Hiking near Sylva, NC: The 10 Best Smoky Mountain Hikes

Western North Carolina is a nature enthusiast’s playground, one that’s equally spellbinding, lush, and vast. This crowd-pleasing, four-season destination is known for its whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and deep-wooded waterfalls. However, the number one daily pursuit, amongst travelers, is hiking. Backpackers, birders, photographers, and casual travelers alike cannot resist the Smoky Mountain aesthetic, especially when it’s combined with several miles of hiking near Sylva, NC, a quintessential small town. Start and finish each day of exploration and adventure with Great Smokys, the area’s top provider of Western North Carolina cabin rentals. We boast a small fleet of woodland cabins near Bryson City, Cherokee, Whittier, and, of course, Sylva.

Hiking near Sylva, NC: 10 Essential Smoky Mountain Hikes

If you plan to go hiking near Sylva, NC, then we recommend bookmarking this article. To ensure that your autumnal or winter escape to Western North Carolina is nothing short of spectacular, we’ve compiled our 10 favorite Smoky Mountain trails, some of which lie in the Nantahala National Forest. Below, there’s an eclectic mix of waterfalls, awe-inspiring valley overlooks, and full-day backpacking trips. Because you can expect a great deal of elevation gain on most trails, it’s critical to wear proper footwear and bring ample water and a mid-day snack (or picnic).

  1. Silers Bald:

    This strenuous, nine-mile, out-and-back trail is an all-day pursuit, but it remains the quintessential Smoky Mountain hike. It also provides swift access to the oft-photographed Clingmans Dome.

  2. Wesser Bald Fire Tower:

    Wesser Bald delivers, perhaps, the most jaw-dropping panoramic mountain views in Western North Carolina.

  3. Browning Knob:

    This Blue Ridge Parkway hidden gem sees much less foot traffic than the ultra-popular Andrews Bald and Clingmans Dome. Yet, it’s equally as beautiful.

  4. Whiteside Mountain:

    Semi-rugged Whiteside Mountain (as pictured) remains one of our favorite adventures in nearby Nantahala National Forest.

  5. Glen Falls:

    Tourists often flock to Deep Creek to “snap” photographs of the various waterfalls. However, Glen Falls boasts the region’s prettiest natural marvel.

  6. Andrews Bald:

    The Clingmans Dome parking lot provides access to the national park’s highest point, as well as Silers Bald and Andrews Bald. The latter is a deep-forested trek underneath towering spruces and firs, which meanders past colorful mushrooms and curious amphibians.

  7. Deep Creek Loop:

    If you plan on hiking near Sylva, NC, you’ll no doubt make a stop at Deep Creek, home to a handful of mid-sized waterfalls. It remains the most-frequented walking path in the area, so be sure to arrive early (or near dusk).

  8. Lonesome Pine Overlook:

    The arduous climb to Lonesome Pine’s enthralling overlook is no walk in the park, but seasoned hikers should accept the challenge.

  9. Oconaluftee River Trail:

    At its core, the Oconaluftee River jaunt isn’t overly gorgeous, but it’s a unique destination that boasts a thriving elk population and an 18th-century Native American village.

  10. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower:

    The aforementioned Clingmans Dome is less of a hike and more of a stroll en route to a lookout. Still, it’s a can’t-skip attraction that acts as a gateway to so many surrounding trails.

Pet-Friendly Cabins in North Carolina

Great Smokys Cabin Rentals proudly manages a fleet of pet-friendly homes that are equally rustic and luxurious, yet surprisingly affordable. “Common” luxuries include outdoor hot tubs, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces, wraparound decks with unobstructed mountain vistas, fire pits, private acreage, on-site hiking paths, renovated kitchens, cathedral ceilings, and screened-in porches. It’s worth noting that all of our Smoky Mountain cabins are a short distance from the region’s most beloved attractions and activities, such as the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, zipline canopy tours, and golf courses. Please give us a call today at 800-655-9771 to book a long-awaited escape to Sylva, NC, (or simply check availability online).