chug hole

Turtleback Falls

Turtleback Falls, also called Umbrella Falls, is a waterfall in Western North Carolina, located near Brevard. The falls is located on the Horsepasture River. It is on Nantahala National Forest land just outside Gorges State Park.


The falls has a large, deep pool at the bottom commonly known as the "Chug Hole". The river flows over a large, sloping slab of rock before curving steeper and finally dropping into the pool. The appearance of the rock, similar to a turtle's shell, gives the falls its name.

Visiting the Falls

The falls is accessible by a short hike over an unofficial trail on Nantahala National Forest property. Visitors may park in the nearby parking area for Gorges State Park, then walk a short distance down NC 281 towards the river and pick up a trail to the falls which is on National Forest property.

From NC281, hike the moderate-difficulty trail approximately 0.75 miles to a T-intersection. Turn left, go several yards, and take one of the side trails to views of the falls.

Turtleback Falls is a popular place for swimming and people frequently slide over the falls into the Chug Hole during low water; however, the currents can be dangerous in higher flows and people have drowned at Turtleback, or have been swept downriver and over 125' Rainbow Falls. There have been many people killed this way.

Nearby Falls

  • Little Falls - located on private property upstream from Drift Falls
  • Narrows Falls - located in a gated community upstream from Drift Falls
  • Rock House Falls - 55-ft falls located on private property on Burlingame Creek, a tributary of the Horsepasture River
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Drift Falls
  • Stairway Falls
  • Sidepocket Falls
  • Windy Falls

External links

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