Triple Falls in DuPont State Park is one of my favorite places to hike. The park is made up of more than 10,000 acres of forest, trails, and waterfalls just over the North Carolina line from the upstate region of South Carolina, not far from Brevard. Triple Falls consists of three distinct cascades totaling almost 120 feet in vertical drop. It is one of the more family-friendly outdoor attractions in the area. Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed. Bring swimwear and a picnic if it’s warm out. It’s well worth a dedicated day-trip just to hang out in the park all day.
The Triple Falls area is very popular on warm days, so try to get there early if you intend to park in the gravel lot near the top of the falls. The park is open from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. On a pretty day, the top lot will be full by 9:30 am. After the lot is full, people start parking on Staton Road.
There are restrooms and a park ranger’s office at the trailhead. From there, you can easily walk to a scenic overlook and to the top of the upper falls. There’s even a bridge that spans the river directly above the falls. Near the scenic overlook, you’ll find a group picnic area. You’ll see a lot of grandparents resting there in the shade while their children and grandchildren hike down to view all three cascades.
If you want to avoid the crowd at the park’s main entrance, you can park in the gravel lot near Hooker Falls at the bottom of the hill. Then enjoy exploring the footpaths and boulders that follow the river’s edge toward Triple Falls. The park recently installed a new pedestrian bridge that spans the river and runs beneath the road. That way, you don’t have to contend with street crossings. I think this is the most rewarding way to explore the falls. You experience the enormity of each cascade from the bottom and then it’s all back downhill to the car. Win-win, right?
When the Triple Falls and Hooker Falls trails are crowded, it’s pretty hard to get lost. That said, you should always carry a map. DuPont State Forest offers free printable paper maps and a GPS map for your smartphone. There is cell coverage in the area, but you’ll still want to download the map points before you visit. If you think you might want to explore more of DuPont State Forest, then I recommend picking up a proper contour map and compass. This is what I use.
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The first time I visited Triple Falls, it was on a whim. It was hot outside, I was wearing jeans and sandals, and I was carrying a cup of coffee. I visited Hooker Falls—which is a swimming hole the size of an Olympic pool—and then decided to hike to the top of Triple Falls. I started to complain about the hot and muggy walk until I saw what must have been an 85-year-old woman walking back down from the top. I begrudgingly checked my attitude and made it up to the very top of the falls and back down again.
I’ve been back many times since then and the view never fails to impress me. I’ve been just about everywhere in the region (see the map), and Triple Falls is probably my go-to place to take visiting friends and family on warm days.
Over the years, I’ve watched as the park amenities and trails have improved dramatically. Where there used to be slick mud and gravel roads, there are now official trails with stairs. Trails wind alongside the river and there are rocky outcroppings large enough to accommodate whole families. The area gets pretty crowded on summer weekends and holidays, but there’s still plenty of room to spread out.
Most people simply walk to one or two of the cascades and then head back to their cars. They don’t realize that there’s actually a pretty extensive trail system if you know where to go. Just be warned that the farther you get from the waterfalls, the more likely you are to share the trail with mountain bikers.