Bartram Trail: Wallace Branch to William's Pulpit

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Nantahala National Forest

Bartram Trail: Wallace Branch to William's Pulpit is a 4.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Franklin, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,085 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

Part of Section 4 of the 100-mile N.C. Bartram Trail. The trail offers a steady climb up the ridges and peaceful forests. There are spring and summer wildflowers along the trail and a cascading waterfall within 5 min. of the parking area. At William's Pulpit there are views of Mill Creek Country Club and the valley from a 100-ft.-long rock shelf.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful trail with perfect terrain and elevation for a great workout and magnificent water falls.

hiking
9 days ago

Quiet trail in the morning but picked up some as the day wore on. Went with my mom who hasn't hiked or anything in a year or two. She did fine but will be sore. Well maintained trail.

Well managed and shaded the entire way. Steady incline all the way to Williams pulpit where we saw a family of rattle snakes under a rock.. they didn’t stop us from enjoying the mountain view though. Only passed 5 people total.

hiking
30 days ago

Trail was good but there are rocks and roots but you can avoid walking on them for the most part. The last steep part before the end is challenging but so worth the view when you get there!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Trail conditions we’re great. Whoever maintains this section of the BT does a great job. The hike to the view is kinda steep. About 34% grade. the view at Williams Pulpit is worth it however.

hiking
1 month ago

Open trail! Happy to be out during this social distance season. Hiked on Sunday afternoon, April 26th. Trail in great condition!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Mostly shaded and a steep incline to Williams pulpit. Stopped for a breather a few times with my pups. Such beautiful views! Careful for all the roots...

Super fun! We used this as a training tail with 20 pound ruck bags! Very well marked & well maintained. It started raining towards the end, we just threw on some ponchos and it was fine. Only saw 4 other people. Not remote (in a cute little neighborhood), so if you need to use your phone you can!

hiking
2 months ago

nice trail. with clear path. will require several stops for a no-fit person but completely doable if you can walk. nice view at the Pulpit.

Dog friendly, lots of elevation change, beautiful views at the top and along the path. The charted trail just kind of ends once you get to the look out. We started around 4pm so didn’t get much chance to explore past but loved the trail none the less. Trail is muddy

Nice well maintained trail. Dog loved it.

hiking
3 months ago

I love this trail and have done it several times since moving here in 2018. Unfortunately, I lost my sunglasses about 1/2 to 3/4 miles past the first waterfall. They are white prescription Costas with brown inner side. Please let me know if you see these!

Took both of our pups on this hike and had a great time. There are steeper parts and more level areas with sturdy bridges that cross over the streams. lots of shade along the way too!

hiking
4 months ago

good trails multiple spots for viewing on the way to the pulpit. great time of year to hike

Gorgeous trail,

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail for a dog and two kids. Quiet and not busy with other people. Great view and a spot for a sandwich at the peak. Not too strenuous.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy to get to from the town of Franklin. Limited parking (8-10 cars). Easy to navigate. Beautiful waterfall at the beginning of the trail. I would do it again.

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome moderate trail to Williams Pulpit definitely worth doing again for the view that's worth the effort.

hiking
7 months ago

Very quick drive from town with limited parking. Arrived early and had the trail mostly to ourselves except that our visit corresponded with the opening of bear hunting season so we came across probably 3 - 4 groups out with hunting dogs. I hike with 2 large dogs but we shared the trail just find. The ascent is steady and you’ll need sturdy boots to navigate the tree roots but overall a very enjoyable hike. Well marked with yellow blazes but with the leaves falling you’ll have to be vigilant in some areas to stay on the trail. Over look at the top was worth the hike up.

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike, easily a favorite in the area. Quite an easy drive from any direction, the starting point is only a couple miles from the highway, but you'd never know it. A steady, fairly easy incline along a clear, well marked trail leads you to beautiful Williams Pulpit, where really you sit all day and never tire of the view.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun day hike takes about 2 hours. a few waterfalls and a great view at Williams pulpit!

hiking
8 months ago

The easy parts were easy. And the hard parts were hard! It was not all uphill. That last little bit was straight uphill! But it was all worth it. The view from Williams Pulpit was beautiful. My tracker said it was 4.8 miles out and back. On my way back, there was a deer on the trail, not very far from us! The waterfall is pretty. There’s a few places for the pups to get in the water and cool off. And it’s only a couple of miles from downtown!

hiking
9 months ago

Always a good time in this trail. Today was a good day with pup on the trail.

hiking
9 months ago

the first half mile of this trail us straight up a beautiful rock staircase. after that, it's a great meandering trail up and around. my dog popped out, so I had to turn back. wish I could have gone longer.

hiking
9 months ago

Overcast, but still beautiful, Trail is well maintained

hiking
9 months ago

Loved this trail, even when it got narrow my dog and I didn’t have a problem. We made it through the inclines and it was a wonderful view!

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

really tough on the way up, basically all up hill. great views at the top though, we took the dogs out & sat on some rock face at the end and watched the mountains. really rewarding hike

hiking
9 months ago

Being a Franklin resident, this is my absolute favorite "exercise" trail I do almost everyday. So I will break this down the best I can for beginners looking for a gorgeous trail to hike when visiting Franklin. This trail is blazed in yellow (rectangle markings on the trees letting you know you are on the right path) all the way to Wayah Bald (about 11 miles from the parking lot nice hike by the way). Onto the trail... The Good: The cascades and the view at the pulpit. The Bad: Cob webs (Walking sticks help with this and wide brimmed hats) Gear: I recommend 1.5 liter of camelbak or reusable bottles of water. Take raw almonds for slow energy burning fuel for your body and some pretzels for that nice salty kick. Good hiking boots. Trail is very dry except in spots I mention below but nothing out of the ordinary. AVG time: 2.5 hours at a decent pace The trail head is only 2 miles from the Nantahala Ranger Station. (Google Map Photo attached) Please use the bucket at the trailhead for trash. At the trail head, it is a steady 2.05 mile hike to Williams Pulpit so those glutes and heart rate will be doing a bit of good work and coming back down your quads will feel it so a nice leg day workout. About 5 minutes in, you will be at the first beautiful cascade. (Please don't make cairns at the bottom - stacks of rocks) remember, "Leave No Trace". As you continue on, the yellow blazed trail will grant you a nice canopy to protect from direct sun but it is beautiful throughout. You will cross a number of foot bridges, there is one where the rocks stay mudy and wet so traverse carefully. Once you pass the foot bridge of the babbling brook, you will be on your trek to the pulpit. (As of 8-13-2019) At point 35.1888, -83.4440 there is a fallen tree that you will have to climb over. Nothing massive (I watched kids climb over it and under it no problem) When you pass the tree, you will eventually come to a natural bridge (tree branches with slits in them for grip) but if these are wet/muddy they will be as slick as ice so be careful crossing them. Just after that is the staircase turn. I suggest using the outside of them to preserve the enegry in your legs. As you continue through the trail, there will be some spots that are narrow but nothing that is too crazy. Just use common sense when walking the trail with others coming your way. About 1.8 miles in you will feel that sense of "are we there yet", just persevere through it as the gem of a view at the pulpit will be WELL WORTH it. As you get closer to the pulpit, the trail starts to head up and I mean UP. It is not a long distance but this is the part of the trail I consider the "hard" part. But again it is not that long in distance. As you traverse up the hill, you will eventually see the sign on a tree on the right with WILLIAMS PULPIT. The short path to the left takes you to it and the view to behold. Enjoy the trail and say hi if we cross paths.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a beautiful trail with lots of challenging uphills and as a result good sharp downhills. The trails goes another three or four miles beyond the end point shown on the trail map here, and it gets more challenging, I might add. Definitely a worthwhile experience as the scenery won’t let you down at any point in the trail. The trail gets narrow quite often so stay mindful of others who want to pass you by.

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