Dry Falls (aka Upper Cullasaja Falls)
Located near Highlands, NC, Dry Falls is one waterfall that catches everyone’s attention. Not only is it outstandingly beautiful, the name “Dry Falls” often makes people curious as to the origin of the name. In reality, the name Dry Falls actually refers to the fact that you can stand behind this waterfall and still remain dry (unless it is extremely high water flow..then apparently it is a different story!)
The word “cullasaja” is a distorted Cherokee word for honey locust place (the actual Cherokee word is Kaulsetsiyi). The honey locust held an important role for the Cherokees, as the wood was often used for making bows, and the flesh in the locust pods was used as a sweetener.
Dry Falls is on the Cullasaja River, and part of a series of falls in the Nantahala National Forest that also include Bridal Veil, Quarry Falls, and Cullasaja. Bridal Veil (there are two in NC) is only a mile away. This waterfall is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byways.
In searching information on this waterfall, I found it was another that has conflicting heights mentioned..some list it as 80 feet, some as 65 feet., and other sites list it somewhere in between, depending on what exact area is used to measure..the viewing area was upgraded a few years ago, and now has bathroom facilities, along with improved parking. There is also a viewing platform that Stay and Play in the Smokies mentions is a plus for disabled and can accommodate a wheelchair. The hike to the falls is listed as paved, and only .2 of a mile on a paved path.
Dry Falls can be found about three miles north of Highlands, on Highway 64.
Please see Play and Stay in the Smokies for very clear directions.