Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) has been hiking for eight years on the wonderful mountain trails of North Carolina and South Carolina.
An Introduction to the DuPont State Forest
In the last few years there have been improvements to the Hooker Falls trailhead. There is now a brand new building with plenty of flush toilets and a brand new bridge which allows you to walk over the river to get on the trail (in the past you had to climb over guard rails and go under a bridge to get to trail). DuPont State Forest is a 10,000+ acre tract located near Brevard, NC. This forest was used to shoot scenes from the box office hit The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans and has a few spectacular waterfalls to behold (see photos below featuring the Bridal Veil Falls - behind this waterfall, Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe shot a scene for the movie).
The name of this state forest comes from the company DuPont, which arranged the sale of the original 7,600 acres to the state in 1996. In 2000 it was expanded by two property additions which included some spectacular waterfalls. Some parts of the forest formerly contained a manufacturing facility for the production of X-ray film.
I hold in my hand an official trail map that shows all the trails in the forest. At this time, there are currently 91 named trails you can hike. This number could change in the future. It is like a spaghetti bowl since there are many trails that are "unmaintained" that are not listed on the map.
In this article, you'll learn about:
- The many beautiful waterfalls at DuPont
- Different hiking trails
- Hiking safety tips
- The history of DuPont forest
- The different movies that have been filmed here
Scenes Along the Waterfall Trail
You really should arrive early if you plan to hike the popular waterfall trail. This trail runs along Hooker Falls, High Falls, and Triple Falls. The Hooker Falls parking lot connects the trail all the way to the Visitor Center. You can park at either Hooker Falls parking lot or the Visitor Center parking lot. Both sites have flush toilets and both sites will allow access to the waterfall trail and Bridal Veil Falls. Keep in mind if you hike from the Hooker Falls parking area to Bridal Veil Falls, it will be an out-and-back hike of about 7 miles. Take plenty of water and snacks with you on the trail. If you decide not to do that many miles, there is a picnic area in front of High Falls where you can sit and have a picnic lunch.
Hooker Falls is an easy .25 mile walk from the Hooker Falls parking area. It drops about 12 feet into Cascade Lake. It has become a very popular swimming hole; however no lifeguards are on duty, so be aware that swimming is at your own risk. This waterfall is accessible at the Hooker Falls parking lot off Staton Road. It is a short trail and has a slight incline coming back to the parking lot.
Triple Falls has three distinct cascades which total about 120 feet vertical drop. Scenes from The Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans were filmed here. Triple Falls is about a 30-minute walk from the High Falls parking area and can also be reached from the Hooker Falls parking area.
There is one steep hill to climb before getting to the waterfall. Hiking poles would be helpful, but many people can climb okay without them.
There is a scene in the movie The Hunger Games where the actress was running across a waterfall—this was Triple Falls. Do Not Try This Yourself. There were wooden planks laid down and the actress had wires on her in case she slipped.
High Falls is the tallest of the Little River falls cascading down 120 feet of solid granite. It can be viewed from the High Falls Trail or from a picnic shelter. Built on the site of the old Buck Forest Hunt Club lodge, High Falls is about a 15-minute walk from the High Falls access area. Follow the signs from the Visitor Center.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls drops about eight feet off an overhanging ledge, then the water sheets down a long, inclined plane of granite. It is a longer hike of 2.3 miles from the Fawn Lake Access area, or 2.5 miles from the High Falls access area.
Take Conservation Trail from the covered bridge to access this waterfall. It is a "carriage trail" shared with horses. This trail is a wide gravel trail with limited tree coverage, so in the summer it gets hot.
Out of all the trails mentioned here, this one may be the hot, dry, boring trail compared to the others; however, the Bridal Veil Falls is worth it!
DuPont State Forest Management
Nearly 80 miles of trails and roads run through this forest. It is widely used for many recreational activities, including mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, wading, kayaking, and where permitted, swimming.
There are several magnificent waterfalls to view on these trails such as Bridal Veil Falls, Corn Mill Shoals, High Falls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and Fawn Lake. The paved and state gravel roads are public roadways and are open to motorized traffic. Many of these roads have been repaired recently by volunteers to minimize soil erosion.
This forest is registered as N.C. Game Lands. Hunting is by special permit only, issued by a permit agent of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Fishing is permitted with a valid N.C. Fishing license. Streams are classified as “wild trout waters”.
Safety Points to Remember When Hiking
- Be very careful near waterfalls! Rocks are very slippery. People die every year at waterfalls in this area.
- Do not block gated entrances with your car.
- Do not cross the marked boundary of DuPont State Forest. Do not enter AGFA property.
- Wear bright colors during hunting season.
- The longer trails are for experienced hikers with topo maps.
- There are approximately 80 miles of trails and dirt roads in this area; take proper precautions in case you get lost.
Bridal Veil Falls
Extreme caution must be used around the waterfalls. The waterfalls are very beautiful to see but they can be very dangerous. People have slipped on wet rocks above and around the waterfall areas and fell to their deaths.
Children should be constantly supervised when visiting the waterfalls and pets should not be allowed to roam freely. The slickness of the rocks and the strong flow of water are easy to underestimate. Always stay on the marked trails and enjoy the scene from the overlooks.
Out of all the waterfalls at DuPont, this one is probably the most unique. Behind the flowing water is an area where you can actually walk behind the flowing water. This is where a scene from The Last of the Mohicans was filmed.
Extreme caution should be used when attempting to cross wet rocks to get there. The hiking trail leading to this waterfall (Conservation Road) is flat and gravel and very easy to walk on. See video footage below of the flowing water!
The AGFA Corporation owns the land that sits north of this waterfall. The Little River flows upstream and downstream through the forest, including the land that belongs to AGFA.
Video Footage of the Bridal Veil Falls
Filming The Hunger Games and other Major Motion Pictures
Many scenes from the movie The Hunger Games were shot in DuPont State Forest. Triple Falls is the location where the trees shoot out fire during the war games.
This forest is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Western North Carolina, including Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Hooker Falls.
Fans of The Hunger Games will flock to DuPont State Forest to see the lush forest and spectacular waterfalls. The film was also shot in other nearby cities of Asheville, Shelby, and Charlotte. Other films shot in this forest include The Last of the Mohicans, and Max (released in summer 2015).
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Michelle Dee
Foal Hossain from Bangladesh on October 24, 2012:
very informative.................i am very interesting....
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 24, 2012:
Hello MHatter99 -- yes this was my first waterfall hike and it was awesome. Thanks for reading and comment. I will most likely do this trail again if I have the chance!
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 23, 2012:
Thank you for the tour and the great pictures, It appears we may like similar things. Woods and water.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 23, 2012:
Thanks Billy, this is definitely one cool place to visit. It's different in that it has a high number of trails, as well as several spectacular waterfalls. People can wade at the base of these waterfalls, and some allow swimming, but you must find the right trail to get to the base -- i.e. no climbing down from the overlook because people have been killed that way. These photos are showing only 3 of the waterfalls.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2012:
What a great park! Those waterfalls are breathtaking, and that was cool trivia about the two movies being shot there. Great hub!