A Family Trip To Rufus Morgan Falls

Rufus Morgan SignPack a lunch. Pack the kids. It’s time for a fun, family outing.

And since we’re going to Rufus Morgan falls, you better pack some extra clothes. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re going to get wet. And that’s OK! This trip is all about water…lots of water.


A great family hike needs to have a great destination; a fun destination; a destination that will hold a kid’s attention and motivate them to keep walking, not whining.

Rufus Morgan Falls offers all this with a relatively easy hike for most family members. It’s only a half mile walk to the falls and the gentle switchbacks make the small elevation gain tolerable.

The Bridge - in the middle of the stream!

The Bridge – in the middle of the stream!

This is what the path looks like in April.

This is what the path looks like in April.

The hardest part for younger children, 5 years old and upward, will be the stream crossings. Little legs may find it hard to step from one stone to the next. But, remember, that’s why we brought a change of clothes. And, besides, you know how kids, water and mud mix. The three are natural friends.

In the spring, the walk is punctuated by many wild flowers blooming along the path. In summer, with the heavy canopy, this walk offers a cool alternative on a hot day. And in the fall, the colorful foliage will make you feel as though it’s a completely different place.

White Flowers

Yellow FlowerAll the seasons are wonderful, but spring generally provides the best view of the falls. There’s so much water coming down the mountain in spring that sometimes you can’t tell the difference between the path and the stream.

But you won’t mind. The roar of the falls and the enticing build up cascading water beckons you onward, cheerfully wooing children with plenty of little waterfalls along the way; each one getting bigger and more dramatic as you go until…WOW!…you’re standing under one of the tallest waterfalls in the Nantahala Mountains.

One of the lower falls that entices you to keep going.

One of the lower falls.

And finally, you reach Rufus Morgan Falls!

And finally, you reach Rufus Morgan Falls!

Anywhere along the way you can let your little ones play in the stream or explore around the rocks. And, depending on how warm it is, you might like to play too.

The trail to Rufus Morgan Falls is a great introduction for children to “backcountry” hiking. It’s short and not too difficult and can be used as a stepping stone to more challenging hikes.

Look closely…and you will see our dog.

Rufus Morgan Falls Trail is marked as 27. (Trails Illustrated Map, National Geographic)

Rufus Morgan Falls Trail is marked as 27. (Trails Illustrated Map, National Geographic)

And be sure you have your camera! There will be plenty of photo ops. Just think how much Grandma would love to have a picture of your kids in front of a big waterfall.

When you’re ready to go, you can complete the mile long loop by continuing on the trail. It’s an easy downhill walk which will lead you right back at the trailhead.

See ya’ on the trail,

Trail at a glance
Mileage: 1 mile (loop)
Elevation change: 310 ft
Water sources: Stream/Spring
Trailhead: Take Wayah Road west out of Franklin, NC. Turn left on FS Road 388. Drive 2.1 miles to trailhead. This road is closed from the first working day after New Years until April 1st.

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