nature trips


dogs on leash

wild flowers

trail running


kid friendly


mountain biking




dog friendly


horseback riding


With 531,270 acres in Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Jackson, Clay, and Swain counties, Nantahala National Forest is the largest of North Carolina's four national forests. The park features many western North Carolina waterfalls and the final stretch of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway winds it's way through this forest. The word "Nantahala" is a Cherokee word that translates to "Land of the Noonday Sun. Three Wilderness areas are located within the Nantahala National Forest. Ellicott Rock Wilderness is located near Highlands, North Carolina, the Southern Nantahala Wilderness is in the Tusquitee and Nantahala Ranger District, and there is also the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness. The Nantahala Ranger District includes attractions such as Standing Indian Mountain, the Nantahala Gorge and Wayah Bald. The Nantahala National Forest offers easy access to a wide variety of recreation options. While it is well known for it's hiking and mountain biking, it also has great trout fishing in the Nantahala River. There are also great opportunities for off road driving. The most famous off road driving area is the Tellico OHV area in the Tusquitee Ranger District, and there is also an OHV area in the Nantahala Ranger District.

I was wildly unimpressed with this trail. For starters there is a bus in the parking lot, ( which is way down a gravel road) The bus has people and dogs sleeping in it, and some of the dogs run out to “greet you” (bark aggressively). Once I made it past that the trail starts nice enough. Wide, rushing creek waters. It progressively goes downhill. The last mile or so the trail has several downed trees that for a short person were difficult to cross, and then it is SO narrow and SO overgrown, you cannot see where the trail is! Both my dog and I slipped off the side several times. Now, not only is the trail super overgrown with grass and other plants, but many of these plants have briars. My legs look like I had a fight with a wildcat. At some point in the overgrowth my dog stepped on a small snake- it slithered off, thank goodness, but by that point I told myself it we aren’t .25 or less from the top, we are turning around. We made it to the top and the views are fine. There is a shelter there too. I would have continued on one way or the other but the trail there was overgrown too. We hustled down. I was done. Overall this is really an easy trail as far an ascent. It is never so steep that I was out of breath. A very gradual climb. Honestly, Unless you hear of someone coming in with a weed whacker, I’d skip it.

Great easy hike!

So beautiful following the fairy dust trails! Views clear as day!

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.

1 day ago

Most of this “hike” is a steep paved walk to the trailhead. It’s been a really rainy season and a wet day, but even so, the trail was essentially a mud pit/ creek run off. We turned around before the vista because it was just too slippery.

1 day ago

Short hike right off road. Expect crowds particularly on weekends/holidays. Nice little waterfall and swimming area.

We got up there right as clouds/fog rolled in, so we couldn't see anything. Notthe first time hiking trail thankfully. Beautiful views if the weather is good. Relatively easy trail with great views so expect heavy traffic on weekends/holidays.

Trail is well marked,and maintained. No water access from viewing platforms, but nice area to spash around at the bottom. The trek back to the top is most challenging, and the last leg of the trail has a bunch of tree roots. Very diverse group on the trail, everyone was fine though, moderate.

beautiful trail and views it's a little steep but worth the effort

An easy little hike with several different platforms to admire the falls. The last fall is not nearly as impressive as the first two.

3 days ago

these directions are wrong. loafers glory is on SR 1442, not 1448.

Great hike. Kinda busy on a hot day but I wouldn’t have considered it crowded at any time. Falls were impressive. I definitely went over the falls for a nice refreshing 55 degree cooldown lol.
Tons of places to peel off and just sit by the rapids and find your inner zen.

This trail is one that offers great vistas time and time again. There is an option to either hike the more technical trail to the right or take the gravel path to the left. We took the gravel path to the left on the way up and decided on the more rewarding technical trail on the way down. Don’t miss the technical trail because that is where the vistas are. It is crowded up there, but for good reason. I would definitely go back.

5 days ago

Nice easy trip down. Beautiful falls. Make sure you continue down to see all of the viewing areas. Saw a black snake tumble down the falls only to find rest on a rock a little shaken but fine. Nice to see from afar.

Excellent trail well worth the hike. Go during the week. Early morning is best. If not be prepared for large crowds of swimmers. Hiked it in about 2.5 hrs and that was with stopping for some pics. Make sure to hit both falls as the 2nd one is only a short hike from rainbow.

My husband, dog, and I completed this hike earlier today. There is parking right by the trial. We went around 1:00 on a weekday and we were the only ones on the trail at the time (a couple of cars pulled up as we were heading out). Great workout (but watch your step as some roots can be easily tripped on). Pretty view of falls and not too long of a trail.

Great trail with great views/. Gravel road is A LOT easier than the trail. I would recommend taking the gravel road up to the top and come down the more difficult trail so you know what you are getting into before trying the more difficult trail...if you are unsure about which way to go.

trail isn't overgrown or full of poison ivy. we read that review, decided to hike it anyways, and to our pleasant surprise it was amazing today. definitely hard work, but well worth it.

Great afternoon hike with a spectacular view of the falls. There are a few stop offs on the way to the base that are excellent for swimming.

7 days ago

Short trail that ends at a beautiful waterfall. We let the dogs swim in the pool at its base for a bit. There’s room for 4 or 5 cars to park at the side of the road, but it wasn’t crowded on Tuesday morning.

The gravel trail was pretty easy for us and our dogs. Based on advice of other hikers, we took the dogs back down the way we came instead of down the steps.

wonderful walkway and amazing swimming hole that is just the right depth for kids.

mountain biking
7 days ago

Great flowing trails. Actual mileage of all trails is more than 14 miles. Will definitely go again.

July 3, 2018. Enjoyed this trail with 11 and 13 year olds -- 4 hours to summit and back including snack and rest at the top. It was definitely a moderate hike, challenging but fun -- no climbing over boulders.

Beautiful waterfalls! Lots of people...

Very pretty, loved the small waterfalls and sandy beach areas to chill. Saw a bear cub, luckily momma bear didn't appear. Diverse terrain. Lots of trails that can be confusing. Make sure you have a good map!

awesome view!

This trail starts with a bit of a muddy and rocky decline, but soon you’ll start to hear the rapids before you come upon the AMAZING rainbow falls. Wow. What a force of nature. Go to the viewing platform to get a good misting before continuing on to Turtleback falls. These falls are also beautiful and can be fun to play in but beware! Unfortunately people have been swept away doing this. I would like to note that this is a HIKE to waterfalls. Please bring water and appropriate footwear. I saw many people without supplies and wearing flip flops on this trail and they were struggling.

Easy to moderate. Great views.

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