This warmer weather we’ve been having over the last couple of weeks has really gotten our biological calendars mixed up here in the mountains of western North Carolina! Just the last few days alone, where we’ve reached the upper 60’s and even low 70’s has given us a chance to get out and enjoy the mountains, trails, scenic waterfalls and spend more time downtown looking for our last minute gift ideas for the ones on our lists that we can never seem to get right away.

One of the lesser known spots to find some of nature’s original rock music, is Ranger Falls. Nestled away in the Cliffside Recreational Area of the Nantahala National Forest, Ranger Falls is on a two mile loop trail that runs along Skitty Creek. Cliffside is a day use area, so there is a parking fee, but only $4, it is well worth it. Once you’ve paid, continue through the gate about 1/2 mile to the parking lot on the right. Drive to the back of the lot and you’ll see the trail head for Ranger Falls. As you begin your hike, you’ll see that even in the late fall, when everything has shed their blooms and blossoms, that there is still some magical colors left. The deep, rich greens of the rhododendrons glow against the fallen pine straw and other leaves. Hiking in the late fall and early winter months can give you a different perspective on the surroundings and an appreciation for this time of year when traffic has slowed a little and time is winding down to the end of the year. It can also be a time for quiet reflection and to looking to the coming year and making plans to be here with us in the Spring.

We hope you are able to get outside and enjoy a few minutes of this unseasonably warm weather we’re enjoying right now, no matter what your idea of a relaxing time is, there’s plenty to do here in Franklin and so much to see. Have a wonderful week!