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Wild Dam Waterfall Loop

Total Distance :: 87.7 Miles

Driving Time :: 2 Hours, 30 Minutes minimum, at least 1/2 day to see it right

Ride Summary :

Wild - Non-stop turns and curves that will thrill. Dams - You’ll cross several. Waterfalls - Some of the best of the many roadside waterfalls in the area. This is a comfortable ride with challenging curves for pros.

Ride Description

This outstanding loop ride starts and returns to the Hampton Inn & Suites in Sapphire, NC and as soon as you roll out of the parking lot you’re already on a great section of US 64. Getting an early start will help you beat the traffic on this popular and scenic road.

Follow US 64 East as it winds and twists, watching for the overlook on a sharp curve near Whiteside Mountain. From here, you can see more than a dozen awesome granite cliff faces which roll to the horizon. About 10 miles out, you’ll cross the dam below Lake Toxaway. The best view of Toxaway Falls is from the parking lot near a real estate office / restaurant. Continue east, passing by NC 281 north and south (don’t worry we’ll pick up the best sections of this great road soon). Say goodbye to the traffic 15 miles out when you turn north onto Silversteen Road at the Citgo Station.

The “15mph for next 6 miles” sign tells you it’s time to get your game on. Silversteen Road is going to hold your attention and you’d better be ready for some of the best and most challenging curves you’ll find anywhere. Watch out for the sneaky descending radius curves that shut down on you. Also be wary of a little gravel in the road where unpaved driveways and side roads connect.

About 6 miles into Silversteen road, it curves back on itself sharply when it reaches Macedonia Church Road. The turn is so sharp, Silversteen Road looks like it’s another intersecting road, and it’s far too easy to just continue onto Macedonia Church Road. Watch for this sharp left turn which gives the impression you’re turning onto a new road rather than continuing on Silversteen Road. It’s a tricky little devil!

Silversteen Road will end when it intersects NC 281 (Canada Road). Turn Right (north) onto Canada Road. Take a minute or two to get a feel for the surface on NC 281. This rugged section was first paved only a couple years back, and the tar&chip surface is still a bit loose in places. Keep your eyes open for spots where the gravel still accumulates. It quickly gets better as you climb north to Little Canada. Cross the dam at the Wolf Creek Reservoir, then enjoy a series of sweeping downhill turns as you roll down to Tuckaseegee.

Turn left (south) on NC 107. The gas station near this intersection is a good spot for a break. You’ll find there’s a bit of traffic on NC 107, but it has some nice curves and a few scenic spots along the way, and you won’t be on it long. Watch for the right turn onto Pine Creek Road when you reach the top of a long straight uphill section of NC 107. Be wary, there’s usually gravel in the sharp turn-off onto Pine Creek Road.

Pine Creek Road starts out tight and twisty, then it crosses the dam at the Thorpe Reservoir and curves along the edge of the large lake. Follow it around the lake, then fork right to stay on Pine Creek Road when it meets Norton Road. Pine Creek Road stays fairly relaxed as it courses through a high mountain plateau, and then becomes Walnut Creek Road when it starts to plunge down through a series of hairpin curves and the fun begins anew. Be alert, there is at least one single lane bridge with a sharp entry / exit. Walnut Creek Road will end when it meets US 64.

US 64 will take us back to the Hampton Inn & Suites in Sapphire on one of the most scenic rides through the Cullasaja River Gorge. Accept the fact there’s going to be traffic as so many are drawn to the spectacular sights, lament the fact this could be such an outstanding and challenging ride at speed. Be alert on this narrow, twisty road which is so tight in places large vehicles and trucks must cross into your lane! The reward is several outstanding roadside waterfalls.

The first, largest, and most dramatic waterfall you’ll come to is Cullasaja Falls. It’s in a tight series of curves with limited sight, the pull out is small, so if you’re gonna stop, make your move quickly. Be bold when leaving as well as approaching traffic can’t see you around the bend. The next waterfall is Dry Falls. You won’t see it from the road. There is a well marked paved parking area on the right to pull in to. It’s another large waterfall where you can walk behind it in a large cavern.

Quarry Falls, a series of small cascades, has a long paved pull out along the road on a sweeping curve. Just before you reach Highlands, Bridal Veil Falls is the only waterfall on the left side of the road. In dry periods it can be little more than a trickle, but when it’s running well, you can pull your bike or car behind it on a paved loop for a unique photo.

Go into Highlands to the traffic light. Turn left to stay on US 64 east and exit town. Follow US 64 East passing through Cashiers to return to motorcycle-friendly lodging at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Sapphire.

Interactive Map

To use the interactive map, you can click on any of the waypoints for more information (see key below map for details on the different waypoint icon types). You can also click on the route segments for detailed directions. Since we use the Google Maps interface, you can pan and zoom easily. Also, you can drag the "Person Icon" above the zoom bar to the route for a 360° tour using Google Maps Streetview system.

Map Key: Start of Ride Start of Ride Intersection Marker Intersection Marker Scenic Point Scenic Point End of Ride End of Ride

Elevation Profile

Key numbers correspond to mile points as listed in the Mile by Mile Directions below.
Wild Dam Waterfall Loop Elevation Profile

Elevation Information

  • Lowest Point: 2500'
  • Highest Point: 4307'
  • Average Elevation: 3398'

Grade Information

  • Max Uphill Grade: 46.8%
  • Max Downhill Grade: -34.8%
  • Avg Grade: 4.1%

Mile by Mile Directions

  • Mile 0 :: Start at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Sapphire. Turn left onto US 64 to begin this ride.
  • Mile 5.8 :: Overlook on US 64
  • Mile 10 :: Cross the Dam / Waterfall at Toxaway. Turn left onto NC 281 (Canada Road)
  • Mile 15 :: Citgo Station at Siversteen Road - turn north onto Silversteen Road
  • Mile 20.7 :: Tricky intersection with Macedonia Church Road - Turn left to continue on Silversteen Road
  • Mile 22.8 :: Turn right onto NC 281 north (Canada Road)
  • Mile 30.2 :: Cross Dam at Wolf Creek reservoir
  • Mile 43.1 :: Turn left onto NC 107 at Tuckaseegee. (gas station here)
  • Mile 51.4 :: Turn right onto Pine Creek Road at top of climb
  • Mile 52.8 :: Cross the Dam at the Thorpe Reservoir on Pine Creek Road
  • Mile 55.4 :: Fork right at junction with Norton Road to stay on Pine Creek Road
  • Mile 58.3 :: Pine Creek Road becomes Walnut Creek Road
  • Mile 64.2 :: Walnut Creek Road meets US 64, turn left (east)
  • Mile 66 (+/-) :: Cullasaja Falls
  • Mile 67.4 (+/-) :: Dry Falls
  • Mile 70.3 (+/-) :: Quarry Falls
  • Mile 72.3 (+/-) :: Bridal Veil Falls
  • Mile 75.3 :: Highlands - Turn left at traffic light to stay on US 64 east
  • Mile 85.5 :: Cashiers
  • Mile 87.7 :: End of loop ride, Hampton Inn & Suites, Sapphire 


American Rides MapsThis motorcycle ride was contributed by Wayne Busch from America Rides Maps. It is one of many great rides featured in the Blue Ridge Parkway Series of Motorcycle Maps. You may purchase this map and other America Rides Maps at the Virtual Blue Ridge Bookstore.