Judaculla Rock Historic Site

Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Kid-Friendly, Museums & Historic Sites, Outdoor Fun


  •  Ancient "petroglyph" dating back 2,00 - 3,000 years old carved in soapstone boulder 
  •  Pre-dating back before the Cherokee indians inhabited this area 
  •  Many theories behind what/who carved the markings into the large soapstone boulder
  •  We recommend visiting this area in the evening or early morning for a unique setting
  •  Strange carvings of all different shapes & sizes make your mind wonder and churn as to the possibilities 

The Local Scoop

Judaculla Rock is a highly recommended historic site to visit. We would recommend this site to the entire family.  The site focuses on a large soapstone that juts out of the earth near the banks of Caney Fork.  It won't seem like much when you pull up to the dead end of Judaculla Road, but what you will see on the opposing side of the rock's face is really something special. Take the few steps leading down from the dead end and small parking area through some grass and around to the front of the rock.  What you will see on the rock will not jump out at you, but take a closer look (without climbing on the rock of course) at the indentions and carvings.  Have a better look at the rock when all of the markings were filled with chalk to make them stand out in this 1930's photo.  The markings are very elaborate and to consider that they are 2 - 3 thousand years old is incredible. Even the Cherokee Indians believe this site pre-dates their inhabitance in this area of Caney Fork, just outside of Tuckasegee.
One of the most popular and well known legends about this rock comes from the Cherokee people. It's a story of a slant-eyed monster named "Tsul'kalu'." Tsul'kalu' was considered a great warrior and hunter. Over the years the name Tsul'kalu' has evolved into "Judaculla." It is said that Judaculla lived high atop the Balsam Mountains of the Blue Ridge. Found high atop the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 422.4 you can find "Devil's Courthouse", where the Cherokee believe is where Judaculla held his "court." This large rock outcropping looks over the Caney Fork Valley below and is also believed in Cherokee lore that Judaculla jumped from his high mountain perch down into the Caney Fork area, all while scratching the markings you can see today in Judaculla Rock with his 7-fingered hands.
Believe what you will, but the possibilities are many and no one has a definite answer as to how these ancient markings got here. This is a great area for the entire family and is fairly easy to find per my local directions. Be sure to bring your kids, cameras and imaginations!

The Local Directions

From Cullowhee, NC & Western Carolina University travel South (towards Cashiers) on N.C. Hwy 107 for 3.8 miles to "Caney Fork Road" on your left. Continue on Caney Fork Road for 2.6 miles to Judaculla Road on your left. Take Judaculla Road for 0.5 mile to small parking area at the dead end for Judaculla Rock, located below the road.

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Difficulty Levels

  • Hike1What's this?
35.3009, -83.1099
Easy via NC Hwy-107/
Caney Fork Rd/
& Judaculla Road
Hike Distance
0.1 mile
Judaculla Road
Tuckasegee, NC 28783
Nearest City
Jackson County
Distance From
Cullowhee, 6.9 miles
Western Carolina Univ.,
6.9 miles