Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Beautiful day - excellent trail - very challenging!

It had been raining a few days so naturally the trail was wet and muddy. Very green, lots of trees and vegitaion, it was a beautiful hike. The falls are pretty sweet.

Great hike! Other than a few rattlesnakes it was spectacular!

An incredible hike with an incredible view! Being from South Florida, the elevation was quite difficult to adjust to but the view was definitely worth it! Also totally recommend hiking up to slide down turtle back falls.

Super fun trail, with great views if you enjoy waterfalls, and natural streams! It had a good amount of hills to walk up so be advised young children (under like 6) could get tuckered out on the hike back. Overall 4 mile round trip.

Went a while back really enjoyed! A lot of people!

hiking
18 days ago

Love this trail and love this website. However... dogs are NOT welcome on this trail even on a leash. The ONLY two trails in the park that allow dogs are Oconaluftee River trail on the NC side and Gatlinburg Trail on the TN side. Don't know where that info came from. It is absolutely false.

Wow. Great run/hike. Enjoyed this one lots! What a view on a clear day

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.

Mostly uphill. Trails are not clearly marked so it's easy to get confused. Trail had lots of tree stumps and rocks. Great bathing area for dogs and kids once you get to the Schoolhouse Waterfall.
Not a huge summit but a great place to hike to just for the view.

Beautiful falls, especially after several days of heavy rain. Not a rough hike, but definitely merits a moderate rating. Great places to rest by the falls and take in the view from a well-placed hammock.

Was a beautiful and amazing hike. last 15 minutes got me but well worth the veiw!!!

Wow! The falls are so impressive. The hike was super easy — all downhill until you get to the area just before falls. It’s just a short climb that’s mostly fueled by the adrenaline you get from the sounds of rushing water and the anticipation of seeing the waterfall. I was worried that the return trip would be exhausting since it’s mostly uphill to the parking lot but the incline is gradual. Next time I would plan a trail run here!

We've done a good number of trails in the area and this one is still hands down our favorite. It's a bit of a harder hike if you're not in shape/prepared, but 100% worth it. These are still the coolest falls that we've seen in a long time and I would absolutely do this hike again in a heartbeat. This app also says you cannot take dogs on it, but we took our lab and ran into no issues with that. We even saw other dogs on the trail.

25 days ago

This trail was very cool- you start off on the top of a waterfall and zig zag your way down. You run into the waterfall about 3-4 times at different spots on the way down and get to play in a pool at the bottom of the falls. This was a perfect hike to bring a water dog on!

What an amazing view! It was worth the drive up for sure! It’s a little steep but doable. We went for a family outing, my husband, our daughter, our 6 month old son, and myself. I carried our son and our five year old was able to do the whole hike. Loved every minute of it. Highly recommend, even if you just go up the paved route to the look out over the falls, worth the trip!

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Very well marked trail. Some trees are down after Irma.
Pretty sleep elevation gain, so it was a great work out. We did it on a foggy rainy Sunday and didn’t meet any single person.
Flowers along the way and mossy trees.

Beautiful hike and amazing views at the top.

Rather easy, less than 1000 feet elevation gain trail.
We were here on a weekend , so met some people but it was not crowded.
Beautiful waterfalls.
The whole trail sparkles! You need to witness it in order to understand it.
Be prepared for several water crossings specially in wet season. .

backpacking
1 month ago

Great hike with wonderful views from on top of the wall to below the wall. Good amount of campsites, some with water sources and some without. Only problem is the bears in the area. They will come into your camp and they are accustom to human interaction, so trying to scare them off is a bit more difficult. Just come prepared for bears if you are camping and it should be fine.

Okay trial. Panthertown Valley Trail is really a (closed) service road and frequented by mountain bikers. For hikers, it may be best to use Panthertown as a connector as you criss-cross between other trails with more to see and fewer bikes zooming by.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Really, really enjoyed this trail. It is a very consistent incline for the entirety of the way up the mountain. You do cross a few felled trees and various streams but all were easy to navigate. The trail had some great forest views-- it was extremely peaceful and we met only one other person on the trail. The trail itself is extremely narrow for the vast majority of the hike, only about 1 foot wide. The trail does criss cross along the side of the mountain so I would be mindful if you have a fear of heights or narrow walkways. Otherwise, it was fantastic!

hiking
1 month 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)

It was a great day hike trail. Not mark very great, but me and some friends managed. One thing that did catch us off guard is that to get to the trail head, there is a ~5 mile long gravel road stretch that essentially takes you halfway up the mountain.

nature trips
1 month ago

Not a bad loop. Good for a warm up quick nature hike

Rainbow and Turtleback are gorgeous. lots of stair climbing and elevation changes (103 floors per my fitbit) but its all worth it. My 8 year old and I enjoyed the trail, waterfalls and all the cool spots to walk out on the rocks in the river.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike 3/31/18 and trail was clear of any remaining blowdowns. Great view as always from the tower. My dogs LOVE this trail because it follows the creek for a good bit of the way so they can get a drink whenever they need to.

Nice trail, lots of up hill & steps, but pretty waterfalls at the end. ~4 miles, 1.5 hours

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