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Gem Mining in Franklin, North Carolina
Franklin, North Carolina is renowned as the “Gem Capital of the World” for good reason. Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Sota ventured through the area in the 16th century, searching for gold and other treasures. That exploration established a tradition in Franklin, which morphed into gem mining in the late 19th century. During that time several companies constructed mines to discover and capitalize on the source of Franklin’s ruby and sapphire explosion in the 1870s. Ever since, folks have traveled to Franklin in search of precious gems, and quite possibly, a chance at finding the next big one. That person could be you!
Franklin and the surrounding area have various gem mines for families and individuals to choose from. Although Mother Nature seems to have bypassed spring altogether this year, the weather of late is perfect for those looking to continue the gem mining tradition in a beautiful part of Southern Appalachia. Just don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Below is a list of mines in the Franklin area. Contact them for operating hours and rates. Good luck and enjoy!
Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in the Cowee Valley at 41 Cherokee Mine Road off Ruby Mine Road
Rocky Face Mine
Located three miles North of Franklin at 268 Sanderstown Road
Rose Creek Mine
Located five miles North of Franklin on Highway 28 at 115 Terrace Ridge Drive
Gold City Gem Mine
Located about seven miles North of Franklin off Highway 441 at 9410 Sylva Road
Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine
Located about five miles from Franklin, at the foot of Cowee Mountain at 6771 Sylva Road
Jackson Hole Gem Mine
Located near Cullasaja Falls between Highlands and Franklin on Highway 28 and US 64
Located at 385 Sheffield Farms Road
Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in Burningtown off Route 28 North
Old Cardinal Gem Mine
Located at 72 Rockhaven Drive
Mason Mountain Mine & Cowee Gift Shop
Located at 5313 Bryson City Road
Check out the Museums located in Franklin, North Carolina
Spring has officially arrived in Franklin, North Carolina. The grass is getting greener, daffodils are blooming and the weather is warmer. This is the time of year people start planning their vacations. If Franklin, North Carolina is your vacation destination this year you should consider checking out the numerous museums that Franklin, North Carolina has to offer. All museums listed below are within walking distance of each other.
The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum– Located at 25 Phillips Street, Franklin, NC, 28734. This museum has eight rooms filled with gems and minerals that are found all over the world. The museum has many local gems and minerals on display as well. Be sure to check out the 2.25 pound Ruby that was found in Franklin, NC. The museum is located in the historic “Old Jail” on Phillips Street. Admission is free. Hours of operation are May 1st – October 31st Monday thru Saturday, 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. November 1st-April 30th open Saturday only from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information please call 828-369-7831 or visit www.fgmm.org.
Macon County Historical Museum– Located at 36 West Main Street, Franklin, NC, 28734. This museum is located in the J.R. Pendergrass building which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. This museum offers an in-depth view into Appalachian history. The museum is full of artifacts and photographs illustrating life in Franklin, North Carolina. Admission is free. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information please call 828-524-9758 or visit www.maconnchistorical.org. Also be sure to ask about the “Haunted History Tour”.
Ruby City Gem Museum– Located at 130 East Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734. This museum has a vast collection of gems, minerals and pre-Columbian artifacts. Be sure to check out the world’s largest sapphire weighing at 385 pounds and one of the largest gem quality rubies ever found in Franklin, NC. The museum is also home to an authentic shrunken head. The black light room is a must see. Admission is free. Hours of operation are April 1st-December 31st Monday thru Friday 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday hours are 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information please call 828-524-3967 or visit www.rubycity.com.
Scottish Tartans Museum- Located at 86 East Main Street, Franklin, NC, 28734. This museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. This museum is a direct extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Scotland. This museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing. The museum also offers an extensive look into Scottish culture, history and migration. Be sure to check out your family tartan. Admission is $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children age 6 to 12 and free for children under 6. Hours of operation are Monday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information please call 828-524-7472 or visit www.scottishtartans.org.
Ah, winter in the mountains… it’s a quieter time, a calmer time. And with the trees bare of their leaves, at every turn you’ll find views that go on forever.
For those who enjoy the brisk mountain air, there are plenty of things to do in western North Carolina during the winter months. Here are three hiking options that are sure to please, whether you’re after family fun or an active weekend escape.
Rufus Morgan Trail
A short 12-mile drive from Franklin, NC, the Rufus Morgan trail is a great option for hikers of all ages and abilities. The easy one-mile loop is well-marked and well-maintained, meandering through a mature hardwood forest and crossing a babbling stream via foot bridge.
Waterfalls in western North Carolina are a popular attraction, and for good reason. This trail will lead you to a great example. About halfway through the hike, take the optional side trail to the base of a beautiful 60-foot waterfall.
But don’t worry about crowds here. If you want some time for peace and reflection, this is the hike for you. Especially during this time of year, you’re likely to have the Rufus Morgan Trail all to yourself.
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.15398, -83.5446
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/vShvs
Siler Bald is one of the best kept secrets in the NC mountains, rewarding hikers with stunning 360-degree views. There are two trail options for reaching the Bald – one is 4 miles round-trip, the other is 8.4 miles. While both trails are family-friendly, take the shorter route if you have smaller children.
With an elevation of over 5,000 feet, if there’s any snow in the area, Siler Bald should have a good covering. If road conditions permit, do as the locals do and bring a sled or inner tube to enjoy the sloping terrain while you take in the breathtaking views.
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.12072,-83.547093
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/YBjON
Being in Franklin, NC is a great opportunity to hop onto a section of the gorgeous 100-mile Bartram Trail, one of western North Carolina’s best hiking trails.
A 10-minute drive from Franklin delivers you to a small parking area where you can begin the 4-mile out-and-back hike. This section of the Bartram Trail is appropriate for the whole family but is rated “moderate” difficulty due to the uphill journey through the wooded wilderness.
After only a few minutes, you’ll come upon a small, charming waterfall. At the end of the two-mile climb, you’ll find your destination: William’s Pulpit, a rock ledge that presents stunning views of the Nantahala Mountains. Enjoy the vista knowing that the return trip is all downhill!
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.18013, -83.43311
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/owmCq
Welcome to the Discover Franklin, NC website! We completely overhauled our old site and hope you find our new site easy to navigate while you are planning your stay to Franklin, NC.
Whether you like the great outdoors, like to shop, or go site seeing Franklin has something for everyone. As you begin to plan your vacation we have provided you a guide.
In the “Visit” section, discover hotels, motels, and bed & breakfast accommodations all located within the city limits. In addition, you can also explore all of the local restaurants to satisfy any craving.. You will also find many “shopportunities” from boutiques to specialty stores.
For those of you that are more adventurous check out the “Explore“ section where you will find all things outdoors in the Franklin area from hiking, white water rafting, gem mining, and so much more. Be sure to download the gem mining and waterfalls map to help you plan which mine and waterfall you want to visit.
Maybe you prefer a less adventurous route but equally as fun, visit the “Things To Do” section of the site to learn about the three local museums, historic trails, and more. If you are into music and theater then be sure to see the show schedule for the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts right here in Franklin, NC!
Franklin is filled with heritage, culture, and provides excitement year round for all ages. Local festivals in Franklin bring people in from all over. With the famous pumpkin roll at Pumpkin Fest to Folk Festival displaying our rich culture there is something for everyone. Check the “Events and Festivals” section of the website to learn about each festival Franklin has to offer.
When you visit Franklin, NC we want you to feel at home and enjoy your trip! Eat good food, hike to a beautiful waterfall, gem mine for the perfect stone, and stop in to a local store filled with pottery, antiques, or unique crafts.
Come Discover Us!