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Asheville, NC: Nantahala Headwaters Loop

nc

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 24.8 miles


Hike 24.8 miles around the source of the Nantahala River on the Appalachian Trail and camp atop Albert Mountain for night-sky views. On night two, pitch your tent on 5,498-foot Standing Indian, a treeless bald with front-row sunset vistas.
  • View E from Mt Albert Panorama
  • View S from Mt Albert Panorama
  • View N from Mt Albert Panorama
  • View W from Mt Albert Panorama
  • Standing Indian Afternoon Panorama
  • Lake Chatuge from Standing Indian.jpg
  • Tallula River Basin Panorama.jpg
  • Standing Indian Panorama Southern Overloook.jpg
  • View SE from AT Panorama.jpg
  • Standing Indian Panorama Sunset.jpg
  • Standing Indian Panorama Sunset2.jpg
  • Standing Indian Panorama AM.jpg
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  • PICT3728.JPG
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  • PICT3828.JPG

From reader and map contributor kurtisk, this popular-for-a-reason loop hike circles the headwaters of the Nantahala River.

Text by Andrew Matranga. Mapped and Photographed by Steven Kruse

Plan it

Click to PRINT AND GO

GUIDEBOOK AND MAP Appalachian Trail Conservancy North Carolina/Georgia Guide #111; ($28, atctrailstore.org). Get ground-truthed advice for this route—or plan a 2,175-mile thru-hike with BACKPACKER’s Guide to the Appalachian Trail (free, backpacker.com/AT).

FEES/PERMITS None

CONTACT Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala Ranger District (828) 524-6441; fs.fed.us/r8/

CONDITIONS Water sources at shelters are reliable. At 4,000 feet, temperatures are pleasant from May to September. Target late May to early June for flowers and mid-October to early November for showy foliage.

GPS DATA Download tracks and waypoints, print or order custom topos, from the menu on the right.

LOCAL LINKS

GAS

EXXON
51 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 258-1670

GEAR
 
BLACK DOME MOUNTAIN SPORTS
140 Tunnel Rd.
Asheville, NC
(828) 251-2001

GROCERIES

FRENCH BROAD FOOD CO-OP
90 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC
(828) 255-7650

RESTAURANTS

THIRSTY MONK
50 Commerce St.
Asheville, NC
(828) 254-5470

MAST GENERAL STORE
63 North Main St.
Waynesville, NC
(828) 452-2101

SOUL INFUSION TEA HOUSE
628 East Main St.
Sylva, NC
(828) 586-1717

CAFF-E REL
457 East Main St.
Franklin, NC
(828) 369-9446

Multiday gear list

Backpack

Three-season tent

Down bag (15° to 40°F)

and sleeping pad

Compass, map, GPS unit

Gas stove and fuel bottles

Lighter and matches

Cookset, bowl, insulated

mug, eating utensils

32 oz. water bottle (2)

Water treatment

Multitool/knife

Bear-bagging rope

Headlamp with

extra batteries

Waterproof/breathable

jacket and pants

Fleece and down jackets

Synthetic pants and

shorts

Midweight baselayers

Synthetic T-shirt (2)

Hat and gloves

Hiking boots

Camp footwear

Wool/synthetic socks (3)

Trekking poles

Bug repellent and

sunscreen (SPF 15+)

Stuffsacks

Zip-top bags

Toilet paper and trowel

First-aid kit

 

 

 

 

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