Best Birding in North Carolina

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

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. 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

#2. Charlotte Trails


The Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department boasts a diverse system of trails, with 37 miles of greenways and nature preserves with singletrack trails. This award-winning county program h…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Charlotte, NC - Birding, Hiking - 1-8 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. The Boone Area-Boone Greenway


The fully accessible paved trail is mostly flat as it follows and crosses the South Fork of the New River through open meadows and colorful forests to and the sound of rippling water. There’s also a…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Boone, NC - Birding, Hiking - 5.4 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. High Point Trails


These trails near High Point Lake are good, close-to-home places to enjoy nature. Sections of the trails wander through quiet pine forests carpeted with running cedar. Other stretches at times explore…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
High Point, NC - Birding, Hiking
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, Ritter Park, and Swift Creek Bluffs


Hemlock Bluffs is a state nature preserve that is managed by the Town of Cary through a lease arrangement with the state of North Carolina. The bluffs, which harbor a disjunct population of Eastern he…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Cary, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Green Swamp Preserve and Lake Waccamaw State Park


The Green Swamp Preserve is of national significance in botanical circles. It lies within the highly restricted native range of the Venus flytrap and hosts the highest diversity of carnivorous plant g…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Bolton, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge


Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is 152,000 acres managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge consists primarily of wet swamp forest and pocosin with smaller areas of sligh…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Manteo, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Devil's Courthouse and Black Balsam


This area offers superb high-elevation birding, with excellent opportunities for some of the more sought-after species in North Carolina, including Peregrine Falcon, Alder Flycatcher, and Northern Saw…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Waynesville, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Greensboro Trails


Greensboro’s Lake Brandt watershed is unique in a state where many reservoirs are subdivision sites for million-dollar McMansions. At least for now, there’s a relative lack of development and a growi…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Greensboro, NC - Birding, Fishing, Hiking, Trail Running - Several options
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Salem Lake


Salem Lake is a 365-acre municipal water source for the city of Winston-Salem and surrounding Forsyth County. There is a wooded buffer zone around the lake that provides good habitat for a variety of…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Winston-Salem, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Falls Lake State Recreation Area


Falls Lake Recreation Area was developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control damaging floods and to supply a source of water for surrounding communities. The area consists of a 12,000-acre…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Raleigh, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Riverbend Park and Lower Lake Hickory


Riverbend Park is a 400-acre park owned and operated by Catawba County. It includes a mile of shoreline on the Catawba River just below Lake Hickory. Habitats: Pine forest, mixed hardwood-pine, upland…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Hickory, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge


Located midway on the Atlantic Flyway, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of the premier birding areas of the Atlantic Coast, with over 350 bird species documented. The refuge includes 5,834 a…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Hatteras, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Moses Cone and Julian Price Memorial Parks


Moses Cone Memorial Park was formed from the estate of textile magnate Moses Cone and includes 25 miles of 2 percent grade carriage trails and the manor house, which is now a craft center. Moses Cone…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Blowing Rock, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Bald Head Island


Environmentalists balk at being too positive about upscale private islands, but Bald Head is a rarity. The exclusive resort is flanked by an extensive, well-preserved virgin forest of trees up to 300…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Southport, NC - Birding, Hiking - 0.4-0.6 mile
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Winston-Salem Trails


Woodsy trails and colonial roads make Historic Bethabara Park a nationally significant place to go history hiking. Any visitor to this park will check out the restored buildings (tours are available…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Winston-Salem, NC - Birding, Hiking - 0.6-9.6 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Amphibolite Mountains and Elk Knob Game Land and State Natural Area


The Amphibolite Mountains of northwestern North Carolina form a large chain containing some ten peaks stretching from Rich Mountain near Boone in the south to Mount Jefferson and Phoenix Mountain in t…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Boone, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area


McDowell Nature Preserve, encompassing over 1,100 acres, contains relatively large expanses of various second-growth forest habitats in a variety of successional stages. The preserve contains moderate…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Charlotte, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Croatan National Forest


These 160,000 acres are administered by the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to extensive birding opportunities, visitors can enjoy a diversity of wildlife and plant life. Habitats: Pine forest, mixed…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
New Bern, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Max Patch Road and Environs


Max Patch Road represents a mix of old fields, hillsides and pastureland, fast-moving streams, a grassy bald, and mixed forests, culminating in Max Patch Bald. Elevation ranges from 1,900 feet at the…
From the guidebook "Birding North Carolina"
Asheville, NC - Birding
Published by Falcon Guides