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,


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