Great Hiking, Biking and Swimming
Can be combined nicely with dinner or lunch in Hot Springs
Picnic tables available by the creek
Waterfalls, Beautiful Rocks, Views of the River, Picnic opportunities
To access this general area:
Drive to Hot Springs on Hwy 209 N.
Go through town and cross the French Broad River
Immediately after you cross the river, turn left to access River road.
At the stop sign, turn right to head downstream.
This road takes you several miles down the river on a very scenic drive.
In a few miles, it will turn to a dirt road. Then you will come to Murray’s Branch Recreation area.
The parking lot is on the left and the trail begins on the right of the road, just before you enter the parking area.
Hiking at Murray’s Branch
T & R Rating
This short loop has gentle switchbacks through the forest up the ridge. About 3/4 mile in you will come to a Y. This is the loop. Stay to the right to see incredible ridgetop views of the river. Continue on and this trail joins with another trail, that has blue blazes. It winds on in the woods but does not loop. You can add to your hike with this “in and out” section.
Paint Creek to Dudley Falls
Paint Creek Road is very passable, but is narrow with turnouts. You will have a choice to take the high road or the low road.
The upper road is best done in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
The low road takes you to Dudley Falls. It takes you by a beautiful creek with lots of picnic opportunities. Dudley falls is a beautiful waterfall that is accessed by car. This is a great place to wander around and dip in the creek.
The campground is 5.5 miles up the paved road. There is a loop hiking trail that starts there.
We love to park at the bottom of the paved road and ride our bikes up to the campground and back. It is a lovely ride by the creek.