Rufus Morgan Falls

Height: 65 feet
Trail Type: Dirt
Hike Distance: 1 mile round trip
Difficulty: 6
Beauty: 3


Rufus Morgan Falls is named for the beloved poet, priest, and conservationist who lived in the area for nearly 100 years. In addition to all of the other work he did, he was also responsible for single-handedly maintaining a 50-mile portion of the nearby Appalachian Trail. Just to make you feel even worse about yourself, he climbed the 6,594-foot Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 192 times during his life, with his last trek coming at age 92.

If you visit the falls during wildflower season, you’ll be treated to a plethora of color and variety. Any other time of year, this is a pretty standard hike to a waterfall. The falls slide down an open, somewhat jagged rock face. On my visit there were several fallen logs on the falls, and the angle from which to view the falls doesn’t make photographing it very easy.


From the intersection where US 64 continues west and US 441/US 23 go south, continue on US 64 west for 3.7 miles and turn right onto Patton Road. From there, take the very next left onto Wayah Road. Drive 6.4 miles to the gravel FR 388. Drive another 2 miles to the obvious parking area on the right.

Hike Description:

The trail starts out with a couple of switchbacks up the ridge before leveling out and making a couple of creek crossings. There’s a large swath of exposed rock to cross about halfway up, which could be difficult if it’s wet. Otherwise, you won’t have a problem getting to the falls.

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