Cabin Rentals
in North Carolina

Western North Carolina Hiking Trails

Hiking NC


Western North Carolina boasts some of the most spectacular hiking in the world. For extremists the Appalachian Trail offers the longest marked trail in the world at 2,180 miles stretching through 14 states from Georgia all the way to Maine. We are not expecting many of our cabin rental guests participating in this madness but for those that desire some shorter daily hikes we are surrounding by many. The Smoky Mountain National Park is a location we recommend visiting for hikers of all levels and has over 800 miles of hiking trails throughout. The following hiking trails are all located within 60 minutes by car from Sunset Farm Cabins.

Oconaluftee River Trail


3.0 miles round trip – rated easy. Located on the North Carolina side about 20 minutes from Sunset Farm Cabins offers an easy rated hiking/walking trail that follows the creek side as well offers the brand new welcome center building and Mountain Farm Museum.

Directions – From Sunset Farm Cabins drive west on the 74 and continue north on the 441 towards Cherokee until you hit highway 19. Turn right on highway 19 and then left at the first traffic light (441), continue on the 441 through Cherokee until reaching the Oconaluftee Welcome Center. Park in the paved lot and the trail starts next to the creek and Farm Museum.

Oconaluftee Trail Map

Waterrock Knob


2.4 miles round trip. Fairly steep hike to 6,292 ft. peak. Extraordinary views of the Great Smokies along trail and at summit.

Directions - From Sunset Farm Cabin drive east on the 74 past the Sylva exit 85 for 8.9 more miles, turn Left at the Blue Ridge Parkway, proceed in direction of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, go 0.8 miles past Milepost 450, turn Right into Waterrock Knob parking area. Trail begins at Right corner of back parking lot, and is paved at start.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

2 mile figure 8 trail is rated easy with some steps built into the trail. This is recommended for families with small children. Hikers will experience an old growth forest with huge trees throughout some as old as 400 years and 20 feet in circumference. For directions, more information and maps please visit the website above.


Deep Creek Loop

4 mile loop rated easy to moderate. The trail is fairly level except for a one-mile section that crosses the 420-foot Sunkota Ridge. The trail passes by two nice waterfalls – Tom Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls.

Directions - From Sunset Farm Cabins drive west on highway 74 to exit 67 (Bryson City) and turn right on Spring Street, Continue through 1st traffic light and follow directions to Deep Creek Campground. Enter Deep Creek entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains national Park, and continue for 0.6 miles, pass the picnic area, and turn left into parking area. The trail starts by following the creek and from there hikers can follow the signs.

Deep Creek Trail Map

Richard Balsam


1.5 mile loop to 6,410 feet. This is the highest summit in the Balsam Mountains and among loftiest in eastern US. Cool, refreshing hike through a remnant spruce-fir forest.

Directions - From Sunset Farm Cabin drive east on the 74 past the Sylva exit 85 for 8.9 more miles, turn Left at the Blue Ridge Parkway, proceed in the direction to Asheville. At milepost 431 turn left into Haywood-Jackson parking overlook. Trail begins at left corner of parking lot and is paved at start.

Smokemont/Bradley Fork Trail


6.5 mile loop rated moderate. This trailhead is located at the Smokemont Campground inside the national park. The elevation gain is 1,441 feet and the highest elevation it reaches is 3,641. Highlights of this trail include mountain streams and wildflowers.

Directions - From Sunset Farm Cabins drive west on the 74 and continue north on the 441 towards Cherokee until you hit highway 19. Turn right on highway 19 and then left at the first traffic light (441), continue on the 441 through Cherokee until reaching the Oconaluftee Welcome Center. Continue 3.5 miles past the welcome center and turn right into the Smokemont Campground. The parking area is directly across the bridge as you turn into the campground. The trailhead provides access to the Bradley Fork Trail (which forms the eastern portion of the loop).

Smokemont Trailmap

Kephart Prong Trail


4 mile out and back rated moderate. The trail wanders for 2 miles beside a stream to the remains of a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) camp from 1933 – 1942 and the Kephart Shelter. Horace Kephart (1862-1931) campaigned for the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and helped plot the route of the Appalachian Trail. After dying in a car accident in 1931 Mount Kephart was named in his honor.

Directions - From Smokemont Campground – Drive north on the 441 5 miles and look for a small parking area on the right near the footbridge.

Kephart Trail Map

Clingman’s Dome Trail


1 mile out and back rated moderate. This with take hikers to the top of the Smokies via a paved, but fairly steep road to a great observation tower. This trail truly offers spectacular views and is highly recommended. The elevation is 6,643 feet.

Directions – From the Oconaluftee welcome center continue north on the 441 for approximately 15 miles until reaching Clingmans Dome Road. Turn left and continue till the parking lot.

For more information about hiking in Western NC please visit Hike WNC.