Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

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. 

Please note: Use directions below or Google Maps to map to the parking lot. Other map services do not direct to the correct location. 

Check out the brochure.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year Round
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Robbinsville
Restroom: Vault

General Information

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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

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 plaque, 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.


Picnicking available.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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