If you prefer to combine views of cascading water with a good, solid walk through the woods, head to Transylvania County. This is the Land of Waterfalls — there are at least 250 of ’em here. About 12 miles southeast of Brevard in the DuPont State Forest, a strategic combination of trails will lead you to three of the most prized. Park at the Hooker Falls lot on Staton Road, and walk a quarter-mile on the gravel path. Here, the Little River tumbles over a wide band of rocks, creating Hooker Falls. (You may have seen Daniel Day-Lewis and his comrades barrel over it in canoes in The Last of the Mohicans.) Return to Staton Road and cross the pedestrian bridge to the trail that runs alongside the river. A half-mile trail takes you to the top of Triple Falls, a mighty trilevel tract. These woods are popular in Hollywood: Katniss Everdeen runs across the top of the falls in The Hunger Games. For a better view, choose between two overlooks: one at the base, and one a little higher, affording an entire view of the falls. The climb up and out should leave you sufficiently warmed up for the next leg of your journey. Continue following the Triple Falls Trail upstream, and then make a left on the High Falls Trail. A climb up the slope drops you at the bottom of a 125-foot-tall rock face, the Little River coursing over it to create High Falls. Continue up to the overlook — it’s a steep ascent, but well worth it for a bird’s-eye view.
If even that sounds too civilized, leave the park and drive west on Greenville Highway. Take U.S. Highway 64 South, then Highway 215 North until you reach Macedonia Church Road. Turn left, drive a little more than half a mile, and then roll down your window and start listening for rushing water. There are no signs to point you to Lemon Falls, and no manicured trail. You’ll have to shimmy down the steep path on your rear end, then cross moss-covered boulders to the streambed to get there. It’s not a trek for the faint of heart, but the prize — this tri-tier beauty resembles a wedding cake — is worth the effort.