A moderate 1 mile loop trail with the 60ft Morgan Rufus Falls as the highlight.
Inside the Nantahala National Forest of Western North Carolina is the easy to reach 60ft waterfall – Rufus Morgan Falls. The falls are accessed via a moderate 1 mile loop trail that is a wonderful walk through the forest. Depending on the time of year you visit Rufus Morgan Falls, you may also be treated to a number of wildflowers that typically bloom in April and May, or the rhododendron and mountain laurel that bloom in May and June. Regardless of when you visit, Rufus Morgan Falls is worth the trip and is a beautiful waterfall to visit.
The trailhead to Rufus Morgan Falls is located off the forest road 388 which is an unpaved gravel road. The road is generally in good condition but is subject to seasonal restrictions and usually gated during the winter months. The trailhead is only 2 miles up the forest road and is well marked at the trailhead but not marked on the turnoff to the forest road. If you approach from Franklin, the turnoff for FR388 is about 6 and 1/2 miles up Wayah Road. Rufus Morgan Falls is only about 30 minutes from Franklin North Carolina. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
As stated earlier, the hike to the falls is about 1 mile long and is a nicely blue blazed loop trail. It starts at the parking area just next to the sign and returns on the other side of the creek about 100ft up the road. You could hike either way but most people start from the parking area.
It is mostly uphill to the falls although the incline isn’t too difficult overall. The trail is very easy to follow although there is a spot near the beginning section where the trail seems to split. The trail to the falls cuts to the right and continues up the hill. The false trail leading straight doesn’t really lead to anything and fades away.
The trail will continue to work its way up the mountain as you walk through a beautiful section of the forest. Eventually the trail crosses over the Left Prong Rough Fork which is the creek that forms Rufus Morgan Falls. From here you will parallel the creek upstream and pass by a nice cascade that is just downstream from the Falls. You might even catch a glimpse of Rufus Morgan Falls upstream through the trees.
Just after this, there will be a very short spur trail on the right that leads to the base of the 60ft Rufus Morgan Falls. It is a wonderfully loud waterfall as the water cascades down the rock face that forms the falls. The viewing area isn’t huge but should be large enough for your typical number of visitors; although the day we visited Rufus Morgan Falls we had it all to ourselves. It is a great waterfall to visit anytime of the year.
To hike back to the parking area, you can either return the way you came or go right at the trail and continue the loop. It’s about equal distance either way. The trail will work its way down the mountain, crossing a few small creeks, and ending up at the forest road about 100ft from the parking area.