Devils Courthouse Spur Trail

Nantahala National Forest Hikes

Nantahala National Forest and its 530,000-acres in the extreme southwestern portion of the state is taking up more and more of my attention.  Though I live a mere 15 miles from its eastern border I hadn't paid it all that much attention until late.  All that has changed now and, dare I say it, I might be spending more time here now than in Pisgah!  Explore a bit and you'll discover why I've become so obsessed...

Adventure Log:  215.3 miles

Most of the galleries below have two numbers in parenthesis alongside their name. The first is the TOTAL MILEAGE of the route, the second is what I’m calling the “Petzoldt Rating” of DIFFICULTY. Developed by Paul Petzoldt, founder of NOLS, this rating system is the best I’ve found for standardizing the difficulty of hikes. It works as follows: One ‘energy unit’ is given for very mile travelled on flat terrain. You then add one more ‘energy unit’ for every 500-feet of elevation gain. For example, a one mile hike with 1,000-feet of gain would give you a rating of 3.00. Consequently a two mile hike with only 500-feet of gain would also give you a rating of 3.00. Please note, however, these ratings do not take into account weather, rough terrain, fitness level, etc. I’ve divided levels of difficulty into five levels, based on the following Petzoldt difficulty ranges:





10.00-12.49=VERY HARD;

12.50 & up=EXTREME

CLICK HERE for a Google map of hikes in these albums...


Nantahala National Forest Hikes by Difficulty Rating

Yellow Mountain Lookout  (17.90)

Panthertown Valley Crown Loop  (17.00)

Snowbird Creek Waterfalls  (14.68)

Wayah Bald from Burningtown Gap  (13.20)

Panthertown Valley - High Bethel Loop  (12.50)

The Thompson River - High Falls & Big Falls  (12.30)

Sylva Pinnacle  (11.22)

Caney Fork Valley Waterfalls  (10.96)

Panthertown Valley - Laurel Knob  (8.30)

Blackrock Mountain  (8.10)

Standing Indian Mountain  (8.10)

Siler Bald  (7.56)

Panthertown Valley - Little Green Mountain & Greenland Creek  (7.10)

Jones Rock & Waterrock Knob  (6.96)

Panthertown Valley - Little Green Mountain  (6.90)

Big Scaly Mountain & The Catstairs  (6.25)

Panthertown Valley - Dismal Falls  (6.10)

Chinquapin Mountain  (4.80)

Whiteside Mountain & Devils Courthouse  (4.50)

Albert Mountain  (4.40)

Panthertown Valley - Blackrock Mountain  (4.40)

Cedar Cliff Mountain  (4.16)

Panthertown Valley - West Side Waterfall Loop  (3.90)

Wesser Bald  (3.86)

Ranger Falls Loop  (3.60)

Huckleberry Knob  (3.30)

High (Cullowhee) Falls  (3.24)

Jackrabbit Mountain Trail  (3.20)

Waterrock Knob  (3.14)

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest  (2.80)

Paradise Falls & Upper Sol's Creek Falls  (2.50)

Panthertown Valley - Greenland Creek Falls  (2.40)

Wayah Bald & Rufus Morgan Falls  (2.40)

Panther Top Mountain  (2.32)

Pickens Nose  (1.94)

Lake Cherokee  (1.70)

Cowee Bald Lookout  (1.37)

Joanna Bald Lookout  (1.33)

Granite City  (1.32)