Park Safety and Respect

Tab/Accordion Items

Stay on designated trails
Stay on developed trails and don't stray from observation decks and platforms.


Follow park rules and pay attention to warning signs
Pay attention to the warning signs and rules you see posted near waterfalls.


Stay off rocks
Never climb on or around waterfalls. Rocks are more slippery than they look.


  • Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools. Rocks and logs are often beneath the surface of the water but difficult to see. Currents caused by a waterfall can drag and keep you underwater.
  • Watch children carefully. Children should always be under the immediate supervision of adults when visiting any waterfalls. Pets should also be supervised. They can easily underestimate the slickness of rocks and the flow of water.


Skip the unsafe selfies
Never play in the stream or river above a waterfall. You can easily be swept over the falls by currents. Do not try to take photos or selfies at the top of a waterfall! People lose their footing while paying attention to their photo setup and fall over.


  • Slippery rocks and mud are common along trails as you near waterfalls. Use extra caution on the trail as you approach waterfalls.
  • Since many waterfalls are in remote areas, a medical rescue could take hours.
  • Wear hiking shoes with a good grip. Flip flops and sandals make you particularly vulnerable to slipping or injuring yourself.
  • Bring a picnic and plenty of water. Reaching some waterfalls in your state parks require a challenging hike!
  • Plan ahead to ensure you will be back to your campsite or parking area before sunset.
  • Winter is an exceptional time to visit waterfalls in North Carolina state parks, as trees drop their leaves and reveal sweeping views. Watch for icy patches along the trail and overlook areas from the mist of the waterfalls.


Make wonderful waterfall memories and be responsible
Make wonderful waterfall memories and be responsible!

North Carolina State Parks welcomes your pets, but please follow these rules to create a safe and enjoyable environment for you, your pet, and other park visitors.

  • Pets must be on an attended leash at all times. The leash must be no longer than 6 feet.

    • Pet owners who do not have their pets on a leash will receive a fine.
  • You must pick up after your pet. Pet waste is not fertilizer and should not be left on the ground. It is toxic and harmful to plants and other animals in the park.
    • Pet waste can also transmit disease and puts other park visitors at risk.
  • Properly dispose of pet waste in garbage bins. Do not throw waste bags in the woods or leave them on the ground.
  • You must keep constant control of pets. Unruly or aggressive pets may be asked to leave the state park.
  • Stay on pedestrian trails. Some areas of the park are off-limits to pets, such as bathhouses and swimming areas.
  • Pets are prohibited from entering any building.
  • Some campgrounds allow pets. Please contact the park office prior to your visit to ensure that your pet is allowed to go camping with you. Pets must be confined to the owner's tent or vehicle overnight during quiet hours.


Waterfall Safety

Don't be the next victim. Watch this video before you visit waterfalls.

This message is brought to you by Transylvania County Tourism, Transylvania County Emergency Management Services, the U.S. Forest Service, the North Carolina Forest Service, and the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.