Soco Waterfalls is a popular waterfall attraction outside of Maggie Valley, NC. There are a few things you should know before visiting this location.
First, Soco Waterfalls is an amazingly beautiful waterfall just outside of Maggie Valley, NC on US-19 in the Asheville, NC region of the Smoky Mountains.
Second, the parking for the waterfalls is literally just off this two-lane highway on the shoulder of the road. The waterfalls are on the boundary land of the Cherokee Indian reservation. The waterfalls are open to the public without an access fee or any cost.
Third, the trail to the observation deck is unimproved and steep. I highly recommend wearing hiking boots down the trail, which I have been told stays wet and can be slippery and or muddy. The trail is even more rugged going down to the bottom of the falls. But the view and perspective is worth it.
The trip down to the waterfall floor is not for the faint of heart, those afraid of heights, small children, and people who are like me that are not always sure-footed.
The path is about 30 inches wide and sometimes in some places as narrow as 18 inches wide. There is no guard rail to prevent you from spilling off the side and into the spillway or banging off the side of the hill. To get to the bottom of the waterfall on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being an improved trail and easy access to 5 being a cut trail but rugged, I would rate this trail as a 6. I am not sure that it is an “official trail” it is very rugged and not accessible to those with handicaps and small children should probably not venture to the bottom. If they manage to safely travel to the bottom the trip back up is very steep and unforgiving. A thin rope tied to some trees are your only hope to stop you from going over the edge or to assist you in returning to the top of the hill.
I am not sure that it is an “official trail” it is very rugged and not accessible for those requiring accommodations. If someone manages to safely travel to the bottom of the waterfalls and into the spillway the trip back up is very steep and unforgiving. A thin rope tied to some small trees are your only hope to stop you from going over the edge or to assist you in returning to the top of the hill.
Don’t get me wrong I am all about adventure but on this particular trip I was with my grandkids and due to safety concerns I wouldn’t let them go to the spillway. Just something to think about if you’replanning a family waterfall trip. If you are planning a family waterfall trip I would suggest Mingo falls, which is steep but has a full official trail with steps. Mingo falls are also very tall and have a decent spillway but the trail is probably a 2 or 3 mostly because of its steep incline. Mingo falls are not very handicap accessible and you need a fair amount of mobility to climb to the top.
The waterfalls in the Asheville area of the Smoky Mountains are nothing short of magnificent Soco Falls did not disappoint I just wish my grandchildren were able to travel to the bottom of the falls but I rather have them safe than risk injury.
Until next time……. Chris
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