Cherokee County is home to the beautiful Nantahala National Forest. Nantahala, which is a Cherokee term for “Land of the Noonday Sun,” is the largest national forest in North Carolina. While Nantahala National Forest spans three counties, the middle of the popular outdoor destination is located in the heart of Cherokee County in Murphy.  The Nantahala is divided into three sections, with the Tusquitee Ranger District being the portion within Cherokee County. With over 500,000 total acres, finding the right activity for you, whether in Cherokee County or a short drive away, is never a problem. 

The vastness of the forest presents visitors with a wide-range of activities. Many outdoors enthusiasts and families take advantage of the extensive network of trails, which are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horse-back riding. For those looking for a great location for camping or picnicking, the Nantahala offers several ideal spots. Also, cabin rental options are available for those looking for a fun, rustic overnight solution.

Additionally, the Hiwassee River flows through the Nantahala National Forest, presenting even more fun activity options. Fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting are some of the popular activities on the river. Best of all, the Hiwassee flows right into the heart of downtown Murphy, making it a popular destination or exploration spot for water adventurers.