If you are heading in on I-40 West go north on NC 181 near Morganton. You will see a sign for the falls just before mile post #22. The hike is loop about 2 miles that begins on either side of the parking area.
The coolest part of this hike is standing on top of the falls. The view here is amazing and it only takes about 15 minutes to get to. To hike down and see the lower sections you must first rock hop the creek and pick up the trail heading down the mountain. Not a hard task, but a little trickier holding a dog, that is afraid of the water, in my arms.
As you hike down the mountain look for scramble paths down to the creek for different views of the waterfall. This part of the waterfall was really cool although the picture isn't that great. There was a huge rock right beside the falls to sit and watch the falls. Here is a video I shot from here.