NCNatural's NC National Forests
Nantahala National Forest
( is NOT affiliated with the National Forest Service.)

Mountains surpassing 5000 feet, cascading waterfalls, towering hardwood forests and whitewater foaming over the backs of boulders--these are the sights awaiting you in the Nantahala National Forest. Enjoy the panoramic views from Whiteside Mountain or Wayah Bald. A 2-mile loop trail to the top of the Whiteside cliffs, provides a spectacular view. Wayah Bald is especially beautiful in June when the azaleas and laurel bloom. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, with it's 400-year old trees, is another breathtaking sight, as is Whitewater Falls - the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains.

Highlights of the Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala National Forest Map and facilities list
Nantahala facilities information including day-use, camping and picnicking.

The Nantahala River
The feature attraction of the region is a magnificent river gorge. Nantahala means "land of the noonday sun" because the steep gorge only gets direct sunlight during the middle of the day. The Nantahala River is a mecca for whitewater sports enthusiasts. You can bring your own kayak or raft, or rent one when you get there.

Mountain Waters National Scenic Byway-
Some of the most beautiful and spectacular scenery in the southern Appalachians includes two river gorges and rural countryside. There is easy access to a wide variety of adventure on this 61.3 mile drive that winds through southern Appalachian hardwood forest, two spectacular river gorges, and rural countryside. From Highlands to Almond, the route follows US 64, old US 64, NC 1310, and US 19 through Nantahala National Forest. For the first 7.5 miles, the by-way travels through picturesque Cullasaja Gorge. The winding road parallels the river's most rugged course and offers scenic views of the river and waterfalls. If you stop at Bridal Veil Falls along the way, your car can get a natural car wash.

Hiking Trails-
Hundreds of miles of hiking trails wind through Nantahala. It's a great place to enjoy the peace and wonder of nature, whatever your hiking ability.

Camping -
The Nantahala National Forest offers full-featured campgrounds as well as primitive and group campgrounds. Visit the National Forest Map and Facilities page for locations of campgrounds. Get the official NFS info for mountain camping (PDF format) and info about reserving sites. We do not make reservations for camping, nor do we have anything else to do with the campgrounds.

Tsali Recreation Area-
Bike and Horse area on Fontana Lake, also offers camping and boat launch facilities.

Joyce Kilmer / Slickrock area
No poetry is likely to convey the magnificence of the southern Appalachian virgin hardwood forest that you will find in the memorial forest named for the author of the poem "Trees".

Waterfalls, Lakes & Rivers
The Nantahala National Forest is a great place for water lovers. Along with the namesake river and gorge, there are impressive waterfalls, including the highest waterfall in the east - Whitewater Falls.


Ranger Stations More Nantahala National Forest Info
  • Cheoah Ranger District
    Route 1, Box 16-A
    Robbinsville, NC 28771
    (828) 479-6431
    On US 129, north of Robbinsville.

  • Highlands Ranger District
    2010 Flat Mountain Rd.
    Highlands, NC 28741
    (828) 526-3765
    Just off US 64, east of Highlands.
  • Tusquitee Ranger District
    201 Woodland Dr.
    Murphy, NC 28906
    (828) 837-5152
    Off US 64, east of Murphy.

  • Wayah Ranger District
    90 Sloan Rd.
    Franklin, NC 28734
    (828) 524-6441
    Turn at sign on US 614, west of Franklin.


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