Donna and I decided to do a short hike while we were in Franklin, NC. She found information about Rufus Morgan Falls, so that’s where we decided to go.

First of all – who is Rufus Morgan? Rufus was an Episcopal priest who was born in Franklin, N.C. and always considered the Smoky Mountains his home.  He completed high school in Waynesville, N.C.; graduated from the University of North Carolina; and received his theological education at General Theological Seminary in New York City, and Columbia University.  His ministry included St. Peter’s in New York City, Penland School of Handicrafts, Penland, North Carolina; several small churches in South Carolina; and, 11 small churches in western North Carolina.

Rufus helped build St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Cherokee, NC.  The church has a website that includes a biography of Rufus — who was known as “Moses of the Mountains.”   He also was active in several hiking clubs and was instrumental in helping establish the Appalachian Trail in the Southern Appalachians.

Rufus Morgan in 1969

Rufus Morgan Falls (aka Rough Fork Falls) emerges from a rhododendron thicket following a moderate .5-mile hike along the Rufus Morgan Trail. The narrow but beautiful trail ascends (sometimes steeply) for most of its way to the falls. In some portions, it literally clings to the mountainside. Don’t be fooled by the 10-foot slide (pictured below) that you encounter after .4-mile. To reach the main attraction, continue across the Rough Fork Creek and follow the trail steeply to the left. After a short distance, you should turn sharply to the right to ascend to the falls.

Rough Fork Creek Crossing

When you get to the Falls, relax and enjoy the cool breeze that comes off it.

To get to the Falls, follow US 64 until you see signs to Wayah Bald. After .2 mile, turn left at a gas station onto State Route 1310 (Wayah Road). Follow for 6.5 miles, then turn left onto Forest Service road 388 and follow for two miles to a pullout on the right.

Forest Service Road 388
Parking Area

After you do the hike, go to the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in Franklin and get a sampler. We bought a 6-pack of their Wesser Evil Porter, which I thought was very, very good. It gets 4.5 stars on Beer Advocate.

Lazy Hiker Brewing Company Store Front