Fall In Love With Burke County

Burke County, NC
July 2023

Many people think that they have to travel to the far west of North Carolina to experience some magnificent waterfalls but there might be some closer than they would think. Spend less time in the car and more time hiking and splashing in the water by visiting these three great waterfalls in Burke County!

McGalliard Falls is located just outside of downtown Valdese, North Carolina, about an hour and a half from Charlotte and Winston Salem and about two hours from Greensboro. It is a 45 foot waterfall that was used to power the Meytre Grist Mill from 1906 to 1941. It was repurposed as a park in 1982 by the city of Valdese. The current park has a picnic shelter, bathrooms, volleyball court, overlook to the waterfall and short, mostly paved trail down to the bottom of the falls. It is a great stop to bring lunch and let children run around. The town recently built a new trail connecting it to Valdese Lakeside Park if you are looking for a longer hike. 

Arguably the closest waterfall to Charlotte (~60 miles) is High Shoals Falls in South Mountain State Park. This 60 foot waterfall is part of the Jacob Fork River that goes through the South Mountain region of Burke County. The falls can be accessed from the Jacob Fork parking lot at the State Park then following the High Shoals Falls trail either a mile to the viewing platform, then turning around to make a two mile hike or by keeping straight from the platform and completing the 2.7 mile loop trail. It is considered moderate in difficulty and the loop includes many stairs to be prepared for.

One of the most iconic waterfalls in North Carolina, Linville Falls, is located in the northern part of Burke County on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is the highest volume waterfall in the state, meaning that the most amount of water goes through it at any given time than any other waterfall. There are two main trails to visit the falls, the Plunge Basin Trail and the Chimney View Trail. The Plunge Basin trail goes to the left of the Parkway Visitor Center and is considered moderate to difficult. It is short (about 1.3 miles there and back) but has lots of elevation change and exposed roots. The trail takes you to the base of the 90 foot waterfall. The Chimney View Trail is considered easy as it has a wider trail with less roots and more gradual incline. It takes you to the smaller upper falls area and then to the Chimney View across the Linville Gorge from the large waterfall. Altogether the Chimney View is .7 miles there and back. 

The Burke County Tourism Development Authority is located in Morganton, North Carolina, and serves the tourism interests of Burke County, NC.  Morganton is hailed as, “The Trailhead of Western North Carolina”, centrally located in Burke County. Our Visitor’s Center is full of information about unique attractions and activities in the area. Stop by and visit us! or visit www.discoverburkecounty.com

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Yes, I would like to receive emails from Magic Table Media Group LLC. Sign me up!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact