Accessibility – Moderate
Height: Approx 50′-60′
Distance – 0.1 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 6
Photo rating – 6
Solitude – 5
GPS Info: LAT 35.77040 LONG -82.84190
Last updated – 10/07/2018
Mooney Falls is 50′-60′ foot high waterfall very close to Big Laurel Falls in Franklin NC. The falls is comprised of two distinct sections, the lower plunge and the upper cascades. There is no good way to view both at once but both are worth viewing. About the only difficult part is getting to the base of Mooney Falls. The best view is from where the trail ends on river right but I just had to climb down to have a look. The view is not good since there is a lot of clutter jammed in down there that interferes with any pictures. As for the upper cascades, the best view is from the top of the huge boulder on river left at the top of the lower drop.
To get to the trailhead for Big Laurel Falls from the intersection of US64 and NC441/US23 in Franklin head west on US 64 for 12 miles to West Old Murphy Road on the left.Take West Old Murphy Road 1.9 miles to Wallace Gap and make a right onto FR67. This is a forest road but this first section is paved and in very nice condition as it makes its way to Standing Indian Campground. At 1.7 miles the road forks. The right fork goes to the campground. Stay left on FR67 which shortly after the split turns to gravel. From the split to the pullout it 5.8 miles. The parking area is on the left and signed as Mooney Falls. It is 0.7 miles past the trailhead for Big Laurel Falls. If you do the two falls together it will make for a nice family-friendly outing.
Head down the hill on the obvious trail that runs parallel to the road before doing a switchback and paralleling the road in the other direction. After the switchbacks end the trail splits with a fork heading up and downstream. Make a right to get to the lower drop and the left to reach the upper cascades. The best vantage for the lower drop is from the rocks on river right but be careful since it is a painful fall is you get too close, You can also climb down next to the tree on the right to get a picture with all the clutter. Once you’re gone here, return to the split and take the left fork upstream to where it comes to a large boulder, easily located since it had four trees growing out of it. There are enough roots and handholds to get you onto the boulder to view the cascades. If you do climb up, be careful. If you fall off the creek will break your fall before sweeping you over the lower drop into the clutter.