This forest is one of the Nation’s most impressive remnants of old-growth forest. The forest contains magnificent examples of more than 100 tree species, many over 400-years-old, and some more than 20 feet in circumference and 100 feet tall. This 3,800-acre forest was set aside in 1936 as a memorial to the author of the poem “Trees,” Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in action in France during World War I. This forest, part of the Joyce Kilmer-Slick Rock Wilderness, is maintained in its primitive state. The only way to see this forest is on foot. A 2-mile trail leads to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial and loops through giant trees. A restroom and picnic tables are located at the trailhead.
Directions: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is located about 15 miles from Robbinsville. From Robbinsville, take Highway 129 North for 1½ miles to the junction with Highway 143 West (Massey Branch Road). Turn left on Highway 143 and travel approx 5 miles to a stop sign. Turn right onto Kilmer Road. Drive for approx 7.3 miles and bear to the right at the junction of Santeetlah Gap and the Cherohala Skyway. Continue for another 2½ miles to the entrance of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
The only way to see the impressive memorial forest is on foot. The figure-eight Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail covers two miles and has two loops: the 1.25-mile lower loop passes the Joyce Kilmer Memorial plague, and the upper 0.75-mile loop swings though Popular Cove - a grove of the forest's largest trees. The trailhead parking area has a flush toilet and picnic tables. No camping or overnight parking is allowed.