Looking for a great trail in Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina? AllTrails has 103 great hiking trails, running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 54 moderate trails in Nantahala National Forest ranging from 0.8 to 19.1 miles and from 1,597 to 5,748 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!




nature trips

dogs on leash

bird watching


wild flowers




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.

Me and my German Shepherd Emma pie had this trail and views at the top all to ourselves on Friday morning. Half paved, half gravel and a steady incline to the top. Follow previous suggestion and once you get to lot #14, the fire tower is a short walk on a well marked trail.

Great trail, however the road was a bit tricky if wet and you don’t have 4WD. (There were several vehicles in the parking area not 4WD.) The stream is beautiful with small waterfalls and this time of year is really nice. The trail is well maintained and clean. We loved it.

on Shot Pouch Falls

2 days ago

easy enjoyable hike along logging road. The falls are gorgeous.

Fantastic trail! Tons of creek crossing with beautiful and varied scenery throughout. Will definitely return, but with waterproof shoes meant for sinking mud! Be warned, however, for a portion of this trail “muddy” is an understatement... it was like walking through a small creek.

Hiking on a fire road until you get to the main falls. The first falls is right on the road, not bad. The main falls has no trail up to the falls. We had to make our own trail up the mountain. Thank goodnesses there was still no foliage! No way you will make it when all the leaves and vines are in bloom!! Probably strike this one off my list!!

Easy enough trail all up hill, the trail itself is a well maintained gravel road that you could drive a car up if it wasn't for the gates. Go here for the view at the end! Gorgeous 360 of the surrounding mountains, great pay off!

Nice Trail. However, Piney Knob Road is quite rough. Especially after foul weather. Be careful without a 4 WD. But, usually a 2 WD can make it on nice days.

4 days ago

Easy relaxing hike. My wife my 9 and 10 year old boys and our 2 dogs had a great time. Amazing view at tower. I wish it was a longer hike to tower. Trail is clean and maintained. Going back soon.

Beautiful day for a hike! Gorgeous Trail

4 days ago

Great views, easy trail, beautiful day!

Very nice moderate trail with some very nice views. Nice spot to catch a sunset.

My favorite trail at the Cherhola Skyway

7 days ago

Very nice hike with a beautiful 360 at the top. You will see a locked gate, and a small parking area on the right. Another locked gate to the left after a short hike up the gravel road. Well graded road. Beautiful winter views traveling to the top.

Hiked this today. My first time and I have to say it is one of my favorite hikes. The gravel road on the way up has some rough spots. You won't need a 4x4 but you're not getting up it in your Prius. It was a cool 54° and foggy day. I'll have to go back on a clearer day.

7 days ago

8 days ago

Awesome trail! Remote beautiful location at the end of Big Snowbird Rd. First 2.7 miles slight uphill to river crossing. Don’t cross river here. At abandoned panel wagon go left 100 ft. to foot bridge. Continue another .4 miles to start of loop trail. We took the switchback going clockwise entering loop. Another mile to Sassafras Falls. Bottom of falls has a great view. Top of falls a bit dangerous and hard to get a good view. Headed back from there as this is an 8 mile in/out at this point. We saw 1 fisherman, nobody else. 1st Saturday of Coronavirus Pandemic; where is everybody? Beautiful sunny 62 degree day. A little muddy but what river trail isn’t after above normal precipitation. Nothing you can’t maneuver around. Trail has been cleared, evidence of storm recently. Very clean, no trash.

We have done the Panthertown valley loop on two different occasions. You come across seven waterfalls in about an 11 mile trek. There are portions that are strenuous but it otherwise it’s fairly moderate. We love this hike so much and so do our dogs!

9 days ago

beautiful day with amazing views!

Super fun! We used this as a training tail with 20 pound ruck bags! Very well marked & well maintained. It started raining towards the end, we just threw on some ponchos and it was fine. Only saw 4 other people. Not remote (in a cute little neighborhood), so if you need to use your phone you can!

We definitely enjoyed this hike! Uphill all the way there with the last quarter mile being the steepest but most beautiful and worth it. Easy quick downhill coming back. Trek over small brooks & streams. Gorgeous panoramic views at the bald, including views of the Weser Bald to the north and the tallest mountain in the county to the south. Tips & advice: A quick turn off the road. Park in the small gravel lot with a sign that says “Wayah trail” and walk up past the picnic tables. You’ll come to a service road, but look to the right and follow the white-rectangle marked trail. That’s your way up! You’ll know you’ve neared the bald when you reach a large clearing and hill up on your right. Ascend there and enjoy being just shy of a mile high!

10 days ago

Nice, well-maintained trail. Good parking area. The Central Loop is a sort of hub that spokes out to three or four smaller, more difficult loops. Much of the Central Loop runs along the edge of a lake, with several opportunities to go slightly off trail to little beaches for a picnic. Take the loop clockwise if you want to save the beaches for the end. Not much elevation at all. The view of the lake was pretty nice but nothing breathtaking. It was a lovely spring day today and I saw four families during my walk. I will definitely be back soon. Near the end of the loop (I went counter-clockwise) there were a couple of unmarked “intersections” but I believe they were biking trails that led to the same place. I just followed the metal markers on the trees and made it through no problem. All junctions to the other loops were very well marked with small maps posted.

10 days ago

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