Turtleback Falls

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Turtleback Falls
Although dangerous, Swimming is a popular activity at Turtleback Falls
Location Horsepasture River, Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Mountains, Transylvania County, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°05′32″N 82°57′59″W / 35.0922°N 82.9663°W / 35.0922; -82.9663
Type Cascade
Total height 20 ft (6.1 m)
Number of drops 1

Turtleback Falls, also called Umbrella Falls, is a waterfall in Western North Carolina, located near Brevard. The falls is located on the Horsepasture River. It is on Pisgah National Forest land just outside Gorges State Park.


The falls has a large, deep pool at the bottom commonly known as the "Chug Hole". The river flows over a large, sloping slab of rock before curving steeper and finally dropping into the pool. The appearance of the rock, similar to a turtle's shell, gives the falls its name.

Visiting the Falls[edit]

The falls is accessible by a short hike starting in Gorges State Park & passing through Pisgah National Forest property. From NC 281, drive 1.6 miles (2.6 km) to a parking area & follow the trail-head at the corner of the lot.

The first quarter-mile of the trail has both blue and orange blazes, as it is a dual-use trail for both Rainbow Falls and the Raymond Fisher Campground. At the T-intersection, turn right and follow the orange blazes along the gravel path for approximately 40 minutes until you leave Gorges State Park and pass into the Pisgah National Forest. From there, follow the dirt trail for another 15 minutes. Cross through a medium-sized feeder stream and by a primitive campsite; from there, it is about 20 minutes to the top of Rainbow Falls ; take the right fork for a 5-minute hike up to Turtleback Falls.

Turtleback Falls is a popular place for swimming and people frequently slide over the falls into the Chug Hole during low water; however, the currents can be dangerous in higher flows and people have drowned at Turtleback, or have been swept downriver and over 125' Rainbow Falls.

Nearby waterfalls[edit]

  • Little Falls - located on private property upstream from Drift Falls
  • Narrows Falls - located in a gated community upstream from Drift Falls
  • Rock House Falls - 55-ft falls located on private property on Burlingame Creek, a tributary of the Horsepasture River
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Drift Falls
  • Stairway Falls
  • Sidepocket Falls
  • Windy Falls


External links[edit]