Rainbow Falls Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park!

Over 7000 acres of second growth forest with two of areas top waterfalls - Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls on the Horsepasture River. 

Only 20 minutes from the Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center!  Scroll down for more info and some great videos including a brief tour of the visitors center!

image: Rainbow Falls*

Gorges State Park, spanning 7,709 acres in Transylvania County, North Carolina, lies less than a 20-minute drive from Sapphire Valley Resort. This pristine park, nestled within the expansive 100,000+ acre conservation corridor stretching approximately 80 miles along the NC/SC state line. 

Accessible via the Grassy Ridge Access off North Carolina Highway 281 in Sapphire, the park's primary entrance and the closest for Sapphire Valley Resort guests, features a welcoming visitor center equipped with informative exhibits and staffed by knowledgeable rangers. (See map below) This area is renowned for providing convenient access to iconic attractions such as Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls on the Horsepasture River, technically located within the Pisgah National Forest.

We provide the following videos for your review and enjoyment. These are from individual YouTubers and not from SapphireValleyResort.com. One of the videos shows hikers in a very dangerous area of the Horsepasture River above Rainbow Falls. There are very safe trails for you to use to view the waterfalls - just stay on the trails! 

A Tour of the Gorges State Park Visitor Center

A brief look at the recently completed visitor center at Gorges State Park

Serving as North Carolina's westernmost state park and one of its newest additions, Gorges State Park borders part of the Pisgah National Forest and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Toxaway Game Land, providing crucial access to the Horsepasture River within these adjoining public lands.

Guide to Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park in Sapphire, North Carolina has beautiful waterfalls, new facilities, short and long trails for hiking. This video introduces you to Rainbow Falls Trail and Upper Bearwallow Falls trail on a summer day in the middle of the 2020 Pandemic.

How to Hike to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Western North Carolina. And with good reason - it is 150 feet high and can create multiple rainbows in the right conditions.

Rainbow Falls is located within Gorges State Park which is located off of highway 281 (also called Whitewater Falls Road). The hike to Rainbow Falls is approximately 1.5 miles. It is mostly downhill so expect the trek back to the parking area to be uphill.

Journey to 4 EPIC North Carolina Waterfalls in 2 Miles

We found 4 massive waterfalls in this 2-mile one-way stretch and 1 bonus smaller waterfall. Also, there were 3 additional landmarks in this amazing hike, too! Located in Pisgah Forest near the Blue Ridge escarpment, today we hiked alongside the Horse Pasture River to Rainbow Falls & Turtleback Falls. Gorges State park in North Carolina is an incredible location for hiking and camping, as we found many campsites along the way.

Gorges State Park offers year-round recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. Visitors can enjoy primitive camping in diverse natural settings, with the recently opened campground providing modern amenities for tents, RVs, and camper cabins. Additionally, hike-in camping options are available near Lake Jocassee along the Foothills Trail, complemented by dispersed camping in the adjacent Pisgah National Forest. Anglers can explore the park's streams, designated as Wild Trout Waters, while numerous trails invite hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders to explore the park's scenic wonders.

Directions to Gorges State Park
[Full Directions]

*Rainbow Falls header image: Jordan Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

Gorges State Park Map Sapphire Valley Resort

*Rainbow Falls header image: Jordan Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons

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"Ski Sapphire" and " Ski Sapphire Valley" created in 1964 by Gene Howerdd, Jr
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