The Nantahala National Forest encompasses more than a half-million acres of pristine woodlands, with elevations from a high of 5,800 feet to a low of 1,200 feet. The NNF is the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina. Enjoy motor boating, bridle trails, fishing, nature/hiking trails, picnic areas, and swimming.

One of the NNF's many attractions, Whitewater Falls near Cashiers, is the highest falls east of the Mississippi. It's accessed by way of a steep, 1.0 mile trail through a cove forest, beginning at the overlook for the falls, and descending to a bridge crossing the Whitewater River.

“Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “land of the noon day sun,” a fitting name for the Nantahala Gorge, where the sun only reaches to the valley floor at midday.

The Nantahala River is popular for whitewater rafting with numerous outfitters available.