Soco Falls is a hidden gem, that unfortunately many people miss. This double waterfall is located between Cherokee NC and Maggie Valley NC along Highway 19. The falls are gorgeous, and offer a number of smaller waterfalls both above and below the main falls to view and enjoy.
Soco Falls has a small parking, that frankly looks more like a small pull over than a parking lot. Fortunately, this isn’t a very busy waterfall, and we’ve never personally seen the parking lot completely full, even during the busy seasons. The parking lot is easy to miss, so don’t be discouraged if you pass it the first time.
Once parked, the trail begins between the guard rail and metal fence, where the trail will switch back and take you down the falls. The trail is a little rough, but manageable. It definitely needs some maintenance work done.
After following down the short trail, you’ll enter onto a wooden deck observation deck that was built in 2008. If you head to the right, all the way down, you’ll get a really gorgeous view of the more than 50 foot tall falls. You can mainly see the taller of the two falls from this location, but you can also see the secondary falls as well, especially in the winter and spring. See the photo below, which was taken from this location.
Just before the deck, there is another trail off to the left. If you head down this small trail, you’ll gain access to some smaller falls above the main falls. Just be careful to not get to close to the top of the falls, it’s a long drop and the rocks are very slippery! People have died here due to getting too close to the edge, and recently as well, a lady fell to her death here in 2013.
Most people view the falls from the observation deck. But if you head to the left of the deck, you’ll notice some climbing rope attached to trees. If you’re adventurous, you can climb down to the bottom of the falls for more photo opportunities and a better view of both falls. This is how we took the very first photo in this article. The area below the falls offers the best view of the twin falls. If you do decide to go this route, be very careful, as it’s very steep and slippery. This route is not for everyone, so please use your best judgement. If you don’t think you can make it, don’t go.
Soco Gap, for which the falls is named, is located just up US19 a bit near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Soco Gap was the main entrance, and guard station for the Cherokee Nation. Soco Gap was often used by the Cherokee as an ambush location. The falls were a popular hunting area for the Cherokee.
Here’s a short video of the falls.