Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

add wilderness and schoolhouse falls to this loop for a 6 miler of complete exhiliaration

hiking
1 day ago

Really great hike, beautiful view of falls

on Satulah Mountain

hiking
1 day ago

Great views

Loved it! Go early in the day on a weekday.

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.

Located just south of Cashiers, it’s just a quick walk from highway 107, with a very well maintained trail. Beautiful falls that flow into a nice little swimming hole that looks like a nice place to jump in and cool off.

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!)

Beautiful view with some interesting history!

very nice trail and the views are amazing!

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful short hike ending at the waterfall! So many ferns and got to see a bunch of salamanders at the base of the falls. We wish we would have brought our lunch out there to eat and spend more time by the waterfall.

The hike itself is easy and the views are stunning especially in fall. However the forest service trail up took a long time and was a bit harrowing at sections. I would have rather hiked longer and avoided that. Won’t be back.

Stunning views from fields of wild flowers!

Easy trail but beautiful scenery with a gorgeous waterfall

Great trail even after it rained for 4 straight days. Listed as moderate but isn’t any worse then the easy trails. Right side of the lower loop is currently closed due to all the rain wiping out a section of steps leading back to the parking lot from the upper section of the lower loop. We ignored signs but came upon workers resigning the steps so decided to turn back and go around. Lot of nice trail we would’ve missed tho had we not gone down. Highly recommend this trail

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

Really awesome hike! Falls are incredible! Highly recommended!

Quick and easy hike with some good views.

walking
13 days ago

An easy walk to a very scenic waterfall. I want to take my grandkids.

Great hike awesome falls!

Beautiful falls! Great hike.

Marvelous
We hiked this trail days after a tremendous amount of rain fell in the area. There were several stream crossings but easily passable. Rainbow Falls was simply amazing with the enormous amount of water passing over the ledge. The spray from the falls was so thick I may as well been standing under the falls. Turtleback Falls is another can't miss. The trail is well maintained and the surroundings are unsurprisingly beautiful. Just go.

Beautiful view of tallest falls in North America

Great trail to bike. The red trail was a little muddy yesterday afternoon

hiking
18 days ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer

I initially rated this trail as 2 stars with respect to landscape photography. And that assessment still stands. There just aren't any impressive views from the summit. Pick Huckleberry Knob instead.

But if you like wildflowers, especially Flame Azaleas, then this is one of the best hikes you can take. I counted 30+ Azalea bushes. They start to bloom the first week of June, but you really want to wait until mid-June for most of them to bloom.

If you want to see the best Azaleas then you want to hike Gregory Bald. But it's 11.6 miles and 3359' elevation gain and takes all day to hike. This hike is only 1.6 miles with less then 200' gain. And the Azaleas are just as pretty, but you won't see the hybrid colors that are unique to Gregory Bald.

hiking
18 days ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The hike is easy, short, paved and ADA accessible.

But it's disappointing if your goal is landscape photography. At the end of the trail is a viewing platform in the trees with a limited view of the mountains beyond. There's really only one composition as the platform is small and tress are beginning to crowd out the view. A better option is to walk west along the parkway for about 100 yards from the parking lot. You'll get a better view unobstructed by trees and have more composition options.

Unless you have the need to stretch your legs, I'd skip this location and spend your limited photography time at other locations.

This is a paved trail in and near downtown Franklin with multiple points of access. It is great asset to the community that offers access to fishing, wildlife, a view of the Little Tennessee River, dog park, and 2 playgrounds. For those seeking a little solitude head to the southernmost section adjacent to Cartoogechaye Creek. Sorry, NO waterfall!

hiking
26 days ago

My husband and I very much enjoyed this trail. It was as easy to navigate and the markers along the way were very educational. It was pouring rain when we went but the falls are definitely worth the hike (even in the rain).

We have been here a few times now. We took our newborn in the stroller last time. The paved trail is perfect for this. Great views!

Great hike! Great views! Unique experience with cabled fences on the bald spots on the mountain. Would definitely go again.

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