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.

23 hours ago

Incredible hike with a gorgeous view. This trail will separate the casual hikers from the more serious enthusiasts in my opinion. The map at the trail head of Cole Gap stated that is was only 5 miles to the fire tower..... I don’t have a fit bit or a Garmin watch but this trail felt way longer than 10 miles RT. I hiked at an aggressive pace and it took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the tower. It was worth the burn to get there.... and it felt like a long hike as others have stated. There were definitely many sections of downhill and traversing to let your legs rest, so the return hike was just as tough. Getting back took some reserve energy, and the return hike took me close to the same amount of time as it did to arrive. Pack some water and a few snack bars and get after it!! Highly recommended!

We camped near a waterfall and hiked to other falls, nice area with several trails

Nice! Usually a crowd in warmer months.

Nice little trail. From the map it looks like you hike on the road but you don’t thankfully. It’s on the ridge right above the road.

Super easy hike, really short. There are some giant trees just off the trail that are really neat!

Nice short hike, beautiful scenery!

Incredible views! I have been twice and the scenic hike is a great break from driving on the skyway or a complement to hiking the nearby Joyce Kilmer Forest. Would highly recommend. Very easy going, nice picnic spot and blueberries ripening in the summer months.

Gorgeous hike! We went on this trail after it had rained a full day, resulting in rushing waterways. Quick walk to see beautiful scenery. Our Yorkies loved it as well.

Great easy walk to a great view. Most of this trail is on a paved road through a neighborhood... you can drive all the way to the top (past the signs that tell you not to) and it makes this about a .5 mile walk out and back.

Beautiful Rhododendron covered tunnel trail most of the way. Great views of the fall foliage off of the side trails and at the top. Met a few adventurous climbers rappelling over the beautiful rock face who were more than happy to show us how its done. Today the road was in great shape for our little Kia Soul to travel on.

Great hike, uphill the whole way! Make sure to turn left at the “William’s Pulpit” sign to get to the overlook... Bartram Trail continues for another 100 miles. Great views! Hike has a few waterfalls along the way too.

Absolutely awesome 5 miles with a first teaser view at Jones Knob, where you can see the cliffs of Whiterock Mtn. Then back down and onward, the trail is pretty level most of the way, then you come to a fork with the Bartram Trail and only .3 miles left to the top and cliffs of Whiterock Mtn. Make sure you go down to the end of the trail for the payoff. Take a picnic lunch. It's a great place for admiring the views. The trailhead has been corrected. Start at Jones Gap at the end of the gravel road at the small parking area and start uphill to the right. Highly recommended.

Numerous beautiful views on this < 2 hr loop trail. A little muddy today and lots of fellow hikers but worth it

Moderate climb first half outbound. Much of it thru a tunnel of rhododendrons. Multiple balds to the right for a beautiful view. Only down side is the 3 mile unpaved trip to the trailhead (also beautiful) and the traffic on the trail. This trail is no secret - still worth it!

Awesome view!

Wonderful hike! Will be a regular hike! Views are great!

Gorgeous falls, fantastic viewing area, perfect for everyone!!

15 days ago

First off awesome, burning hike. Lots of ups and downs and long. Be prepared with water and food! Start of hike is fairly simple, then long downhill which means back up on the return. Seems like it takes forever to reach fire tower, but what a site if you have a clear day. Fall is the best time. Hiked this past weekend, 29 degrees on the top. Just perfect.

Did this hike in early November 2018.... Great five mile climb that is moderately difficult, last quarter of a mile is the toughest. The mileage is wrong as it is calculated using GPS and doesn’t add in the distance caused by altitude gain. This adds .3 of a mile.

Wonderful view at the top!!!

Fun little loop with streams

Never tire of this one. A lot of "view" for such an ez hike & always changing. Haven't seen the same view twice.

Easy walk and some parking space. Love it!

Absolutely Beautiful, seeing the cycles of life and death, a humbling experience of Divinity!

A real hidden gem. One of the best views I’ve seen in the area. Very windy at the top though

The actual trail is kind of hidden to the right once you get on the gravel path. Make sure you don't keep walking down the gravel path because that is not the trail.

Great views. Easy trail

Great hike and 360
View. Very windy.

Great trail! Well marked and easy to park and use.

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