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. 

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.

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.

Graveyard Fields, NC

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Grandfather Mountain, NC

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.

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.

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. 

Eno River State Park, NC

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.

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.

Tanawha Trail, NC

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.

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.  

Appalachian Trail, NC

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.

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150 Water Plant Rd,, Robbins, NC
The Bear Creek Trail System is over 8 miles of trails located along scenic Bear and Cabin Creeks. Map kiosks at intersections and the main trail he... Read More
300 Reservoir Park Rd, Southern Pines, NC
Sit back, take it easy, and listen to the sounds of nature at its best. This 165-acre site is home to a 95-acre lake. Nature trails, hiking trails,... 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
1024 Ft. Bragg Road, Southern Pines, NC
Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve is a unique window onto the longleaf pine forests that once covered millions of acres in the southeastern ... Read More
280 State Park Road, Apex, NC
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is a collective of nine access areas scattered around the shoreline of this undeveloped, 14,000-acre reservoir. M... Read More
49104 Morrow Mountain Road, Albemarle, NC
Choose an adventure at Morrow Mountain State Park, whether it’s hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, swimming or just taking... Read More
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
Raven Rock Rd, Lillington, NC
A number of trails in the park traverse a variety of terrains. Raven Rock Loop Trail travels through a hardwood forest on its one-mile trip to the ... Read More
625 Virginia Cates Road, Hillsborough, NC
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area offers a quick escape into nature with its three miles of trail exploring riverside forests, bluffs reachin... Read More
3055 New Hope Church Rd, Chapel Hill, NC
The George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve is located in western Orange County, approximately 2 miles southeast of the town of Hillsboroug... Read More
Nash and Kollock Street, Hillsborough, NC
Riverwalk is a paved, accessible, urban greenway that stretches about 1.8 miles along the Eno River between Gold Park in western Hillsborough and t... 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
2505 Long Valley Road, Spring Lake, NC
Amenities at the relatively new Carvers Creek State Park have centered on Long Valley Farm, the historic retreat of a Rockefeller family member, as... Read More
6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham, NC
Eno River State Park—like its namesake—flows near urban areas of Durham and Orange counties with five scattered access areas, each just... Read More
Cape Fear River Trail, Fayetteville, NC
The trail is a 10-foot wide paved path for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and others utilizing non-motorized transportation. It winds for nearly 5.3 ... Read More
2138 Wentworth Street, Reidsville, NC
History The Trail was created in 1997 by the NC Upper Piedmont Research Station for the benefit of the public. Friends of Chinqua-Penn Walking Tra... 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
13304 Creedmoor Rd, Wake Forest, NC
Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a collective of seven access areas scattered around the shoreline of this undeveloped, 12,000-acre reservoir. M... 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
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