Turtleback Falls is a bonus waterfall. If you’re in the area of Turtleback Falls, you’re likely visiting the much larger Rainbow Falls, which is on the same trail. Rainbow Falls clocks in at 125′, whereas Turtleback Falls is about 20′ tall, though it doesn’t look that tall because of the angle you’ll be viewing the falls.
The thing with waterfall explorers…I want to add Turtleback Falls to the list, so once I reach Rainbow Falls, I walk about 0.2 miles further to find Turtleback Falls. Now I’ve got another one to add to the list! Turtleback Falls is a pretty waterfall, and in another area of North Carolina even, it would be a worthwhile stop. But with Rainbow Falls downstream, it probably gets a bit lost on the radar of most people.
The hike to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls is not a quick one. It’s about 3 miles round-trip to Rainbow Falls, and then about 0.4 miles additional hiking to get to Turtleback Falls. I don’t distinctly remember the hike, but I’ve been trying to record “my” difficulty right after the hike, and I rated it as on the moderate to strenuous side. That means there was probably a consistent amount of uphill/downhill hiking.
- On US-64 between Lake Toxaway and Cashiers, you’ll find a road to Gorges State Park.
- If you’re heading west from Lake Toxaway, you’re not far from the park. Turn left from US-64 onto NC-281 (also known as Whitewater Road) heading south.
- After a mile on NC-281, turn left onto Grassy Ridge Road, which should lead into Gorges State Park.
- You’re looking for the Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Trailhead, which is about as far as you can go on Grassy Ridge Road before you start looping back toward the other roads.
Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Distance of Hike: 3.4 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Turtleback Falls?