|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive
A rugged land of sweet-smelling wildflowers, bald mountains, and stone Indians.
U.S. Forest Service Supervisor's Office 100 Otis St. Asheville, NC 28802 704/257-4200
Location: The Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area is in southwestern North Carolina, about 75 miles from Asheville. Near the north side of the wilderness is the town of Franklin; near the south side is Clayton, Georgia.
Getting There: Take U.S. 64 to Old U.S. 64 and follow the signs to Standing Indian Campground.
Seasonal Information: At these elevations, summer nights tend to be cool (in the 50s). Winter temperatures can dip down to the teens at night.
Wildlife: There are bear, turkey, deer, and some smaller creatures, but since they are legally hunted in the region they tend to stay away from humans.
Insects: Contact park office for information.
Plant Life: Thanks to its longtime status as a wilderness area, the forest is mature, often dense, and varies from fir to mixed hardwood. In spring and early summer the area becomes a wonderland of flowering rhododendrons, mountain laurels, dogwoods, and azaleas. Stop amid dense thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, and admire the delicate, sweet-smelling, white and pink blooms.
If you can manage a trip anytime between April and the first frost you'll be rewarded with an everchanging and abundant mix of blooming wildflowers, including trilliums, trout lilies, bluets, and violets.
Facilities: Camping is primitive in the wilderness. Unless otherwise designated, primitive camping is allowed in the forest.
Outside the wilderness, Standing Indian Campground is a large and developed seasonal site for $8 per night. It accommodates trailers and offers toilets, showers, drinking water, and even an amphitheater. Groups will need reservations.
There are also three shelters located along the AT.
Parking: Contact park office for information.
Permits: No permits are required.
Leave No Trace: Visitors are encouraged not to use fire.
All LNT guidelines apply.
Maps: Maps are available from: Wayah Ranger District Route 10, Box 210 Franklin, NC 28734 704/524-4410.
Ask for the Southern Nantahala Wilderness-Standing Indian Basin map.
The Appalachian Trail Conference guidebook 10 (North Carolina/Georgia) provides descriptions, too. Contact: A.T.C. Box 807 Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 304/535-6331.
Other Trip Options: