Cullasaja River Gorge
Cullasaja River Gorge
4.5
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4.5
130 reviews
Excellent
89
Very good
33
Average
7
Poor
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Terrible
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Craig A
South Carolina853 contributions
Dec 2020
This stunning drive from Highlands to Franklin on Rt 64 is not to be missed! We've driven all over the country and the closest we've come to an area this gorgeous is driving South on Rt 191 from I-90 towards Big Sky, Montana. That gives you some idea how rare a treat the gorge is. And I actually think the Cullasaja River Gorge is even more beautiful.

A twisty road, sheer rock cliffs, several significant water falls, rushing rapids, deep gorge views...what more would you want? If in Highlands - drive slowly West on 64 and plan for a fun lunch in charming Franklin. If you're staying near Franklin, drive East on 64 and spend the afternoon in quaint Highlands.

BTW - if a speedy driver comes up behind you and is pushing you to go faster - when you obviously want to go slowly and enjoy the scenery - just briefly pull off in one of the many turn-outs and let that hurry-person past. Then return to (safely) rubber necking all the nature around you!
Written December 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark W
Cumming, Georgia, United States26 contributions
Oct 2014 • Solo
Spent a couple of days exploring the Cullasaja River Gorge during the apex of the fall color change. An absolutely beautiful place. I followed hwy. 64 between Franklin and Highlands NC and there were many pull offs to enjoy the scenery along the river. Here is the edited video that I shot of my trip. http://vimeo.com/109949903
Written October 26, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NCluvtrav
Hillsborough, NC563 contributions
Sep 2018 • Friends
I feel for the person who has to drive the 7.1 miles of twists and turns but the view for the passengers is spectacular. Go early in the morning as traffic gets crazy later in the day as tourists flock the road to see the falls along the drive and perhaps follow the road from Franklin to Highlands to do some shopping downtown Highlands. So worth your time to do.
Written September 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

margaret r
New Bern, NC56 contributions
Aug 2016 • Friends
I would really love to rate this higher. The views (from what I could see and what my passengers told me) are breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, this is one of the most hair-raising drives in North Carolina: Miles of blind hairpin curves with a sheer drop on one side and a granite cliff wall on the other. One direction of travel each way.
This is no place to take a large RV or trailer. If you are going to (or from) Highlands, take 106 instead.
Written August 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MikeATL
Atlanta, GA1,165 contributions
Apr 2016 • Friends
There are three falls the length of this gorge between Highalnds and Franklin. Heading out of Highlands: #1 Bridal Veil. Its just about 10 feet off the highway and you cant miss it. There is a pull off that might hold 6 or so cars at most. The water here though is often very light so it isnt all that impressive but still nice to look at. It is on the RIGHT side if your headed OUT of Highlands. Then the falls #2 is Dry Falls. Now this one has water! It had parking for about 20 or so cars. This is much better and you can get out and walk down below and behind the falls to the other side! DO STOP HERE. Hopefully you can find a place to park in season, and there is a rest room there. No charge. A great stop. It is on your LEFT side heading out of Highlands after Bridal Veil. The last of the three is Cullasaja Falls. It is beautiful too, but there is no pull out and only limited parking on the river side. BE CAREFUL HERE!!!! It could be dangerous trying to stop as cars are often moving fast and no real good pullouts. If a slow day there are a few pull outs if your headed toward Highlands but please please be careful and I wouldnt try it with kids. You can get a fair view headed southbound, but when all the trees have leaves that view is greatly diminished and its hard to see going north.
Written May 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gogirl51
Webster Groves, MO137 contributions
Apr 2015 • Family
We discovered the almost magical town of Highlands just four years ago but have just completed our SIXTH visit. We are in Love. The drive from Franklin up to Highlands on US 64 the first few times was almost like an out - of - body experience. Maybe other people have experienced drives like in other parts of the country but certainly not us. The twists and turns and vistas are mind blowing at points. It might sound strange to say while writing a review of this, that I almost kind of CAN'T review it to give readers a true sense of it. But, suffice it to say it's like ringing water from a towel (I actually read that somewhere). At various points you will see the gushing Cullasaja river waterfalls to your right that make the 18 miles a feast for the eyes. The twisting and turning road makes the 18 miles take about 35 minutes at least. But at the top of it all, you emerge into the elegant, charming mountain town that is Highlands, NC and you breathe again. I will say that in the summer months, simply because of the growth of the Mountain Laurel and other things along the road, you may not experience the 'mind blowing' effect of some of the twists and turns. If you're lilly-livered, this might be a positive for you. For us, is was kind of a let-down having experienced it the 'Real' way all the other times. In our six trips, only one has been in the Summer - June to be exact and and it was less than the dramatic effect we've had on all other visits. Regardless - just do it. And then spend time at one of the charming inns of Highlands. It will be trip you won't soon forget.
Written May 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ed D
Jensen Beach, FL96 contributions
Jul 2014 • Family
Start in Franklin, most pull off's are easier and the river & falls are on this side of road. Because the speed limit is low its an easy drive to see some magnificent scenery. The whole drive is just over 7 miles
Written July 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kim J
Tampa, FL50 contributions
Oct 2019
This drive was so beautiful, with amazing scenery. Make sure to stop at the falls along the way. This road is a must see.
Written October 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ACTtherapist
Hoover, AL353 contributions
Aug 2019
Since we started visiting western north carolina each August, I have made a point to avoid the road from Franklin to Highlands, sometimes going to great detours to find another route. This year I decided I was going to work up my courage and go through the Cullasaja gorge from Franklin to Highlands. Well, why did I wait so long? It wasn't that bad at all!! (Granted, we were going on a Monday mid-afternoon when there were few other cars, on a sunny day). As long as you are careful, it isn't bad at all; I felt very safe and there were good guardrails the entire route. It is a beautiful drive. We ended up making this drive in both directions, and for planning purposes, it is much more scenic going from Franklin to Highlands due to the angles and placement of the waterfalls. Would I want to do it at night or in the rain? No, but it is worthwhile when you can see the beautfy.
Written August 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rick B
Round Rock, TX1,305 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
A wonderful Drive through a very scenic gorge. Take US64 between Franklin and Highlands for a drive you will surely enjoy. 4 fantastic waterfalls lie along this route and all four right on the road without a lot of hiking in. Great drive for anyone with mobility problems as three of the four falls can be seen from the road. Dry Falls has an accessible viewing platform right next to the parking area.
Written June 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Cullasaja River Gorge - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)