Rufus Morgan Trail & Waterfall

Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Kid-Friendly, Waterfalls, Hikes to waterfalls, Dog Friendly Hiking Trails, Outdoor Fun


  •  60 Ft. Cascading waterfall 
  •  Easy to Moderate Loop trail 1 mile in length 
  •  Well worn path with a 2 creek crossings via footbridge 
  •  Wildflowers are abundant in Mid to late April 
  •  Flame Azalea, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron from late May through late July
  •  Trail is peaceful and off the beaten path which might mean you'll have it to yourself 
  •  The trail is "Blue Blazed" (Blue rectangle painted on trees) 
  •  Suitable for all ages

The Local Scoop

We recommend the Rufus Morgan Trail to the entire family, including "Fido." We suggest that you come in mid to late April through early May for the best chance to see the floor of the forest covered with wildflowers. If you have dogs, please keep them on a leash and the two stream crossings will give them a chance to hydrate during the trek. Come in late May- July (at this elevation) to enjoy the multitude of blooming Rhododendrons, Flame Azeleas and Mountain Laruel. The entire right hand side of the falls are lined with Rhododendron. The last time I came was in late August and the blooming season had already passed. We recommend this trail because it is a great activity for the entire family. This trail is also sutiable for senior citizens that still get regular exercise. The trail is Blue Blazed and is well maintained. The falls are beautiful and the sounds of cascading water by the creek are both relaxing and rejuvenating to sit and listen to. This is a loop trail but you can simply hike to the falls and return the same way you came if you like. Either way leads back to the small parking area where you started.  Make a day out of it and see the nearby "Wayah Bald Lookout Tower" and have a nice picnic packed to enjoy at the tables found at the top.

The Local Directions

From intersection of U.S. Hwy-64 W and U.S. Hwy-23/441 North in Franklin take Hwy-64 W towards Murphy, NC for 3.8 miles to "Old Murphy Rd.(SR 1448) on your Right (Wayah Bald Sign). After you take the exit, continue down the hill for just under 0.2 miles to Wayah Road (SR 1310) on your Left ("Loafers Glory" gas station will be at the intersection of Old Murphy Rd. and Wayah Rd, so you'll know where to turn). Continue on Wayah Rd. for another 6.4 miles until you come to FR (forest road) #388 on your Left (you'll need to pay attention to your odometer because there are no signage for Rufus Morgan Falls or Trail, just a small brown sign with the numbers "388" on it). Continue on FR #388 for 2 miles to the parking area for "Rufus Morgan Trailhead". The road is gravel, but well maintained. 

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Difficulty Levels

  • Hike4What's this?
  • Waterfalls3What's this?
35.15398, -83.5446
Hike Distance
1-mile (roundtrip via Loop or Return)
Moderate via Wayah Road &
Forest Road #388
Nearest City
Macon County
Distance From
Franklin, 12.6 miles