Best Trails of North Carolina

This list represents the most popular trails in North Carolina. Use this list to plan your next North Carolina outdoor trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Black Mountain Campground


Black Mountain Campground has been around a long time. Over the years it has been well maintained. Now it is like an antique, treasured by families that have been returning to Black Mountain through t…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains"
Burnsville, NC - Campgrounds Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in nc - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#2. Uwharrie National Forest


Wonderful, woodsy circuit hikes are possible in Uwharrie National Forest, some of substantial length. Uwharrie and Dutchman’s Creek Trails form a figure eight that, when linked with forest roads used…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Troy, NC - Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking - Several options Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Mount Mitchell-Mileposts 344.1-355.3


Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It’s a crowning part of the Blue Ridge Parkway experience—the only motorized access to the mountain is from the Parkway, at Milepost 355.3.…
From the guidebook "Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway"
Asheville, NC - Hiking - 0.8-11.4 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Lake James — Shortoff Mountain Trail


Psst! Put down that trail guide telling you that the way to get to the best view of Linville Gorge is via a strenuous 11.2-mile march. I’ve got a shortcut that’ll get you there in about 2 miles. The…
From the guidebook "100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina"
Linville, NC - Hiking - 4.4 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#5. Chasteen Creek Loop


This loop travels watercourses and ridges of the Bradley Fork watershed. Leave Smokemont Campground and make your way up Bradley Fork, then turn up Chasteen Creek, where a waterfall awaits along a sid…
From the guidebook "Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Cherokee, NC - Hiking - 17.4 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#6. Rocky Bluff Campground


While heading into the Rocky Bluff Recreation Area, I found it hard to believe there was a campground down there. The road dipped into very hilly terrain, with nary a flat spot to be found. But soon e…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains"
Hot Springs, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#7. Gregory Bald Overnight Loop


This hike combines the best that the high and low country have to offer. First, you'll travel up the Twentymile Trail past Twentymile Cascades to the Upper Flats streamside camp. Then an arduous cli…
From the guidebook "Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Fontana Dam, NC - Backpacking, Hiking - 15.7 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#8. Carolina Beach State Park


This area of the Carolinas certainly has some amazing natural attributes, but the most unusual of all may be the Venus flytrap. Perhaps you have heard of it. The modified leaves of this plant close ra…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Carolinas"
Carolina Beach, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#9. Lake James State Park


Lake James, fed by the fine waters of the Pisgah River, is one of the cleanest, clearest lakes in the Carolinas. It also has some of the best views, as the high mountains of the Pisgah National Forest…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Carolinas"
Lake James, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#10. Umstead Park


If you want to get outside, be surrounded by trees, and just spin, then this is your place. Umstead Park offers clear, well-maintained gravel Forest Service roads throughout this thick patch of woods.…
From the guidebook "Mountain Biking North Carolina"
Raleigh, NC - Mountain Biking - 16.6 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view allBestMountain Biking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Linville Gorge Wilderness-Milepost 317.5


A 12,000-acre tract of designated wilderness, Linville Gorge lies between Jonas Ridge to the east and Linville Mountain to the west. The Blue Ridge Parkway skirts the head of the gorge on the northwes…
From the guidebook "Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway"
Linville Falls, NC - Hiking - 0.2-9 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Crowders Mountain State Park


As the closest, most dramatic mountain park to Charlotte, “Crowders” lives up to its name. Park attendance has skyrocketed in recent years. Rangers increasingly warn of parking delays on nice weekends…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Kings Mountain, NC - Birding, Climbing, Hiking - 1-8 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Lake Powhatan Campground


Fake Powhatan is a nicely developed, well-maintained recreation destination. While it is a great destination in its own right, being so close to Asheville adds the possibility of visiting tourist dest…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains"
Asheville, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#14. Grandfather Mountain State Park and Attraction


Grandfather Mountain’s public image has evolved over the years. Once almost exclusively seen as a tourist attraction owned by noted North Carolinian Hugh Morton, Grandfather has become synonymous with…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Blowing Rock, NC - Hiking - 1.8-7 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Badin Lake Campground


Depending on where you’re coming from, there are several ways to reach Badin Lake Campground. Most of them take a lot of twists and turns, but the drive is worth it. This lakeside campground is the…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: The Carolinas"
Badin Lake, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#16. Camping on Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Camping is the logical extension of any outdoor experience, and it’s the best way to get deeper into the nature of the Outer Banks. Sleeping on the soft barrier island sand, feeling the constant stick…
From the guidebook "Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores"
Buxton, NC - Campgrounds Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Yadkin River


The Yadkin River begins at an elevation above 3,600 feet near Blowing Rock, on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It flows southeast toward Lenoir, but near Patterson and Happy Valley it…
From the guidebook "Paddling Eastern North Carolina"
Wilkesboro, NC - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 147.3 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view allBestFlatwater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Pocosin Press

#18. Grandfather Mountain-Mileposts 299.9-305.1


Grandfather Mountain’s public image has evolved over the years. Once almost exclusively seen as a tourist attraction, Grandfather has become synonymous with its spectacular backcountry. The Mile-High…
From the guidebook "Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway"
Linville, NC - Hiking - 1.8-7 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Hanging Rock State Park


Easily accessible from Piedmont cities, Hanging Rock State Park is an eyeful for flatland-weary hikers. The small collection of summits clusters together, forming a high bowl around a pristine lake. T…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Danbury, NC - Fishing, Hiking - 0.7-5 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Pilot Mountain State Park


New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock may have the gall to claim the name, but Pilot Mountain is the definitive monadnock in this state or any other. Pilot is an outlier of the Sauratown Mountains that incl…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Pinnacle, NC - Hiking, Horseback Riding - 0.3-6.6 miles Best Trail in nc - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides