South of the Smokies on the Appalachian Trail are the long climbs of the Stecoah-Cheoah Mountain area, then the outstanding Nantahala section, with 4,000-foot gaps and 5,000-foot peaks. Cheoah Bald offers panoramic views of western North Carolina. Like much of the A.T. in the deep South, you have a feeling of remoteness, and a sensation of being in deep forests. The variety of forest growth and the beauty of the flowering shrubs, along with the many spectacular views, make this entire section of Trail memorable.
The section from the Nantahala River to the Georgia border features the best-graded trail at high elevations anywhere in the Deep South, with a couple of short exceptions. There are lots of views from natural openings and fire towers, some requiring short side trips.
A.T. mileage 88 miles
Difficulty rating 3-6 (rating scale explained)
Elevation 1,725—5,498 feet
Appalachian Trail Guide to Tennessee-North Carolina
Appalachian Trail Guide to North Carolina-Georgia
When to go Mid-May through October.
Video Trail Report from Thru-Hiker Tutts99
This is the first section filmed in North Carolina. Both North Carolina parts are in Nantahala National Forest which is incredibly beautiful. In this, I endure really cold weather, stay at another hostel at the NOC, and experience my first injury. This was the end of February and the beginning of March 2009.