely easy to see required adding some less-than-ideal falls to the list.

The 100 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge is my cherry-picked list of some of the best waterfalls in the state. It includes difficult hikes and easy hikes, but all of the waterfalls are notable. The list does not include some of the most difficult waterfall hikes.

The 250 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge includes all of the waterfalls from the 100 challenge, plus 150 additional falls. Some of these additional ones are among the most difficult hikes you could make.

The 500 North Carolina Waterfalls Challenge includes all of the falls from the 250 challenge, plus the falls from the 100 Disabled Access Challenge, along with 150 additional falls. In order to come up with 500 North Carolina waterfalls that are accessible to the public, I had to include some falls that certainly won’t make anyone’s top 10 list, but all waterfalls have some redeeming quality.

Important note: Four waterfalls in the 500 challenge may not be suitable to visit. 469 Grandmas Kitchen, 470 Grandmas Pantry, 471 Talus Cave, and 472 Bonas Defeat are all in Tuckasegee River Gorge, which may have too much water flow due to dam releases. In place of these falls, I’ve chosen Balsam Falls, Lower Balsam Falls, Patricia Falls, and Lauren Falls. These waterfalls are not included in the book, so you’ll have to get directions from this site. To complete the challenge, you may visit any four of the eight falls. If the water level is high, I strongly discourage you from attempting a hike through Tuckasegee River Gorge. Two of the waterfalls will likely be under water and the other two will not be safe to reach.

Challenge Rules

The rules are simple. You have to see the waterfall with your own eyes, from ground level. Viewing from an airplane doesn’t count. You can view from up close or a distance. It’s perfectly okay to cross a falls off the list if you’ve already visited it before you start the challenge. The list contains a space for the date on which you viewed the falls. If you can’t remember the exact date, just get it as close as you can. You can enter just the year if you like.

Challenge Completion and Recognition

Once you’ve completed a challenge and entered the dates visited and your name and address, please make a copy of it and mail it to me at 283 Inman Branch Road, Waynesville, NC 28786. I will send you a signed certificate recognizing your accomplishment. Your name will also be included on this page as a challenge completer, along with the date you completed it.

The challenges include a space to write in the date upon which the challenge is totally completed. If you have already visited all of the waterfalls in a challenge, I will list your completion date as “Prior to July, 2016.”

I’d also like to mention the Carolina Mountain Club Waterfall Challenge, which is organized by hiker extraordinaire Jack Fitzgerald. The 100 waterfalls on the challenge include a few falls in other states as well. Whether or not you attempt the challenge, I recommend looking into Carolina Mountain Club. It’s a great organization to a part of.


Challenge Completers


100 Disabled-Access Challenge 

02/24/2019   Justin Hopkins
10/12/2019   Chris Armenti
11/13/2019   Stephanie Leigh
01/30/2020   Glenn Benton
06/11/2020   Jennifer Griffith-Johnson

100 Waterfall Challenge

08/05/2016   Casey Marcum
09/29/2016   Tim Holtzclaw
10/08/2016   Justin Paul
10/21/2016   Amanda Paul
05/30/2019   Justin Hopkins
06/22/2019   Chris Armenti
07/25/2019   Jack Fitzgerald
09/01/2019   Stephanie Leigh
10/15/2019   Gina Alberti
10/26/2019   Jason Tarr
11/08/2019   Wally Storey
06/04/2020   Jennifer Griffith-Johnson
06/20/2020   Glenn Benton
07/09/2020   Hunter Goosmann

250 Waterfall Challenge

05/11/2019   Casey Marcum
05/30/2019   Justin Paul
10/12/2019   Chris Armenti
05/24/2020  Stephanie Leigh
06/26/2020   Jennifer Griffith-Johnson

500 Waterfall Challenge

05/30/2019   Justin Hopkins
10/12/2019   Chris Armenti
05/30/2020   Stephanie Leigh
06/26/2020   Jennifer Griffith-Johnson