While away last week with our family for a getaway to the Blue Ridge area of the Smoky Mountains, we pretty much hiked and adventured daily… and waterfalls were a huge part of that. And by huge, I mean that we sought them out whenever we could. Besides the place where the warm water of the gulf laps up onto a sandy shore, these views where mountains shed rivers over their steep ledges are our favorite! My kids wanted to see how many they could splash in, how high they could climb and of course, with Skylar strapped to my chest most of the time I was just trying to keep up… giving my legs the best workout. Ever. Oh yeah, and lungs too, because we were pretty much at a high elevation the entire time breathing in beautifully fresh and thin air. It was amazing and we already can’t wait to go back!
Our first stop was Chimney Rock and then after scaling the 500 steps up to the top, and then doubling that to reach Exclamation Point, we decided our legs were thoroughly wiped out, so why not hike to a water fall. Hickory Nut Falls was a welcome reward for our valiant efforts. Yes, valiant. (More on that here)
What was absolutely special about this trip is that my brother and his family made their way to the mountaintop cabin to stay with us, and so the rest of our adventures were had with five kids in tow, meaning lots of crazy and lots of laughs. But there’s not better way to vacation than with plenty of crazy and plenty of laughs! We took our time and let the experience with our kids unfold before us, making our way to the next blank page waiting for the plot to be written. Oh and write it they did. On our first day together we started at Sliding Rock Falls, and the name speaks for itself. It was a pretty easy walk to this natural playground.
And with each slide down the cascading rock face, it was enough to wet their appetite for more. Next we hit up Moore Cove, which is a much longer trek to get to although fairly easy terrain, but absolutely beautiful.
We made one last stop to one of my favorite waterfalls, which we visited last fall as well, Looking Glass Falls. Though the afternoon greeted us with a foggy cover of rain cloud and a mist over our heads, it was still a welcome addition to our day. Soon enough, the clouds parted leaving the glistening water for us to enjoy in all it’s glory. Literally, the rocks sparkle and glisten, it’s brilliant, and why this is so my favorite.
As you can imagine, the entire gang was wiped out, especially us adults. Fortunately, it was a beautiful ride over the Blue Ridge Parkway back to our cabin where we enjoyed the views before the kids crashed hard.
The next day brought with it the desire for more adventure, more waterfall seeking, more climbing and more of the beautiful mountain landscape. This time though, it was a little harder to find. We decided to find Mingo Falls and it was a little harder to do! I will say thank goodness for GPS, but I do miss those old Atlas maps we used to keep in our cars, remember those? While on the hunt for these falls, which by the way has just a small entrance off the road which happened to be covered up by an RV parked straight in the entrance, our phones lost service and we couldn’t tell where we were on GPS, so we drove on by. That is until we ended up at a dead-end that didn’t look like a very welcoming place to get out of our vehicles. Once we were headed in the right direction again, we noticed the entrance just as the large RV pulled out! Thankfully we did because it would have been a shame to miss this beautiful water display. It was an easy to moderate hike the quarter mile to the falls, once you summited the 150 stairs or so to get to the trail. Of course, that didn’t stop my clan from climbing even higher and a few of the more adventurous ones made it all the way to the top of the 200 foot beauty! Yep… they peaked out over that tippie-top spot!
I can say with certainty that we are already planning our next vacation in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains because we had such a good experience in the Maggie Valley area. Will share about the last few spots we visited next week! And if you want to see Part 1 of our trip, click here. (There’s just too much for one post:))