The discussion here is how to present Glen Falls. Is it a set of 3 exceptional waterfalls preceded, separated by, and followed by runs of steep and impressive rapids or is this simply a 600 foot tall waterfall? By checking topography, you can see the East Fork of Overflow Creek drops 600 vertical feet over a horizontal measurement of about 0.6 miles. On the slope, the trail measures just under a mile.
Getting there is easy. From the intersection of US 64 and NC 106 in Highlands, NC, head south toward Dillard, GA for 1.7 miles. There is a Forest Service sign on the right side of the road indicating the turn for the falls, plus there is a street sign for Glen Falls Road. Follow the road to the parking lot at the end. There you will see a misspelled (Glenn Falls) Forest Service sign along with a kiosk at the trail head. As soon as you exit your vehicle, you will hear the East Fork of Overflow Creek below and to the right. Follow Glen Falls Trail, ignoring Chinquapin Mountain Trail on your right. The trail is generally well-maintained plus steps have been built to handle some of the steeper sections.
At 0.1 miles, you’ll come to an overlook on your left that gives you your first view of the Blue Valley Experimental Forest below. Now head downhill via several switchbacks for another 0.1 miles until you arrive at the first observation deck. The guide books say you are at the top of Glen Falls. This is true if you consider this a 600 foot tall waterfall, otherwise, be aware that the significantly steep, tumbling rapids that you’re looking at are just the preliminary run before Upper Glen Falls. Continue down the trail to the 2nd observation deck located at the brink of Upper Glen Falls.
Another 0.2 miles down the trail will bring you to the 3rd observation deck, located at the base of Upper Glen Falls. Great view of this spectacular waterfall.
Another quarter mile down the trail and you’ll be brought back to the final observation deck at the base of Middle Glen Falls.
From here, the best advice is to keep turning right. This will bring you to the base of Lower Glen Falls, a nice waterfall but not nearly as impressive as its upstream sisters. What you may find even more impressive is the run immediately after the waterfall. As at the top of the trail, this is a strong, rumbling set of rapids that disappears into the distance, making you wonder if there are not more waterfalls, but not so. There is a faint trail headed downstream, but it is not recommended.
So, is this just one big 600 foot waterfall or not? You’ll have some time to think about that as you now tackle the hard part of the trail…the hike back up to the parking lot.