Rufus Morgan Falls
aka Rough Fork Falls
Cedar Mountain, NC
This 50-foot slide (aka Rough Fork Falls) emerges from a rhododendron thicket following a moderate .5-mile hike along the Rufus Morgan Trail. Morgan was a longtime Appalachian Trail volunteer, and the trail to the falls is reminiscent of many portions of the AT in the southern Appalachian Mountains. 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. There are several water crossings that could be perilous under icy conditions and one potentially misleading old roadbed. 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 will come to a confusing intersection where you should turn sharply to the right (not continue straight ahead) to ascend to the falls.
Directions: From Franklin, follow US 64 west towards Hayesville/Murphy for four miles. Turn right onto State Route 1442 (Old Murphy Road). Look for signs to Wayah Bald. After .2 mile, turn left at the gas station onto State Route 1310 (Wayah Road). Follow for 6.5 miles, passing Arrowood Glade picnic area on the right. Turn left onto Forest Service road 388 and follow for two miles to a pullout on the right.
All photos © Allen Easler.