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

There is definitely some discrepancy in the length. Sign at the bottom says 5.5 to Cheoah Bald. Sign .5 from Cheoah Bald says 6 to the parking area off 143. I think I clocked 11 Total. It’s a beautiful forest hike, “rolling” up and down both ways. I’m sure the view at the top is spectacular, but between 11-12 today I couldn’t see much of anything. Beautiful wildflowers near the top. Trail was is great shape, though it is pretty narrow the entire way. I don’t think this trail is super difficult, but as a long distance runner I may not be the best judge! It was fairly busy today, a Monday.

I just hiked this trail all the way to the N.O.C. Did it in two days my first time hiking any off the Appalachian trail. It was amazing

Before you go, it is actually 13 miles. There is only one water source at Locust Cove. The view at Cheoah Bald was beautiful. We went at the beginning of July. It's warm at times but we never got too hot. Enjoyed the hike quite a bit.

This one is a must do. The views from the tower are comparable to Brasstown Bald without the crowds. From the parking at Tellico Gap it ended up being a moderate 1.4 mile hike to the sweet spot.

This hike is very rewarding without being too difficult. We accessed the AT by turning onto Otter Creek Rd from Wayah Rd. The trailhead is about two miles down Otter Creek Rd with several parking spots. About a mile of Otter Creek will be gravel but it's well maintained and we had no trouble in a sedan. If accessing from the Wayah Rd side, take the section of the AT on the left hand side of the parking lot as there weren't any clear markings for the Wesser Tower. The hike itself is all uphill as you climb to the peak. It winds through the forest on the mountainside and is very well maintained. No water crossings and very suitable for all skill levels (and dogs!). As you approach the peak, the trail narrows significantly and the plants/grass on either side will brush against your legs so wear pants or high socks if that bothers you. Right before reaching the tower, there's a beautiful natural lookout to the left. Once at the tower, the views are as good as it gets. It's 360 degrees of unobstructed and beautiful mountain views. It's a relatively short hike to amazing views without the crowds. I would highly recommend it.

We enjoyed this hike! I will say that it wasn't 2.2 miles in and out but rather 2.9. The All Trails App said the elevation change would be about 750 but the App recorded it as 1167. Just an FYI

Gorgeous river and waterfalls. Great swimming holes at the base of the initial decent. However this trail does not allow camping due to whitewater corridor protection (the reason for the 3 star rating). However we hiked to Thompson river, 2.7 miles past the turnaround. This was a spectacular 4 star hike. Next time we will start at Bad creek parking to get to Thompson river. (A lot of ticks in June!)

Did this as a day hike out and back with our dog. Great view at the bald. Saw no hikers on our way up and one small group when we got to the bald. A few more on our way back. Can get hot bring plenty of water. Challenging hike but worth it.

Great hike with the dogs and 15 year old. Great 360 view from water tower.

Beautiful hike. If you park at the Murphy Road lot, you have to cross over the road, head north on the winding stair trail, up the AT, and pass the sign for Snow Bird Gap, to come to a grassy clearing, to hike up to Silers' Bald. The views are well worth it. you can take the spur trail to the Silers' Bald Shelter, y
take a break, then continue from the shelter on the other side of the Silers' Bald Shelter trail to reach the actual Silers' Bald final approach. You'll see a granite market at the top.

Just did this loop on 5/18/18. Altered the trip slightly and took the spur trail from the AT to Siler Bald Shelter for a quick stop. Took us 1 hour 50 mins to get from the start of the trail to the shelter. The trail from the shelter up to the bald is very steep, but the views at the bald are gorgeous. We initially planned to camp somewhere near the bald/summit, but bad weather was rolling through so we hiked back down. All-up about 5 hours including stops with ~20lb packs on our backs. Nice trail - Would recommend.

Very steep in some areas with 3 young kids and 2 dogs but not busy at all and great hike.

We hiked this section the last weekend of April, and while the daytime temperatures were wonderful for hiking, the temps plummeted at night down to around 30°F. We hiked the trail to the telico bald and back tracked to a camp at Burningtown Gap. If the weather is windy, I would suggest either stopping at the shelter between telico and burningtown, or pass through the burningtown gap and head down to the camp pad with the water source at lick log gap. Since the fires hit this area in 2016, there’s not a lot of foliage yet, so bring some sunscreen. The majority of the hike from Wayah to burningtown is downhill, but you have to make a considerable climb to get to telico, so I suggest stopping for lunch at burningtown if you haven’t already.

Been up this trail countless times. You can see forever from the fire tower on a clear day. Plenty of tree cover under the tower if it’s a little windy.

An easy hike. But once we arrived at the tower the clouds had rolled in and blocked the view. It was still a great hike and we will return.

Great Hike. As with all the trails in panthertown valley, take a GPS or a trail map. Portions of the trail (Panthertown Valley Trail) are well-marked, but other parts (Wilderness Falls) is not marked at all. Lots of overgrowth made staying on the trail difficult. Bring water shoes or prepare to cross streams without boots in the rainy Spring and Summer seasons here as water levels are high.

3 months ago

Beautiful view at the top! A new experience for me. Being new, I wouldn't rate it easy. Some parts of it were rock and tree roots and there were several spots where it seemed narrow. All of which may be totally normal, but as a newby, I didn't expect it. We took breaks frequently on the way up. Water is a necessity on this one.
All in all, a great place. Will definitely be going back. (hike date 4/11/18)

My grandpa took me on a hike up here with him and the view was literally breathtaking. I was a bit scared going up the tower cause it seemed like it was gonna break when I walked up on it and also when I got up there there were these two teens making out so i just left.

The car may of hike more than I did that day. Short hike from the parking lot to the tower. I am excited to go back and hike down to the spring this time.

Great Trek! Siler Bald views were fantastic!

Nice hike. Well marked and maintained trail. Would probably rate closer to moderate for non-hikers, easy for experienced hikers. Hiked with dog, and two kids (12, 8)

An extremely gorgeous hike! If you're able to start the trail early you can easily complete the whole trek in one day.

Just did this on Dec 2nd when we had nice 60 degree days. I was pretty out of shape so the way up got me winded pretty quick, and took about 3 hours. The way down only took an hour and a half and was a breeze. I camped at the summit overnight and the sunset/sunrise were amazing. Saw a few day hikers, and a couple AT through hikers. Highly reccomend!

We did this trip (in Ocotober) with a side trip to the AT shelter on the way down which probably made it an even 10 miles. Didn’t see one person on the way up as it seems most people that do this as a day hike leave from another trailhead that is closer because we encountered a few groups coming up from the point where you hike the last leg up to the Bald summit. Views were stunning!

We weren't prepared for the snow/sleet, so we only made it halfway up. The fog boxed us in anyway, so we wouldn't have been able to see the amazing views. The portion we hiked was uphill the whole way, so be prepared for that. It's well maintained, so we will definitely try again next time we are in the area!

(hiked 10/29/17)

Awesome hike! Definitely on the harder side of easy because of the elevation change going up, but coming down is a breeze. View at the top is spectacular!! If you are afraid of heights, like myself, get the courage to go up the fire tower at the top. Absolutely worth it!

It's an uphill hike that can get cha winded if you're bookin it, but it was amazing. The views from the tower were incredible and the trail itself was just really lovely. Feels like a mile uphill though.

Excellent! Be sure you are in good shape to walk 45 minutes uphill to the top. It's longer than you think! Bring water. Wear hiking boots. I would rate this "moderate" for people over 50. I saw people without water going up the trail. You will need water. The driving approach is better from Otter Creek road vs. Tellico. Parts of Tellico are 'almost' dangerous for a large vehicle. Go slow! Enjoy it, it's awesome!

This trail is AMAZING and worth every second. The views from the fire station are completely jaw dropping. The trail is very well marked and moderately maintained making for a really nice balance. I would not recommend this trail for young children, or extremely inexperienced hikers. The trail feels like more than 2 miles but is so enjoyable and is a fun afternoon trip. I would 100% recommend and will definitely return!

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