August 1, 2015
If you are looking for a romantic day hike with an easy terrain and a beautiful waterfall, the Laurel Falls Trail is certainly one to consider. The trailhead is located near Standing Indian Campground in Nantahala National Forest.
Directions: Take US-64 from Franklin towards Winding Stair Gap. After 12 miles turn left onto Old Murphy Road. After 2 miles you will reach Wallace Gap on the Appalachian Trail. Turn right onto F.S. 67. Go nearly 2 miles until you reach a fork. Continue left for 5 miles on the dirt road. You will see a sign for Laurel Falls with parking.
The trail is blue-blazed and very well maintained. The trail passes over Mooney Creek on a bridge and follows Big Laurel Branch. After .5 miles you reach Laurel Falls, 20 feet in height. Perhaps the highlight is the swimming area below the falls.
Afterwards we stopped on the road to pick fresh blackberries. With the idyllic weather and great trail, it was a wonderful afternoon.
Total mileage is 1 mile.