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Macon County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Macon County
The Macon County Courthouse in Franklin
The Macon County Courthouse in Franklin
Official seal of Macon County
Map of North Carolina highlighting Macon County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1828
Named for Nathaniel Macon
Seat Franklin
Largest town Franklin
 • Total 520 sq mi (1,300 km2)
 • Land 516 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Water 4.1 sq mi (11 km2)  0.8%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 66/sq mi (25/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 11th

Macon County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,922. Its county seat is Franklin.

The Nantahala River runs through Macon County, flowing into the Little Tennessee River in Swain County. The Nantahala is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the nation.


The county was formed in 1828 from the western part of Haywood County. It was named for Nathaniel Macon, who represented North Carolina in the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1815 (serving as Speaker of the House from 1801 to 1807), and in the United States Senate from 1815 to 1828.

In 1839 the western part of Macon County became Cherokee County. In 1851 parts of Macon County and Haywood County were combined to form Jackson County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 520 square miles (1,300 km2), of which 516 square miles (1,340 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Of the land in Macon County, 239.31 square miles (620 km2) (46.1%) are federal lands that lie within the Nantahala National Forest and are administered by the United States Forest Service. Of the 239.31 square miles (620 km2) of USFS land, 71.56 square miles (185 km2) lie in the Highlands Ranger District and the remaining 167.75 square miles (434 km2) lie in the Wayah Ranger District. The county's largest natural water supply is the Cullasaja River.


Cullasaja Falls

Cullasaja Falls is a waterfall in Southwestern North Carolina west of Franklin. The waterfall is located on the Cullasaja River in the Nantahala National Forest and is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Cullasaja comes from a Cherokee word meaning "honey locust place." The falls is the last major waterfall on the Cullasaja river. The falls is a long cascade over the course of 0.2 miles (300 m). The height of the falls is given as 200 ft (61 m) in Kevin Adams' book, North Carolina Waterfalls and 250 ft (77 m) by However, Google Earth gives a height (based on the elevation of the water at the top of the falls and the elevation of the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls) of 137 ft (42 m). It is easy to catch a glimpse of the falls as you drive by; however, getting a better view of the falls is not easy. The falls are located beside of a series of blind curves on Highway 64 with sheer rock cliffs above and below the road. There is only one small pull-off near the falls, but walking on the road puts visitors in danger of being hit by a passing vehicle.

Dry Falls

Dry Falls, also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, is a 65-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina. Dry Falls flows on the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. It is part of a series of waterfalls on a 8.7-mile (14.0 km) stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry when the waterflow is low, hence its name. Visitors will get wet if the waterflow is high. The falls has been called Dry Falls for a long time, but has also gone by a few other names, including High Falls, Pitcher Falls, and Cullasaja Falls. Dry Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 15.7 miles (25 km) southeast of Franklin, North Carolina and 3.1 miles (5 km) north of Highlands, North Carolina. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park before walking the short path with stairs to the falls. Significant improvements to the parking area and trail were completed by the United States Forest Service in 2009.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is a 45-foot (20.1 m) waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, southeast of Franklin. With a short curve of roadway located behind the falls, it has the distinction of being the only waterfall in the state that one can drive a vehicle under. Bridal Veil Falls flows on a tributary of the Cullasaja River through the Nantahala National Forest. The falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk behind the falls and remain dry when the waterflow is low. During periods of drought, the stream may nearly dry up, though visitors will get wet if the waterflow is moderate or high. To avoid this, stay in your vehicle and drive behind the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is located on the side of U.S. Highway 64 16.5 miles (27 km) southeast of Franklin and 2.3 miles (4 km) north of Highlands. Highway 64 originally used the curve of roadway behind the falls exclusively so that all traffic went behind them; however, this caused problems with icing of the roadway during freezing weather, and Hwy. 64 has been re-routed around the front of the falls since. There is a parking area on the side of the road, where visitors can park and view the falls as well. In 2003, a massive boulder slid off the left side of the falls, blocking that side of the drive-under completely. However, in July 2007, that boulder was removed by a local developer. The road under the falls is now free of obstruction.

Quarry Falls

Quarry Falls is a small waterfall (or perhaps large rapid in high water) located beside US Hwy. 64 southeast of Franklin, North Carolina. Known to locals as "Bust Your Butt," it is best known for the large, deep pool at the bottom and is a popular place for swimming during warm weather.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 19
  • US 23
  • US 64
  • US 74
  • US 441
  • NC 28
  • NC 106


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 5,333
1840 4,869 −8.7%
1850 6,389 31.2%
1860 6,004 −6.0%
1870 6,615 10.2%
1880 8,064 21.9%
1890 10,102 25.3%
1900 12,104 19.8%
1910 12,191 0.7%
1920 12,887 5.7%
1930 13,672 6.1%
1940 15,880 16.1%
1950 16,174 1.9%
1960 14,935 −7.7%
1970 15,788 5.7%
1980 20,178 27.8%
1990 23,499 16.5%
2000 29,811 26.9%
2010 33,922 13.8%
2020 37,014 9.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Macon County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 31,535 85.2%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 252 0.68%
Native American 167 0.45%
Asian 250 0.68%
Pacific Islander 6 0.02%
Other/Mixed 1,306 3.53%
Hispanic or Latino 3,498 9.45%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 37,014 people, 15,921 households, and 10,250 families residing in the county.


Map of Macon County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Macon County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels


Unincorporated communities


  • Burningtown
  • Cartoogechaye
  • Cowee
  • Ellijay
  • Flats
  • Franklin
  • Highlands
  • Millshoal
  • Nantahala
  • Smithbridge (formerly Smith's Bridge)
  • Sugarfork


Franklin High School

Franklin High School is a public high school serving grades 9–12, and is a part of the Macon County Schools district.

Union Academy

Union Academy is an alternative public school in Macon County, North Carolina for grades 6–12. It is located near the South Macon Elementary school. Its name was changed from Union Alternative in 2006.

Macon Early College

Macon Early College is a high school that offers college classes located next to the greenway and public library of Franklin. Southwestern Community College (North Carolina) is a partner in the program. As of 2008, SCC was ranked 4th in the list of Americas best community colleges. Macon Early College is one of the three high schools in the Macon area, coming into existence after the Franklin High School, but before the Union Academy.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Macon (Carolina del Norte) para niños

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