- The National Forests of North Carolina include four national forests covering 1.2 million acres, from the mountains to the sea. The Nantahala is located in the Appalachians of southwest North Carolina. The Nantahala is the largest of the four forests, totaling 528,541 acres. The Nantahala sits adjacent to Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Mountains on the National Forests of North Carolina
The Nantahala lies in the mountains and valleys, between Waynesville and Murphy. Three designated Wildernesses and two Wild and Scenic Rivers are located on the Forest. Three picturesque reservoirs in beautiful mountain settings provide boating, water-skiing, fishing and swimming. The Nantahala is the home of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, one of the nations most impressive remnants of old-growth forest.
Mountain Waters Scenic Byway and Cherohala Skyway both lead through the Nantahala. Mountain Waters is a 61-mile drive through Appalachian hardwood forests, rural countryside, and two spectacular river gorges complete with waterfalls. The Cherohala Skyway winds along the crest of the Unaka Mountains, from Robbinsville, North Carolina to Tellico Plains, Tennessee.
There are several scenic waterfalls in the Highlands area: Whitewater Falls, Silver Run Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls. Whitewater Falls is the highest falls east of the Rockies. Bridal Veil is a 120 foot falls you can drive your car under. You can walk behind the 75-foot Dry Falls without getting wet.
The Appalachian Trail leads through the Nantahala as well as the Pisgah National Forests. The Bartram Trail is a national recreation trail that travels across the mountains of South Carolina, Georgia, and the Nantahala in North Carolina.
Recreation - The Nantahala offers a wide variety of recreation activities including, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, hunting, fishing, rafting, canoeing, scenic driving and more. Campgrounds are located throughout the Forest offering developed to primitive sites.
Climate - The climate of the North Carolina mountains is temperate with moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons. October has the least rainfall, July the most. Snowfall is quite variable from year to year, and some winters have relatively little. Thunderstorms occur most frequently in spring and summer but can occur in any month.
The Nantahala National Forest sits at the western end of North Carolina. It is bordered by Great Smokey Mountains National Park on the north, the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee on the west, and the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia and Sumter National Forest in South Carolina on the south. The Nantahala has offices in Robbinsville, Murphy, Highlands and Franklin, North Carolina.