Soco Falls is located between Maggie Valley and Cherokee, NC…in the aptly named Soco Gap. Two creeks spill over two separate ledges and converge at the bottom, creating a unique and pretty image. Let’s find out what we can expect when exploring Soco Falls!
Soco Falls is located on US-19, about 5 miles from Maggie Valley and 10 miles from Cherokee. It’s also easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway (and a fun side trip for those going to Mingo Falls). Being a roadside attraction, it’s a popular stop for those traveling to Cherokee, or for those wanting a quick leg stretcher as they travel to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are signs directing where to go, and there is a small pull out for parking.
Once parked, there will be a trail that begins on the other side of the guardrail. After 30 yards or so, it’ll wrap around and head down towards the falls. There are a few steps and some steep sections to maneuver, but for the most part, it’s a very simple and short trail.
After just a few minutes, you’ll come across the waterfall viewing platform. From here you can see the taller of the two falls, and in winter months, parts of the smaller waterfall. In the warmer months, the leaves block a good portion of the view, so it isn’t the best spot for awesome waterfall views. (The header photo is a good example of what view to expect.)
For a more intimate view, there is a trail that runs down directly beside the falls. There are ropes tied off on trees to assist those wanting a closer look, but proceed with caution. The trail stays extremely wet and slippery, and it is also very steep, but it does offer the greatest view of the two falls.
Another word of caution for the brave souls who venture down to the bottom; please be very aware of trash and broken glass and other sharp objects. Being a waterfall beside the road offers a great opportunity for many people to visit, but it also offers ample opportunities for (dumb-ish) people to get rid of their trash. I’m not sure if it’s people in cars passing by carelessly throwing stuff out, or if it’s people deliberately leaving stuff or throwing it down towards the falls, but there always seems to be bottles and trash and glass around. Granted, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it has been in the past (they have done a great job in cleaning up the area and making the platform more accessible), but the trash is still there regardless.
The best time to visit is going to be the fall. The colorful leaves create a wonderful backdrop for the falls, and the weather is great. If you’re there to take pictures, then you want to be there early in the morning to beat the crowds and also to beat the bright sun that always seems to be shining harshly on the falls during the middle of the day.
Soco Falls isn’t the prettiest or the biggest, but the two creeks that converge and the super easy trail make it a fun stop off for those traveling between Maggie Valley and Cherokee. Just be extremely careful when descending to the base, and don’t try to walk over the top of the waterfalls. If you do, all it takes is one misstep or slip, and people will be talking about the ghost of Soco Falls (you’ll be the ghost in this scenario…). So…be careful, don’t litter, and have fun exploring Soco Falls!