Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala National Forest
Nantahala National Forest (Bill Russ/North Carolina Tourism)

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the Nantahala National Forest, spread throughout the four Ranger Districts. To access detailed trail descriptions, select a Ranger District from the following list:

Cheoah Ranger District
Highlands Ranger District
Tusquitee Ranger District
Wayah Ranger District
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest Hiking

Maple Springs Observation Point is designed for use by the handicapped, a short, 900-foot loop trail provides a spectacular panorama of Lake Santeetlah, much of the Cheoah Ranger District and the Great Smoky Mountains at a distance.

Standing Indian Basin is regionally known for its many attractions. The Standing Indian Basin provides an abundance of wildlife and recreational opportunities. A campground for tents or self-contained campers can provide an outpost while visitors enjoy blue ribbon trout streams, horse trails, loop trails for hikers, and waterfalls. Visit the Wasilik Poplar, an eight-foot diameter yellow-poplar, which is the second largest yellow-poplar known in the United States. Take a two-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail to Standing Indian Mountain to view the remains of "the Standing Indian," who legend says was turned to a pillar of stone because he neglected his tribal duties. Situated adjacent to Southern Nantahala Wilderness and Coweeta Experimental Forest, the area offers a diverse combination of outdoor activities. The area is located off U.S. Highway 64 south at Rainbow Springs on Forest Road 67.

More on trails in Standing Indian Basin

Wayah Bald has a vantage point 5,200 feet high where, on a clear day, you can see north to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and south into the rolling hills of Georgia. At Wayah Bald, visitors can climb an old fire tower, built in the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps, to witness panoramic views of the southern Appalachian mountain chain. Visitors are welcome to visit the 1916 Wilson Lick Ranger Station, situated along Forest Road 69, to view the buildings and photographs depicting the history of the first Ranger Station in the Nantahala National Forest. Access off U.S. Highway 64 to N.C. 1310 and then Forest Service Road 69 to the top of the mountain (steep, gravel road).

The Cradle of Forestry is an experience for the entire family to enjoy. Nestled beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway, in the Pisgah National Forest, this unique historic site allows you to explore the roots and branches of American forestry. You can see the rustic campus of the first forestry school, walk a forested trail to an old logging locomotive, and learn about the forest ecosystem and its management at the Forest Discovery Center. The Cradle is open from May through October, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is free for all visitors on Tuesdays. For more information and a schedule of special events, please call 704-877-3130 or write to Cradle of Forestry, 1001 Pisgah Hwy., Pisgah Forest, NC 28768.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 11 Oct 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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