Located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, in the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains, lie the communities of Franklin and Nantahala. We are an area rich in outdoor adventure opportunities as well as fantastic local shopping, dining, and museums. Franklin and Nantahala are home to some of the oldest mountains in the world. Tucked away in those mountains are two very popular hiking trails: The Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail. If you want to get out and see the mountains but don’t want to hike, a scenic drive up to Wayah Bald will put you at nearly one-mile high elevation and there’s a paved path that leads you to an enchanting view in all directions. Travel the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway and visit the waterfalls of the Cullasaja River Gorge and Nantahala Gorge.
Franklin and Nantahala are towns born from gem mining and agriculture, and over the years have transformed from the small rural areas, into outdoor adventure towns, inviting people of all ages to set out into the hills and valleys of the Nantahala National Forest. What was once known as the “Gem Capitol of the World”, we are still home to active gem mines where you can still sit down with a bucket of dirt and sift for precious gems and minerals that are still abundant to this day. Generations of families come each year to share in the experience of Gem Mining.
The Franklin & Nantahala area is also known for our historic roots, with three museums within walking distance of one another right downtown in Franklin. As you walk, you will also find many shops, stores, and galleries featuring Appalachian art, clothing, and more. Stop in and grab lunch or dinner at one of our local eateries. Don’t forget to check in on the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts to see what world class entertainment they have lined up to be on stage!
Our beautiful waterfalls, scenic views, and hundreds of miles of rivers, streams and lakes are enough to keep the outdoor adventurers in the family busy from sunrise to sunset and beyond. Enjoy the pristine waters of Nantahala Lake, test your skills paddling the whitewater of the Nantahala River, or cast a line in any one of our world class fishing rivers. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or you want to get away and disconnect from the hustle of everyday life, the Franklin and Nantahala area is a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.
We invite you to get to know your mountain side in Nature’s Paradise!