Cullasaja River Gorge
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 which winds through the Nantahala National Forest. Visitors can drive their vehicles beneath the 120-foot Bridal Veil Falls and can 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.
Hours of Operation
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
Highlands Chamber of Commerce
Highlands Visitors Center
Between Franklin & Highlands, NC
- Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum (4 miles)
The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum houses thousands of gems, minerals, fossils, Indian artifacts, and sea shells.
- Scottish Tartans Museum (4 miles)
The Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC displays over 500 tartans and serves as a Scottish Heritage Center for the region.
- Highlands Historic Village (10 miles)
Highlands Historic Village is comprised of three historic buildings, including the oldest existing home in Highlands, NC.