Explore the most popular hiking trails in Southern Nantahala Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
17 days ago

amazing hike

23 days ago

Beautiful views. Take the AT to the left of deep gap parking. The side trail to the viewpoint is blazed blue and turns to the right after around 2.5 miles on the AT

scenic driving
1 month ago

Always in the mood for a waterfall. After checking out Pickens Nose Trail and the incredible views there, we drove just a short way west and took a short EASY stroll to the heavily flowing waterfall. Looks like one we may have to return to and enjoy sitting under in the summer. Today we just enjoyed the rainbow showing through the waterfall mist. ♡

hiking
1 month ago

Very short and easy hike...the waterfall is nice! Not a lot of parking available. The drive to it was a gravel road for the last 4 miles, but not bad ...luckily we didn’t pass any cars because the road is narrow.

hiking
1 month ago

Short hike and pretty waterfall. Me and my husband was only ones on the trail. Must watch out for the roots when hiking.

I am so glad I picked this trail. We started from Backcountry Info Booth, right near Standing Indian Campground.

We started counter-clockwise on the Kimsey Creek Trail from the Campground and hiked about 5 miles until we reached Standing Indian shelter, where we camped for the first night.

Day 2 we walked around 15 miles northbound on the AT. When you reach the junction to get on the AT at the end of Kimsey Creek, make sure you go North, which will be to your left (this happens before Standing Indian Campground). We hiked all the way until the summit of Albert Mountain and camped at the top. The best parts of the trail are immediately before you begin the ascent to Albert Mountain and the views here. I would also recommend staying at Carter Gap shelter if you’re looking to shorten the mileage / day. We stopped here for lunch around 4:00 pm after leaving Standing Indian Shelter at 11:00 am.

Day 3 was very quick, purely downhill 5 mile finish back to our car. Nothing too remarkable.

Overall, some inclines that are challenging, but the two newbies with me never felt really exhausted. I would recommend going clockwise if you want to avoid a very steep climb over rocks up to Albert, but those with some experience I do endorse the counter-clockwise route.

Great weekend!

Trail was mostly good. Was overgrown near Bly Gap with weeds which made hiking very wet

This is a great 3-day hike that you can do as a loop from the Standing Indian Campground. We enjoyed hiking North to South, starting from Standing Indian, going up the Long Branch Trail to the AT, then turning right and hiking until the Kimsey Creek Trail, then back to the campground.

We camped the first night at Long Branch Shelter (great water source, new shelter and picnic table), and the second night at the Beech Creek tenting area. We loved both spots. This hike isn't super strenuous, goes through pretty canopy and has some pretty vistas, especially at the top of Albert Mountain from the firetower. We carried a bear canister and had no problems.

I didn't love the Kimsey Creek trail - it's very wet and slippery, with a lot of fallen trees crossing the trail. Otherwise, the rest of the hike was wonderful, with well maintained trails.

Very solid and well maintained trail. I'd recommend using Guthook's Guide as well as AllTrails app since you are walking the AT for most of this loop. It'll help with planning your water stops. Finished the trail in 2 days, but I'd recommend 3 if you want to have a more casual time. The shelters and sites are spaced pretty well if you'd rather average 8-9 miles a day.

I headed counter-clockwise down the Kimsey Creek trail first. It was bit overgrown and there were several blowdowns for the first half mile or so, but as long as you are paying attention you shouldn't have any issues. This portion follows and cuts across streams almost constantly so you will have no problem with water. I'd suggest filling up before heading up to Standing Indian mountain though, just in case.

After Carter Gap shelter, it's pretty much smooth sailing until a couple miles before the Long Branch junction. On my trip, there was a massive blowdown fully blocking the trail. I climbed over the tree, but I would 100% recommend that you try to squeeze under it or maybe hike up the mountain a bit to walk around it. It had rained earlier that day and everything was slippery.

If you are heading NOBO, the hike up Albert Mountain is pretty intense. It's half stairs, half rock climbing. There is a bypass you can use which follows a forestry service road for a bit and reconnects on the other side. It took me roughly 30 mins to climb the 0.3 mi from the base to the fire tower. I hiked this part after it rained, and the rocks were pretty slippery. You can always do the bypass then just hike SOBO up to the tower.

4 months ago

Hike down and back. Perhaps it's because the area is getting a lot of rain (July 2018) but this may one of the best natural waterfalls in the area and I've been coming here for years.

More painful than Standing Indian.

5 months ago

Have they moved the state line or has the trail slid south. According to the map this trail is located in North Carolina. Misleading if you are doing a search and it notes a completely different state.

July 5, 2018. Husband set out alone on Standing Indian. Deep Gap trail was not marked or accessible. Best route through AT trail. Beautiful vistas at the top.

Just did this hike for a 3day trip. We parked at standing Indian campground for $2 per day. Day 1 we went about 12 Miles south/clockwise and camped at carter gap. There were plenty of tent sites and fire rings there but it was crowded. So don’t expect privacy here. Day 2 we went about 9.5 Miles and camped at deep gap. Several spots here as well, but is right off of a road. We found a private site close to the creek and there was only one other group camping in the area. Someone had recently cut down a tree and chopped up firewood so that was convenient. Day 3 we hiked the kimsey creek trail (3.7 Miles) back to our car. You will cross and walk through creeks and streams the entire time your on this section and there were a lot of downed trees. It was rated as easiest, but definitely was not that. It was a good trail overall though. The whole hike was great.

Great hike. I did this hike in 13hrs over a 2 day period. The first half was not bad, more of a walk through the woods feel. Second half was a little more of a challenge. Took me an extra hour for the second half of the trail due to the climbs.

This was a great hike, but I recommend three days rather than the two day hike that I did for the loop. Park at the backcountry information center and the trail is easily marked. The Kimsey Creek area is beautiful along the river and plenty of places to stop and enjoy, but be prepared to walk in water, on rocks, and navigate some down trees. It’s slippery and very muddy in areas and your feet could submerge so be prepared. No one else was on that part of the trail, but met many once I got to the parking for the AT. There’s a water stop at the end of the trail and a good place to break before Deep Gap. At this point make sure you are committed to finishing the loop back to Indian Creek, if so continue N on the AT. otherwise take the road to the right or Kimsey trail back to the camp. Also, while it was warm in Kimsey, you’ll definitely want layers for the hike up. The LBT is the most difficult part, a lot of tree debris, but worth the views! It’s a great hike and met some great people.

This trail was a perfect loop for my first back packing trip. A friend and I did the loop counterclockwise. We parked at the backcountry info center, which was perfect because it’s exactly where the trail starts and ends. Our first day was a half day, hiking a little over 4 miles.
The 1st day we started around 2:00, hiking down Kimsey creek until joining the AT. We spent the night at Standing Indian Shelter.
The 2nd day we hiked to just past Carter Gap Shelter and set up camp (roughly a 9 mile day). Day 3 was by far the most scenic and had a few good climbs. We finished up on the AT and took the Long Branch Trail back to our car. It ended up being a 11.4 mile day from our campsite back to the car.
Overall, it was a great trip! Good multi day loops are hard to come by and this one is perfect for a weekend or beginner trip. The trail is really well marked, LOTS of water sources, and plenty of spots to camp. You’ll meet a lot of thru hikers and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Be prepared for some work getting up Mt. Albert- but it’s definitely worth the view you earn and a perfect spot for a lunch picnic.

We did this trail in two days. Great hike. They were a few trees down on Kimsey Creek trail, but all were passable. The first day it was overcast and windy, However the following day the sun came out and WOW!! by the time we got to Albert Mtn it was totally clear.

Great trail with excellent views

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Myself along with a friend of mine did this trail over the weekend. Thought we’d give ourselves a challenge. It was nothing but that. 12 inches of snow in most places. I would advise to wait until the snow fades. Great trail, wish we could’ve seen a lot more open views though. Quite a few gorges making it difficult to view some beautiful sights.

hiking
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hiked the Kimsey Creek trail to Deep Gap AT junction November 26 2017. Previously hiked this route 20 years ago. Not as well marked as I remember. Lots of down trees and damaged foot bridges along the way. Not much traffic on any of the trails. Quite strenuous but a great hike!

backpacking
Monday, October 16, 2017

The trail is beautiful. However please go into this knowing it is not 5.6 miles out and back. That is a one way mileage.

The scenery is beautiful. Many downed trees to navigate. One very sketchy bridge that I don't advise using the handrail on. It was very muddy in spots early on (over your shoe deep if you're not careful). Very rocky trail, regardless of footwear it takes a toll on your feet. Slippery trail in general add rain to the mix like it did on us and it gets interesting :) no need to bring much water just bring your sawyer and a bottle.

backpacking
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Great hike. However lots of trees down on the trail between Albert Mtn and Standing Indian Mtn and especially on Kimsey Creek trail. Did the hike in two days but should have taken more time to enjoy the views!

backpacking
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Great hike. However lots of trees down on the trail between Albert Mtn and Standing Indian Mtn and especially on Kimsey Creek trail. Did the hike in two days but should have taken more time to enjoy the views!

backpacking
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Great hike. However lots of trees down on the trail between Albert Mtn and Standing Indian Mtn and especially on Kimsey Creek trail. Did the hike in two days but should have taken more time to enjoy the views!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Beautiful falls! Large tree down making a mess of the trail and surrounding forest. We made it over the down tree but could be difficult for some. Still beautiful!

backpacking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Did this hike over 3 days, very relaxed. Easy two day hike if you don't have to drive too far before and after.

Temperatures were nice over Labor Day weekend. Threatened to rain but ended up to be just gorgeous.

Climbs aren't too long and strenuous. Good conversation and moderate pack weight and you hardly notice the difficulty. There is one section that is a little treacherous. After Albert Mountain Firetower (going clockwise) there are some pretty steep rocky steps you have to take which mud makes particularly harder.

A little crowded on the AT section over Labor Day, but that's to be expected. You might want to do your part and help pack out garbage you find along the trail. No mosquitoes, but a fair amount of buzzing flies when the wind died down. There's also a few interactions with National Forest Road that disturb the isolation somewhat.

Water sources were frequent and clean.

The Kimsey Creek section was my favorite part. Less crowded, lots of streams, waterfalls, and foot bridges made for lots of photo opportunities.

If you're doing this in two days, Carter Gap Shelter would be your best bet for a stop. Our relaxed 3 day hike had us stop at Betty Creek Gap and Standing Indian Shelter.

Make sure you take the side trail up to Standing Indian Mountain. It's not along the main trail and you could end up missing it.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our group used the trail to get up to Deep Gap Campground for some camping and exploring.

The trail is moderately maintained. Several areas where you need to fight through brush and fallen trees. Some trail deterioration is evident which is not an issue if you're carrying light. If you are carrying for primitive camping or backpacking, be sure to use poles to assist with your balance.One of the several bridges needs serious repair.

I can see this being a perfect day-hike trail in the fall when the humidity and heat has dropped to acceptable levels.

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