The trail to William’s Pulpit starts here at the Wallace Branch section of the Bartram Trail

We’ve been having an unseasonably warm winter this year, interrupted by a brief stint of “actual winter” just a couple weeks ago. With the warmer temperatures, it makes one want to get outside and ramble around the mountains and see a grand view, maybe a waterfall, and explore some different stomping grounds. A hike to William’s Pulpit on The Bartram Trail offers all of those and more, and is exactly what the doctor ordered.

The trail is rated a moderate difficulty hike and is a 4 mile round trip hike to the western facing out cropping known as Williams Pulpit. Along the trail, which is steep in many spots, you’ll walk along Wallace Branch, a stumbling stream with a few distant cascades and one in particular that comes pretty quickly on your hike.

You come to this waterfall fairly quickly as you begin your ascent up to Williams Pulpit

After passing this and a few other small bridges, you climb up the Bartram Trail begins. Heading through some flat spots along the way up provides a little rest for new climbers or young ones. After hiking for about an hour, we reached the sign that read Williams Pulpit.


Williams Pulpit is a short walk out to the open rock face

Once you’ve made your way out to the open areas, you’ll have a fantastic view mostly to the west.

Late afternoon sun descends towards the mountain tops to another gorgeous sunset sky

Soak in the views of the Nantahala Mountains below, enjoy a picnic with the family or loved ones, or set up to capture amazing sunsets.

A hiker taking in the sights from Williams Pulpit

Directions to the Wallace Branch Trailhead: From US441/US64 junction south of Franklin, drive West on US 64 for 1.0 mile and turn right on Sloan Road. In .02 miles, you will pass the Nantahala Ranger Station and come to an odd shaped intersection. You need to cross over slightly left to make the slightly back right, turn onto Pressley Road. Continue on for 1.7 miles to the end and arrive at the Wallace Branch Trailhead.

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