Best Hiking in North Carolina

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

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. 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

#2. 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

#3. 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

#4. 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

#5. 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

#6. 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

#7. 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

#8. 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

#9. 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

#10. 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

#11. 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

#12. Mount LeConte via The Boulevard


If you have to choose only one hike in the Smokies, this would be a good choice. It gives you nearly everything the park is famous for, and by starting at an elevation of 5,046 feet and ending at clos…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Bryson City, NC - Hiking - 13.2 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Shining Rock Wilderness-Mileposts 411.8-423.2


Shining Rock—like the Craggy Mountains and Mount Mitchell just north of Asheville—is where the Parkway delivers some of the Southern Appalachians’ most stunning scenery. The horizon peels back on an…
From the guidebook "Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway"
Canton, NC - Hiking - 0.8-12.9 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Linville Gorge Wilderness


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 North Carolina"
Linville, NC - Fishing, Hiking - 0.2-9 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Mount Pisgah Area Trails-Mileposts 407.6–411.9


Mount Pisgah launches that southwestern mountain experience for hikers driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the way to Mount Pisgah from Asheville, it’s humbling to realize that George W. Vanderbilt’s B…
From the guidebook "Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway"
Canton, NC - Hiking - 1.6-12 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Morrow Mountain State Park


Morrow Mountain State Park is a wooded, hilly area where more than 30 miles of trails wander over and between modest mountains. That means these forested summits give a pretty good shot at solitude. T…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Charlotte, NC - Hiking - 0.8-5.2 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Chimney Rock State Park


Like the bulk of Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock State Park is a once-privately owned commercial natural area that has become a state park. The park’s historic “tourist attraction” area is operated…
From the guidebook "Hiking North Carolina"
Asheville, NC - Hiking - 0.7-1.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Fontana Loop


If you like a combination of mountains and lakes, this moderate hike is for you and any younger or inexperienced backpackers you may wish to bring along—though the mileages may be a bit challenging fo…
From the guidebook "Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Fontana Dam, NC - Hiking - 21.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#19. Linville Falls Trail


If water had adventure parks, Linville Falls would be its Six Flags over North Carolina. First, there’s the anticipatory wait as water queues on the placid Linville River by the Linville Falls Visitor…
From the guidebook "100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina"
Linville Falls, NC - Hiking - 1.6 miles
Published by The Mountaineers Books

#20. Clingmans Dome


Hiking to the top of the highest mountain in the park (6,643 feet) and the third highest in the East (Mount Mitchell is first at 6,684 feet, Mount Craig is second at 6,647 feet) is bittersweet. On one…
From the guidebook "Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park"
Bryson City, NC - Hiking - 1.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides