The 15 Best Hiking Trails in North Carolina!

North Carolina may very well be the state with the most variety when it comes to hiking locations. Whether you’re one with nature or an amateur adventurer, North Carolina has a trail for everyone. Here are 15 places to consider for your next hike. 

1. William B. Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC

With trailheads on both sides of the park and three manmade lakes, visiting William B. Umstead State Park is a must for cyclists, runners, hikers, campers, and equestrians alike. Its canoe and rowboat rentals, fishing docks, cabins and campgrounds, and picnic areas are sure to meet all your outdoor needs.

2. Crowder’s Mountain, Kings Mountain, NC

Outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the 1,625-foot summit of Crowder’s Mountain. Trails of varying difficulties are marked along the mountain, with the shortest and steepest being the Backside Trail. Before visiting, check the map so you can plan how long you want your journey up the mountain to be.

3. Graveyard Fields

Beyond the Blue Ridge Parkway are the Graveyard Fields trails, a loop that winds through a valley to secluded waterfalls. The hike is lined with a log fence and is under four miles long, making it one of the many outdoor experiences near Asheville, North Carolina, perfect for a daytrip.

4. Kings Pinnacle, Crowders Mountain State Park, NC

Crowder Mountain State Park’s highest peak, Kings Pinnacle, is a less-traveled trail known for its dense and unique foliage. Rhododendron bushes and hardwood trees surround the hike. The southern limit of the Bear Oak and the native home of the Mountain High-Bush Blueberry is a hidden haven for hikers old and new.

5. South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs, NC

South Mountains State Park is one of North Carolina’s most rugged backcountry areas. An 80-foot waterfall, mountain streams, elevations up to 3,000 feet, and more than 40 miles of trails combine for endless adventure.

6. Buffalo Creek Greenway, Smithfield, NC

Smithfield, North Carolina, is home to the Buffalo Creek Greenway, a paved trail that meanders about three miles to the News River Walk. The trail is wheelchair-accessible and 10 feet wide to accommodate all its visitors including bicyclists.

7. Chestnut Oak Nature Trail, Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC

One of Hanging Rock State Park’s trails in Danbury, North Carolina is a short, one-way known as Chestnut Oak Nature Trail. Less than a mile in length, this trail is a great option for hiking with family members of all ages.

8. Grandfather Mountain

Close to Linville, North Carolina, is the nearly 6,000-foot Grandfather Mountain. The non-profit site has the steepest slope of the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains and hosts daily events like group wildlife encounters and sunrise watching.

9. Green Knob Trail, Blowing Rock, NC

Although considered to be a difficult hike spanning nine miles, the Green Knob Hike leads to a remote part of the Pisgah National Forest at a 5,000-foot elevation. Along the hike are many massive forests of firs, spruces, beeches, oaks, and other trees.

10. Flat Laurel Creek, Cecil, NC

The Flat Laurel Creek hike loops around the creek’s headwater basin and connects to side-hikes that lead to a waterfall. It’s not far from Graveyard Fields, but it’s considerably more private, even with its gentle climbs. 

11. Eno River State Park

With five access areas through Durham and Orange counties, the Eno River State Park is a popular spot for locals seeking to camp, hike, canoe, kayak, or fish. Nearly 30 miles of hiking trails can be traveled with the shallow stream in sight.

12. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Robbinsville, NC

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is regarded as one of the United States’ best examples of old-growth forests, of natural preservation. Many of its trees are over 400 years old and 100 feet tall. To further protect the forest, it may only be visited by travelers hiking on foot.

13. Tanawha Trail

Paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain is the Tanawha Trail. The 13.5-mile trail named after the Cherokee word meaning fabulous hawk or eagle leads hikers by ancient ecosystems, boulder fields, and streams with a bird’s eye view.

14. Pisgah National Forest, Nebo, NC

The first American school of forestry is in the Pisgah National Forest, a hardwood forest of 500,000 acres. Mile-high peaks, slopes, and waterfalls encircle two of the first designated wilderness areas in the eastern states.  

15. Appalachian Trail

It’s no surprise that a trail traversing 14 states and 2,190 miles attracts three million people each year. Plan your hike on the Appalachian Trail by choosing North Carolina on the interactive map.

North Carolina Search
View more North Carolina Hiking Trails.
Find Hiking Trails Near You
Find Hiking Trails Near You
2112 County Park Drive, New Hill, NC
The 680-acre park is situated on a peninsula near the Shearon Harris Reservoir in New Hill, N.C. - and is convenient to Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly ... Read More
1790 Hanging Rock Park Road, Danbury, NC
Since its creation as a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps project, Hanging Rock State Park has offered the best of a traditional outdoor experience... Read More
572 Pumping Station Road, Sanford, NC
San-Lee Park is a 177+acre park, located at 572 Pumping Station Road, that offers hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, a Nature Center, playground... Read More
8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC
Hikers, trail runners, bicyclists and equestrians cherish the extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails at William B. Umstead State Park. Tr... Read More
Triangle Region, Durham, NC
The American Tobacco Trail is a 22+ mile rails-to-trails project located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina. The route crosses through the Ci... Read More
From the parking area at Carvers Gap follow gravel, white blazed A.T. north (east) through log fence and ascend graded trail through balds, then to... Read More
McSwain Groves Rd, Gastonia, NC
blazed in orange hexagons - a strenuous .9 mile (one-way) trail that starts at the Linwood Access Area and ends at the summit of Crowders Mountain.... Read More
"This is one long and spectacular section of trail. It is hard to find 30 miles of trail in the East without crossing a major road, but the Foothil... Read More
Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville, NC
Towering almost 6,000 feet, this massive mountain presents visitors with the region’s premier and most ecologically diverse nature preserve. ... Read More
Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC
This is a popular family hike because of its beauty, general ease, and access to two waterfalls. The area trail system starts at steps at the near ... Read More
Hanging Rock Park Rd, Snow Camp, NC
More than 18 miles of wooded passageways form a network of 12 trails at Hanging Rock State Park. Picturesque cascades and waterfalls, high rock cli... Read More
204-226 Staton Rd, Hendersonville, NC
The Hooker Falls Trailhead may serve as the trailhead to reach all three falls. Park in the large gravel parking lot. The trail to Hooker Falls beg... Read More
The most popular trail, High Shoals Falls Loop Trail, travels one mile along the Jacob Fork River to the base of High Shoals Falls, a beautiful cry... Read More
Staton Rd, Pisgah Forest, NC
Hooker Falls is the fourth falls on the Little River, and drops about 11' into Cascade Lake. Hooker Fall was part of the original DuPont State Fore... Read More
Two main hiking trails lead to beautiful views of the Linville Falls. Both begin at the Linville Falls Visitor Center and pass through remnants of ... Read More
The Linville Gorge Trail runs for almost the entire extent of the Gorge. The trail can be very overgrown in some areas and may make for slow hiking... Read More
US Hwy 276, Brevard, NC
The sheer face of Looking Glass Rock, located in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, makes it one of the best rock climbing venues in the ... Read More
Show More
Select a North Carolina town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Chowan County
Hoke County
Pasquotank County
Tyrrell County