Best Hikes in Nantahala National Forest (NC)


Nantahala is the largest of 4 national forests in North Carolina covering over 530,000 acres. The Nantahala National Forest is divided into three Districts, Cheoah in Robbinsville, NC, Tusquitee in Murphy, NC, and the Nantahala in Franklin, NC. Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning “land of the noonday sun”.



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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Nantahala National Forest

  • Devils Courthouse Trail – 1.0 mile out and back
    Very short trail to the summit with panoramic views of NC, SC, GA, and TN.


  • Dry Falls Trail – 0.3 miles out and back
    Short trail that goes down to a beautiful waterfall and then back up; good for all skill levels.


  • Glenn Falls Trail #8 – 1.6 miles out and back
    Short hike to 3 separate waterfall overlooks that can be enjoyed by the entire family.


  • Panthertown Loop*** – 5.5 mile loop
    The Panthertown Valley is known as the ‘Yosemite of the East’ and has several circuit trails in the area worthy of hiking. Combining Mac’s Gap, Little Green, and Panthertown Valley Trails make for a tremendous loop with beautiful waterfalls and vantage points along the way.


  • The Pinnacle Trail*** – 7.4 mile loop
    Challenging and rewarding hike up with gorgeous views at the top of Pinnacle.


  • Waterrock Knob Trail – 1.0 miles out and backJust off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a short but steep hike to the top of Waterrock Knob that has incredible long-distance views.


  • Whiteside Mountain Trail*** – 2.0 mile loop
    Fairly moderate trail that climbs to the top of 750’ high cliffs offering scenic views all around. Whiteside mountain is a landmark spot along the Eastern Continental Divide.


  • Yellow Mountain Trail #5*** – 12.4 miles out and back
    Gradual climb up switchbacks to the top of Yellow Mountain where a historic fire tower awaits with breathtaking views.




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