Standing Indian Basin and Backcountry Info Center

Standing Indian Sign DIRECTIONS: From the intersection of 441 and 64 W in Franklin, NC, drive west on 64/Murphy Road for 11.8 miles. Turn left on W. Old Murphy Road (sometimes shown on maps as Allison Creek Rd). Drive 1.9 miles and turn right on Forest Service Road 67. Drive an additional 1.9 miles to the Standing Indian Campground or 2 miles to the Backcountry Information Center.

Located in the Nantahala Mountain Range of western North Carolina, the Standing Indian Basin offers a variety of outdoor activities, including day hiking, back packing, tent and trailer camping, horseback riding and much more.Infomation kiosk at the Backcountry Info Center, Standing Indian Basin

It’s a veritable outdoor paradise.

Unlimited Hiking Opportunities

Hiking trails in the Standing Indian Basin include:

Long Branch Trail (2.3 miles)
Lower Ridge Trail (4.1 miles)
Park Ridge Trail (3.7 miles)
Park Creek Trail (5.3 miles)
Park Creek-Park Ridge Loop (4.9 miles)
Kimsey Creek Trail (4.1 miles)
Bear Pen Gap Trail (2.5 miles)
Timber Ridge Trail (2.3 miles)
Mooney Falls (.2 miles)
Beech Gap Trail (2.9 miles)
Waslik Poplar Trail (0.7 miles)
Big Laurel Falls Trail (0.5 miles)
Appalachian Trail (2184 miles or 21 miles in and around Standing Indian)

Kimsey Crk SignSome people will use the campground as a base camp, taking day hikes on various trails. But you’re certainly not limited to this option.

Nearly all of the trails within Standing Indian either connect to the Appalachian Trail or to Forest Service Roads that can be used as connectors to other trails. This makes it easy to create loops of various lengths for long weekends or week long backpacking trips.

There is also an extensive system of horseback riding trails throughout Standing Indian that can be used by hikers as well.

For convenience, Long Branch, Lower Ridge, Park Ridge, Park Creek and Kimsey Creek Trail sign all originate from the Backcountry Info Center.

Unlimited Camping Opportunities

If you’re looking for great camping as you explore Standing Indian you have several options to choose from. There’s the main campground (fee area) available for tents and camper trailers, a secondary “primitive” campground area known as Hurricane about 2 miles past the Backcountry Info Center, numerous “pack in” campsites along the trail system, and four AT shelters (Standing Indian, Carter Gap, Long Branch and Rock Gap) along the perimeter of the Standing Indian Basin.

Kimsey Creek

Kimsey Creek

Water, Water Everywhere

One of the highlights of Standing Indian is water – water is everywhere. Being a geological “basin,” it’s a huge watershed for the Nantahala River with springs, branches, streams, cascading falls, deep water pools and raging rapids.

You’re never far from a source of water in Standing Indian, making it one of the most lush and biologically diverse ecosystems anywhere.

Upper Nantahala River

Upper Nantahala River

Standing Indian is amazing…and it’s worth the time it takes to visit.

Ever been there yourself? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.

See ya’ on the trail,

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.

The Bartram Trail: Wallace Branch to William’s Pulpit

Bartram View

View from William’s Pulpit

Trail at a glance
Mileage: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation change: 1000 ft in 2 miles
Water sources: Streams/Open water, Seasonal spring

Short on time, but still want to get a good hike in? I know the perfect trail for you.

Nestled in a rural residential community right on the edge of Franklin, NC, the Wallace Branch trailhead of the Bartram Trail offers a challenging hike with natural beauty you seldom see so close to a town.

William's Pulpit is right above the Bartram Trail insignia on the map.

William’s Pulpit is right above the Bartram Trail insignia on the map. (Trails Illustrated Map, National Geographic)

This section of the Bartram Trail will take you all the way up to Wayah Bald where it crosses the AT and continues onward toward Lake Nantahala – and beyond.

But we’re not going that far today. Today we’re going to William’s Pulpit, a 100′ long rock shelf with an amazing view of the southern Nantahala Mountain range.

Here are some highlights of what you can expect on your way to William’s Pulpit.

Wallace Branch is a fairly bold stream with several branches feeding into on it’s way down. And, fortunately, because of the steep terrain, there are waterfalls.

The first one is a short walk from the parking lot and it’s easy to get to. The second one? Well, it’s down in a ravine and let’s just say it’s best viewed from the trail. (Yes. I’m speaking from my own personal, hair raising experience.)Bartram Trail fallsWallace BranchThe Bartram Trail, marked by a yellow blaze, offers a vigorous climb with many scenic rewards along the way to William’s Pulpit.



Yellow Blaze



Bartram Trail green tunnel (Small)Pine cone

After a number of switch backs, steep climbs and gaps in the ridge, you’ll come to William’s Pulpit. It’s about 30 feet south of the main trail (to the left) and it’s designated by a prominent sign – miss the sign and you’ll be walking up hill all day.




The Pulpit




With a great view, the Pulpit is the perfect spot to rest before heading back down to your car.

To get to the Wallace Branch trailhead, take Sloan Road off of Hwy 64 West (just west of Franklin, NC). Turn left onto Old Murphy Road and a quick jog right onto Pressley Road. Stay on Pressley Road until it dead ends at the parking lot at Wallace Branch.






See ya’ on the trail,