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PLEASE NOTE! The entire USGS early series maps are now online at TopoZone! Oh, my... to be able to look up an area and really KNOW the place. Check it out! While really it's the poor-man's substitute for the real thing, it's a great place to go mapping while sitting in that armchair. Great planning tool!

Pisgah & Nantahala Forests Hikes

Don't forget to check my Hikes page.

Kdarnell (we never get to know who s/he is), has some good hikes in the area, described and rated which include Nantahala Forest hikes, also some East Tennessee hikes... shares with me the value of staying away from the Great Smoky National Park simply because of the throngs that visit.

Several Pisgah and Nantahala hikes are described by the Gorp corporation. GORP stands for Great Outdoors Recreation Pages, but is a commercial site trying to sell you their guides/books/travel stuff. That being said, it's also a great site of resources for hiking, scenic drives, and many other outdoor adventures Also, a nice description of the Craggy Gardens area, Shining Rock, and Black Mountain Crest trails with maps.

Alex Netherton, of the Appalachian Naturalist, has some good information on the hikes around in the Pisgah area and thereabouts. His focus is frogs and snakes, so you'll get good info on mountain bogs and things like that. His site has other good information too.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest has several interpretive trails. While not exactly hikes, they are informative strolls and good for the family outing.

In Adventure in the Smokies is a description of by Joann Swofford's day hike in the Pink Beds of Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah. They probably have hike descriptions of the Smokies, too, but i didn't find them. Also Darcia Bondurant's description of a hike up Cold Mountain can be useful, especially if you don't see the apple tree that marks the turn...

Graham County is proud enough of its beautiful hiking to include quite a few trail descriptions and many helpful hints along the way. A pretty site with many beautiful hikes in the Nantahala NF. Wonderful and helpful maps of each section are included.

On the site of the old 'Asheville Zoo,' the WNC Nature Center is a great resource for nature in the area. Naturalist notes, printable fact sheets and teacher resources abound here. Timely news and a calendar of events (along with weather info and an admonition to dress appropriately) make this site really the complete guide to visiting this wonderful place. There's a "hands on" Nature Lab and Educational Farm with petting area. A fun place to visit, online or in person!

Another Western NC'er and naturalist who offers very reasonably-priced walks is Scott Dean. Despite his tendency to volunteer a lot, he still manages to get in a great deal of wildflower and native-plant walks. A storehouse of interesting information (science, lore, and fun little-known stuff), Scott leads wonderful walks that sometimes slow down to a crawl because of all the stuff he's anxious to tell you. An infectious spirit whom i'm proud to have walked the woods with. Contact him via e-mail or his address below for a schedule of his walks:
Western North Carolina . . . Naturally
Scott Dean
PO Box 1535
Weaverville NC 28787
or phone 828-658-3375

Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes has a list of hikes beginning near or at the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a list only, and not detailed information. Still, it's a place to start.


Great Smoky National Park Hikes

Rod's guide to the Smoky Mountain hiking includes 6 popular hikes in the Smokies, well detailed, along with information about specifics to hiking the area. His site also includes info on fishing, events, maps and FAQ's, so it's not just about hikes, but the hike descriptions are good.

Gorp also has some good information about hiking in the Smokies.

Other Hiking in Western NC

The trails of Macon county are detailed by length on the Macon County Webpage, has quite a few listed and have good directions.


Great Hiking Tips and Equipment and Stuff

The Campsite is full of information about hiking and camping that is directed to, but not solely beneficial to the beginning hiker/camper. Includes a brief description of the main trail of Shining Rock Wilderness area (Pisgha NF).

See also my Misc Links page which has some equipment stores.



Jordan Mitchell has a great Mountain Bike site for WNC, appropriately called Mountain Biking in Western NC. Besides great trail rides and some not-so-common ones, he has instructive pages on how to view USGS maps and make the most of them, He is sensitive to the bike's impact on both the environment and the human directing it, and has a simply lovely section of photos taken around the area. A must read if you intend to bike the area, and not-too-shabby place to go if you're planning to hike these areas (or just wanna armchair hike - i guess that's called - virtual backpacking)



Curtis Krumel's wonderful homepage has quite a few pictures of local waterfalls, done well, and thumbnailed to preview. He also has information on hikes in the area, and he gives great advice, like "You can't see the falls from the top - Don't go there." and my favorite " Mooing at cows in a roadside pasture is not funny the first time." Nice place to sit and view the falls. Hopefully it'll help get everybody out to view them for real.

Randy's Index is a great source of waterfall pictures not only from WNC, but Georgia and SC too.He takes some gorgeous pictures and has over xx photos of NC waterfalls alone. Like this site, there's a download lag, but trust me, it's worth it. I have had trouble accessing the site occasionally... probably because it's AOL, or perhaps because of a javascript copyright disclaimer before each image that sometimes just hangs up.



The Pisgah Inn is an inn (and the only gas station for many miles) along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Waynesville. Next to Pisgah Mountain it has a restaurant and is a fine place to stay, though i never have. Just heard nice things. Open April - October

The Blue Ride Parkway is a great place for viewing wildflowers, and has some of those flowers marked by mileposts along its route. Great for going to find exactly what you want to see when. Helpful map of the parkway, too, with places to see, eat, gas up and stay.

Other Blue Ridge Parkway sites: