Driving to Dupont State Forest, you pass the continental divide and a sign that says "Welcome to the Land of Waterfalls." They're not kidding either. Dupont is a gem for day hikers and mountain bikers, offering much reward for little effort.
From Asheville, NC, Dupont is about a 40 minute drive. Once you get there, park at the Hooker Falls parking lot - from here you can access 3 iconic waterfalls.
1. HOOKER FALLS. A short hike from the car but the best place to swim. Go early in the day because this area gets crowded because of its accessibility.
2. TRIPLE FALLS. You'll gain some elevation getting to Triple Falls, but the destination is well worth it! The falls has three magnificent tiers and some of the best photo opportunities in the park. When the water is low enough, you can explore the rocks above and below the waterfalls. Fun fact: this is a filming location for the first Hunger Games film.
3. HIGH FALLS. Continue up the Triple Falls trail until you see high falls. This trail offers a distant view of the falls, but it is magnificent. For a closer look, a side trail leads to the base of the falls where you can explore the pools and rocks.
Mountain bikers will prefer to start their adventure at the Lake Imaging parking area. Use this Dupont Trail map to choose a loop connecting to the famous Ridgeline Trail, then enjoy the beautifully carved single track that takes you back to the parking lot. If the Ridgeline trail isn't enough of a rush, try the Reasonover Creek Trail or Cornmill Shoals. Both have adventurous creek crossings and white-knuckle single track.
There are few food options near Dupont, but right outside the park is a local watering hole called Cedar Mountain Canteen - perfect for a refreshing pint after a day on the trails. If you have the time, Sierra Nevada recently opened a 110 million dollar brewery in Mills River (about 30 minutes away). You can hop on a free tour or enjoy the local eats in their attached Restaurant.
After visiting Dupont, you'll see why we were compelled to make our Dupont State Forest tee shirt with an illustration of Triple Falls.
Contributed by @thelandmarkproject