Hiking in North Carolina

North Carolina has the highest peaks in the eastern United States, and some of the best hiking trails to match. More than 300 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail pass through the mountains near the North Carolina-Tennessee border, and dozens of great hikes await travelers along the twisting vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then there's Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- the most-visited national park in the nation -- which has 800 miles of trails through an ecological wonderland.

More popular destinations:
Linville Gorge Wilderness - The "Grand Canyon of the East" has wild, craggy terrain that will test your hiking mettle.

Grandfather Mountain State Park -- this peak south of Boone, NC, along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the top hiking locales in the Southeast. The Mile High Swinging Bridge is a must see, and the summit trails are must-hikes (provided you aren't afraid of heights).

Hanging Rock State Park -- Waterfalls and rocky overlooks are the main attractions of this park northwest of Winston-Salem.

Stone Mountain State Park -- not to be confused with the park of the same name near Atlanta, this park on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment features an amazing granite dome and several scenic waterfalls.
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Guides
Waterfall Tour of Hanging Rock State Park, N.C.
Waterfall Tour of Hanging Rock State Park, N.C.
Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina, United States
 
Park northwest of Winston-Salem has some of the state's prettiest waterfalls east of the Appalachian Mountains.

Three easy strolls to picturesque waterfalls offer the perfect introduction to Hanging Rock State Park, the top hiking destination within an hour of the Triad cities of Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem. None of these falls are more than a mile from your car, so they're open to just about any ability level. They do require delicate footwork at...
Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain summit
Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain summit
Grandfather Mountain State Park, North Carolina, United States
 
Difficult: 7.3 miles, Full day
One of the Parkway's most rewarding hikes climbs 2,000 feet (one way) in 3.5 miles from the Boone Fork lot at Mile 299.5

Grandfather Mountain, the most iconic peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville, N.C., and the Virginia state line, practically dares hikers check out to its highest crags. Because the peak is so prominent on the Parkway, it's only natural to answer Grandfather's challenge from one of the road's turnouts. My favorite way to hike this...
Summit trails at Pilot Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Summit trails at Pilot Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Pinnacle, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 3.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Best hikes near the top of Pilot Mountain, the signature peak northwest of Winston-Salem.

You don't expect to see a mountain popping up from the gently rolling landscape of the North Carolina Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point). But Pilot Mountain is like that: full of surprises. For hikers, the best surprise is that the trails, terrain and views from on high are good enough to make you forget you're a few hours east of the...
Stone Mountain Loop - Stone Mtn. State Park - N.C
Stone Mountain Loop - Stone Mtn. State Park - N.C
Roaring Gap, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 5.2 miles, 1-3 hours
Best hike around the granite dome at Stone Mountain State Park south of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A bedazzling granite bulge forms the centerpiece of Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina's cousin to the more famous mountain of the same name outside Atlanta, Georgia. Stone Mountain Loop takes you to the top of the bulge, past a scenic waterfall and through the restored homestead of a family that lived in the shadow of Stone Mountain for four...
Campbell Creek and Lanier Falls Trails
Campbell Creek and Lanier Falls Trails
Lillington, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 5.9 miles, 1-3 hours
A nice loop in Raven Rock State Park

Raven Rock State Park is off of Hwy 421 between Sanford and Lillington, NC. The park is best known for its namesake rock - Raven Rock. The Campbell Creek/Lanier Falls Trails are about 5 1/2 miles when combined and can be completed in 2-4 hours. Generally speaking, these trails are much less traveled than the the Raven Rock trail. Even on days...
Uwharrie/Dutchman's Creek Trail Loop
Uwharrie/Dutchman's Creek Trail Loop
Troy, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 12.0 miles, Half day
12 mile loop from the Hwy 24/27 Trailheads

The Uwharrie Trail is 19 miles long and the Dutchman's Creek Trail is 11 miles long. Both trails have trail heads at the same location on Hwy 24/27. The 2 trails cross about 6 miles in from Hwy 24/27 to form a nice 12 mile loop. The trailheads are on Hwy 24/27 about 10 miles west of Troy NC. There is a parking lot for several dozen cars. In addition...
Harper Falls - Wilson Creek area
Harper Falls - Wilson Creek area
Mortimer, North Carolina, United States
 
Difficult: 1.6 miles, 1-3 hours
Short hike to one of the popular waterfalls/swimming holes in the Wilson Creek area

Waterfall with two nice swimming holes. Bottom swimming hole is larger than an Olympic size pool, so you can really swim. Both pools offer swimming, wading, diving, or simply floating. The pools are very deep, and the water is cool and refreshing. The upper part of the falls cascades into a deep pool, and it is not uncommon to see people slide, jump,...
Little Creek Trail at Raven Rock State Park
Little Creek Trail at Raven Rock State Park
Mamers, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 2.2 miles, 1 hour or less
1.5 mile trail near Mamers, North Carolina in Raven Rock State Park

Little Creek Trail -Raven Rock State Park is about 2.2 miles long and located near Mamers, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes less than one hour. Little Creek Trail is a 1.5 mile, u-shaped trail which connects to the Raven Rock Trail. The trail is used primarily to access the group campground and the canoe campground...
Linville Falls-Erwin's View Trail
Linville Falls-Erwin's View Trail
Linville Falls, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 1.9 miles, 1-3 hours
1.9 mile trail near Linville Falls, North Carolina

Linville Falls-Erwin's View Trail is about 1.9 miles long and located near Linville Falls, North Carolina. The trail is great for walking and normally takes 1-3 hours.Linville Falls is one of the major attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 316. Linville falls is located in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina and is the beginning...
High Falls and Triple Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
High Falls and Triple Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
Pisgah Forest Farms, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 3.1 miles, 1-3 hours
A tour of two of Dupont State Forest's stunning waterfalls...and also some intriguing mystery.

Dupont State Forest-High Falls and Triple Falls tour is about 3.1 miles long and located near Pisgah Forest Farms, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and biking and normally takes 1-3 hours. This hike not only boasts natural beauty, but also a little history. Hiking: Right on Buck Forest Road, left on Covered Bridge Trail, right on High...
Rich Mountain Carriage
Rich Mountain Carriage
Moses Cone Memorial Park, North Carolina, United States
 
3.5 mile trail in Moses Cone Memorial Park, North Carolina

Rich Mountain Carriage-Moses Cone Memorial Park-Blue Ridge Parkway is about 3.5 miles long and located near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1-3 hours. This is one of the many longer hikes in Blowing Rock North Carolina. This hike is attached to the Moses Cone Memorial Park trail system called the Rich...
Lake Imaging, Thomas Cemetery and Grassy Creek Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
Lake Imaging, Thomas Cemetery and Grassy Creek Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
Hamilton Estates, North Carolina, United States
 
Moderate: 7.7 miles, 1-3 hours
This tour is mix of the natural beauty and history of Dupont State Forest.

Dupont State Forest-Lake Imaging, Thomas Cemetery and Grassy Creek Falls tour is about 7.7 miles long. The trail is great for mountain biking or hiking and normally takes 1-3 hours. Hiking/Biking Directions: From Lake Imaging Access Area: Right on Lake Imaging Road,left on Jim Branch Trail past Issac Heath Trail, left on Buck Forest Road,right...
Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle-Blue Ridge Parkway
Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle-Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, United States
 
0.9 mile trail near Blackberry Inn, North Carolina

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle-Blue Ridge Parkway is about 0.9 miles long and located near Blackberry Inn, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less. Craggy Gardens and Craggy Pinnacle Trail is one of the most beautiful trails to hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway when the Rhododendrons are blooming forming a canopy of...
Lake Julia - Dupont State Forest
Lake Julia - Dupont State Forest
Pisgah Forest Farms, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 4.8 miles, 1-3 hours
Experience the beauty of Dupont State Forest's man-made lake on this trip.

Dupont State Forest-Lake Julia is about 4.8 miles long and located near Pisgah Forest Farms, North Carolina. The trail is great for mountain biking and normally takes 1-3 hours. This loop is basically an out-and-back to Lake Julia. Lake Julia is actually a man-made lake, constructed by John Cart in the 1960's. The lake is named after Cart's first...
Tanawha Trail, Linn Cove Viaduct
Tanawha Trail, Linn Cove Viaduct
Grandfather, North Carolina, United States
 
Difficult: 0.8 miles, 1-3 hours
0.8 mile trail near Grandfather, North Carolina

Linn Cove Viaduct-Tanawha Trail is about 0.8 miles long and located near Grandfather, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1-3 hours. Trail-Probably one of the most interesting hikes I have been on yet. Starting from the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center milepost 304.6 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Short hike - As you travel...
Bass Lake Loop at Moses Cone Memorial Park
Bass Lake Loop at Moses Cone Memorial Park
Moses Cone Memorial Park, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 0.9 miles, 1 hour or less
0.9 mile trail near Blowing Rock, North Carolina

This is a very family friendly walking trail in Blowing Rock North Carolina. It is part of the Moses Cone Memorial Park Trail system. The hike is about one mile in length but is a beautiful walk around the lake during any season. This hiking trail is a great stretch your legs type of hike after you have been driving in the car all day. Pets are welcomed...
Jomeokee Trail at Pilot Mountain State Park
Jomeokee Trail at Pilot Mountain State Park
Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 0.9 miles, 1 hour or less
0.9 mile trail near Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

The short Jomeokee Trail is an easy hike that circumnavigates the big pinnacle of Pilot Mountain.  The name of the trail comes from the lexicon of the Saura Indians, who used the mountain as a natural tower from which they could watch the surroundings. Jomeokee also served as a landmark along the trail that from Virginia to Georgia. The orange-blazed...
Little Glade Mill Pond - Blue Ridge Parkway
Little Glade Mill Pond - Blue Ridge Parkway
Cherry Lane, North Carolina, United States
 
Easy: 0.2 miles, 1 hour or less
0.2 mile trail near Cherry Lane, North Carolina

Little Glade Mill Pond-Blue Ridge Parkway-Milepost 230.1 is about 0.2 miles long and located near Cherry Lane, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less. Little Glade Mill Pond is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 230.1. This overlook does not have a view at all but a convergence of two streams and...
Howell Woods Leopold Loop
Howell Woods Leopold Loop
Bentonville, North Carolina, United States
3.5 mile trail near Bentonville, North Carolina

Howell Woods is located near Four Oaks and Bentonville, North Carolina. The trails are great for hiking and bird watching and normally takes 1-3 hours or more. There are many short trails that can be combined to make a nice loop. Howell Woods is located in Four Oaks, NC and is owned by Johnston Community College. This is a fine place to take children...
Sal's Branch Trail
Sal's Branch Trail
Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Moderate: 2.7 miles, 1-3 hours
2.7 mile trail near Raleigh, North Carolina

Sal's Branch Trail is about 2.7 miles long and located near Raleigh, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less. The Sal's Branch Trailhead is located directly behind the visitor center on the highway 70 entrance to William B. Umstead Park. There is a very pretty lake (man-made) about halfway through the hike....
Sycamore Trail
Sycamore Trail
Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Moderate: 7.6 miles, 1-3 hours
7.6 mile trail in Raliegh, North Carolina

Sycamore Trail is about 7.6 miles long and located near Raleigh, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 2-3 hours. The Sycamore Trail is located in William B. Umstead State Park. The trailhead is located on the northern side (highway 70 entrance) of the park. You can stop in the Visitor Center and pick up a map and then...
Jumpingoff Rocks - Blue Ridge Parkway
Jumpingoff Rocks - Blue Ridge Parkway
Obids, North Carolina, United States
Easy: 0.9 miles, 1 hour or less
0.9 mile trail near Obids, North Carolina

Jumpingoff Rocks-Blue Ridge Parkway-Milepost 260.3 is about 0.9 miles long and located near Obids, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less. Jumpinoff Rocks Overlook is located on the right side of the Blue Ridge parkway while driving North at milepost 260.3. This is a great 1.0 mile hike to park in the overlook...
The Lump Trail - Blue Ridge Parkway
The Lump Trail - Blue Ridge Parkway
Walsh, North Carolina, United States
Easy: 0.2 miles, 1 hour or less
0.2 mile trail near Walsh, North Carolina

The Lump Trail-Blue Ridge Parkway-Milepost 264.4 is about 0.2 miles long and located near Walsh, North Carolina. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1 hour or less. The Lump Trail is located at milepost 264.4 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Lump Trail is an extremely short hike up the adjacent hill behind the fence and is 0.3 miles up...
Stone Mountain Summit - Dupont State Forest
Stone Mountain Summit - Dupont State Forest
Jeter Mountain Terrace, North Carolina, United States
Difficult: 2.8 miles, 1-3 hours
This hike is considered a strenuous hike. It only gets very steep at the end, during the final climb to the summit.

The strenuous final climb to the summit of Stone Mountain offers a stunning 360 degree view that you won't soon forget. This hike is an out and back, not a loop. When you reach the summit of Stone Mountain, retrace your steps back to the parking lot. Hiking Directions: From Sky Valley Road parking lot: Take Rocky Ridge Trail to Stone Mountain...
Reasonover Creek Trail - Dupont State Forest
Reasonover Creek Trail - Dupont State Forest
Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, United States
Difficult: 5.3 miles, 1-3 hours
Experience the natural beauty of Dupont's Lake Julia and test your skills crossing Reasonover Creek on this trip.

This trip covers the Reasonover Creek Trail, which features two challenging creek crossings, an abandoned airstrip, and a stunning view of Lake Julia. This one-hundred-acre lake is actually man made, and is surrounded by rocky cliffs. This loop can be hiked or mountain-biked. It is moderately difficult, considering the two river crossings. The scouts...
Lake Julia and Bridal Veil Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
Lake Julia and Bridal Veil Falls Tour - Dupont State Forest
Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, United States
Moderate: 9.5 miles, 1-3 hours
This cool loop features a bit of everything-two creek crossings, a panoramic lake view, and a waterfall!

Let scouts from Brevard Scout Troop 703 guide you on this fun bike tour that has something for everyone: peaceful, panoramic lake views, a waterfall, and two creek crossings. Hiking Directions: From parking lot: Right on Reasonover Creek Trail, continue on Reasonover all the way to Lake Julia, left on Lake Julia Rd., left on Camp Summit Rd.,...