It's all about the creek…and the mountains

Franklin – It’s Worth a Trip Over the Mountain

Franklin, NC – it’s worth a trip over the mountain!  Head on over to Franklin for a day filled with museums, gem-mining, shopping, waterfalls and more!  Located just 28 miles east of Casa on the Creek, Franklin offers something for just about everyone in the family, of all ages. 
                                                                             So let’s make a day of it!

franklin nc

If you’re an early riser, start with a morning visit to Rufus Morgan Falls and the approach to Franklin.  A short, easy-to-moderate trail one-mile (roundtrip) leads you up to this beautiful 60-foot waterfall in the Nantahala forest.  The trail is well-marked. From the gravel parking area, it’s easiest to hike up to the falls by going counter-clockwise on the trail. It’s a moderate, but short climb and doable for even the youngest kids.  And the views of the falls are the big pay-off, as the water tumbles down the rockface surrounded by huge rock outcroppings and nearby rivulets coming down off the mountains.

After your visit to the falls, continue on for several miles and visit Wayah Bald and the Wayah Fire Tower.  On the way, you can visit the Wilson Lick Ranger Station and learn more about the national forest, trails, wildlife and more. Continue another 3 miles to Wayah Bald which provides a beautiful view of Franklin. From the parking area, a short paved trail leads up to the historic Wayah Bald Fire Tower.  The roof structure of the tower was destroyed during the autumn wildfires of 2016 but has since been rebuilt. The tower offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

wayah fire tower

By now you’re probably ready for some lunch, so head over to the town of Franklin for your choice of cafes, bakeries, craft breweries and more.  Some of our favorites are:
Caffe Rel
Gazebo Creekside Cafe
Frogtown Market
Lazy Hiker Brewing Company
Note: If you plan to visit any of these restaurants, or any others in town,
it’s always a good idea to call ahead and verify hours of operation.

After lunch it’s time to check out the several small museums in Franklin.  Want to learn about all things Scottish?  Visit the Scottish Tartans Museum right downtown.  Interested in the local geology of our mountains? Visit Ruby City Gems or the Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum.  Learn more about the general history of Franklin and what it was like to live in the Appalachians years ago at the Macon County Historical Museum. Learn more about these local museums at www.discoverfranklinnc.com

scottish tartans museum
ruby city gems

Finally, end your day with a quiet late afternoon stroll along The Little Tennessee River Greenway, a walking/biking trail that meanders along the Little Tennessee River in Franklin, offering great views of the river and quiet spots to stop and rest after a busy day before heading back home to Casa on the Creek and our little corner of the mountains.

Thanks for visiting Franklin, NC!

Falls – Dry Falls

Falls – Dry Falls – Waterfalls… One of the most popular things to do here in our little corner of the mountains is to visit some of the many spectacular nearby waterfalls that can be found in our region. 

Play Video

Dry Falls – Have you ever had the adventure of walking behind a big waterfall?  Have you ever had your voice drowned out by the roar of millions of gallons of water rushing by an arm’s length away from you?  Head on over to Dry Falls just outside of Highlands and experience it for yourself. At 75 feet tall, Dry Falls belies its name—it’s a huge cascade that runs year-round that flows over an overhanging bluff as the Cullasaja River drops elevation in the Cullasaja Gorge. The Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest and Dry Falls is part of a series of waterfalls on an 8.7-mile (14 km) stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls. When the water flow is low, you can walk behind the falls without getting wet, hence the name. But in wet rainy periods, the falls is at its most spectacular – if you go, be sure to bring a slicker or waterproof jacket as you’re sure to get a little wet in the mist and splashing of the falls.

Dry Falls in Winter
During the coldest months, spectacular ice formation blanket Dry Falls
Click Here
Luxurious Green Foliage Covers the Falls
Visit on a hot summer day and get a welcome misty shower of cool water as the falls plunges over the gorge.
Click Here
Cave-like Rock Formations
Walk under the main falls and see the amazing cave-like rock formations seeping with the waters of the falls.
Click Here
Fall Colors at Dry Falls
A visit to Dry Falls in mid-to-late October and early November provides a truly spectacular photo opportunity to see Mother Nature dressed in her best colors.
Click Here
Slide Heading
I am slide content. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Click Here
Slide Heading
I am slide content. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Click Here
Slide Heading
I am slide content. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Click Here
Slide Heading
I am slide content. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Click Here
Slide Heading
I am slide content. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
Click Here
Previous
Next

In the narrow and deep Cullasaja Gorge, the Cullasaja River rushes and drops in a series of cascades and waterfalls to the Tennessee River near Franklin. A two-lane highway called Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, the combined route of U.S. 64 and NC 28, runs through the Cullasaja Gorge, which is mostly protected as part of the Nantahala National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has designated this to be a National Scenic Byway because of the river, and its numerous waterfalls. The highway clings to the north bank of the Cullasaja River. Though the road is narrow and the curves are frequent and sharp, it can be a fun and beautiful drive. There are many places to pull off, get out and enjoy the views of the river.

Dry Falls is easy to get to, heading east on Highway 64 towards Highlands, NC.  The parking area is right off the road (with bathrooms) with parking for several dozen cars, but note that at the height of summer and on weekends parking may be tight. To get to the falls, follow the path and then go down the series of steps to the walk-behind of the falls. Be sure to walk behind the falls and over to the end of the path for yet another fantastic view and photo opportunity of these magnificent falls.

After the falls, continue east on Highway 64/Mountain Waters Scenic Byway for several miles and you’ll get to the mountain town of Highlands, NC. Highlands is a great place to stop for lunch and get in a little shopping before continuing your waterfall adventure.  Be sure to check out a couple of other waterfalls in the area: Bridal Veil Falls (video below), Glen Falls and Secret Falls.

Waterfalls – Whitewater Falls

Okay, here’s a quiz – what’s the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies? 
And where can you find it?
Get ready to explore our area’s waterfalls!

It’s Whitewater Falls on the Whitewater River in the Jocassee Gorge area of Jackson County, NC, not far from the town of Cashiers.  Located close the NC/SC state line, Whitewater’s upper falls plunge over 400 feet, making Whitewater Falls the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.  And just over the border in South Carolina is the lower falls, another 200+ foot spectacular.  Located just south of the town of Cashiers (Highway 64-east), a day trip to visit the both waterfalls, driving through the beautiful mountains and scenery of the Nantahala National Forest, is sure to make memories to last a lifetime.

Whitewater Falls is located in an escarpment of the Nantahala National Forest, and because of the escarpment’s difficult access and rugged, rocky terrain, this area receives fewer visitors than other more popular sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The area has remained wild and undeveloped and offers a perfect getaway into the majesty and tranquility of the woods.  Wander along some of the trails in these cool moist woods and you’ll find wildflowers and ferns in abundance. In the springtime, enjoy the flowery show of wild rhododendrons and flame azaleas in bloom. Hike along trails that follow steep slopes to rock cliffs offering vistas of the mountain ranges near and far.

But the highlight of a visit to the Nantahala forest is your first view of magnificent Whitewater Falls. In a series of waterfalls and cascades on the Whitewater River in North Carolina and South Carolina, the river traverses more than 3.5 miles across the state line between the upper falls (NC) and the lower falls (SC).

The best views of the falls are from the two overlooks, accessed from the parking area. Follow the paved, wheelchair accessible walkway from the end of the parking lot to the overlook for the upper falls.  The walkway can generally be managed by people of all ages, from babies to grannies.  Continues down a long wooden staircase to a lower overlook for another view of the falls.

The hike: More energetic hikers can continue down the half-mile spur trail that drops 600 feet in elevation to the Whitewater River and Foothills Trail. As of this writing, the trail was considered difficult due to washouts and large amounts of debris.  Many people follow the Foothills Trail for the hike experience, as the views of the falls at the bottom can sometimes be obscured by overhanging limbs and foliage.

The video below provides a great overview of both the upper and lower falls and a good idea of what to expect if you decide to hike the Foothills Trail from one to the other.