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Cullasaja River Gorge
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Cullasaja Falls

The Cullasaja River Gorge offers a spectacular scenic drive along the Waterfall Byway between the towns of Franklin and Highlands, North Carolina.

The fast-moving Cullasaja River tumbles down three major waterfalls alongside the 61-mile road that winds through the Nantahala National Forest. Visitors can drive their vehicles beneath the 120-foot Bridal Veil Falls and walk behind the roaring water at Dry Falls. The tallest falls are the Cullasaja Falls, which drop 250 feet.

Cullasaja means “honey locust place” in the Cherokee language. The gorge is part of the trail followed by Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1540.

The Eastern Continental Divide runs through the town of Highlands. In many places along this divide, waters run eastward to the Atlantic only a few feet from waters headed westward toward the Gulf of Mexico. Water in the Cullasaja River is bound for the Gulf of Mexico.

Admission Fees

Nominal parking fees are charged in some places.


The gorge and its waterfalls can be accessed along US Highway 64/State Road 28 between Highlands and Franklin, NC, which is part of the Waterfall Byway. The road is winding and narrow.

Franklin Chamber of Commerce
(828) 524-3161
Toll-free: 866-372-5546

Highlands Chamber of Commerce
(828) 526-5841

Highlands Visitors Center
(828) 526-2112

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