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Hike and Bike the trals near the Nantahala River

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With 40 percent of the national park in Swain County, many National Park trails are easily accessible from Bryson City, just minutes from Nantahala Village. You’ll find a number of hiking trails in the Deep Creek area of the Park, just two miles north of town, and also off Lakeview Drive (the “Road to Nowhere”) six miles north of Bryson City.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail stretches through Swain County from south of the Nantahala Gorge; across Fontana Dam and then follows the highest ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park past Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap on its way to Maine. You can access the trail at Wesser in the Nantahala Gorge, just three miles from Nantahala Village. 

Bartram Trail

Roughly ten miles from Nantahala Village there is an entrance to the Memorial Bartram Trail. From the Nantahala River the Bartram trail climbs to the summit of Cheoah Bald, and ends there. Going the other directions, the Bartram Trail winds through private lands to the Nantahala Lake, and then joins the Appalachian Trail until it reaches Wayah Bald, which, at 5385 feet, is the highest point on the trail.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

This magnificent 3800-acre forest is a remnant of an old growth cove hardwood forest. Enormous yellow poplar, hemlock, basswood, beech and other trees tower over the two loop trails. In this most beautiful setting virgin trees grow more than 100 feet tall and some 20 feet around the base. Many of the huge trees are hundreds of years old. The Joyce Kilmer Forest is located in Graham County approximately 45 minutes from Nantahala Village. Walking trails inside the Memorial Forest are suitable for all ages. \


The popular Tsali Recreation Area has long been considered a top destination for mountain biking in Western North Carolina, and even the entire eastern US. Containing nearly 40 miles of trails in a system with four excellent loops, it has been rated as one of the top 10 places to ride in the USA. Three designated overlooks along the trails provide sweeping views of Fontana Lake with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other side.
The trails are fast, hardpacked singletrack and extremely well designed and well used. Trails alternate use between mountain bikers and horseback riders on different days; two will always be open to mountain biking. There is a $2.00 trail use fee for one day.  You can be biking in Tsali within 15 minutes of leaving Nantahala Village.