10 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In North Carolina, USA

hiking in north carolina

North Carolina may be the most industrialized Southern State, but it is also home to more than 900 miles (1448 km approx.) of hiking trails, a stunning coastline that promises jaw-dropping views of the ocean, and beautiful landscapes supplemented by a rich cultural heritage. You will find a mix of modern skyscrapers coexisting peacefully with its towering Appalachian Mountains that promise you adventurous trails and some of the best hikes. It is called an outdoor lovers’ paradise for a reason! You can not only spend time hiking and biking, but also take scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Whether it is climbing to test your skills or taking a stroll through paved treks leading you to an explosion of colorful rhododendrons, don’t forget to lace up your boots to experience the best hiking and trekking spots in North Carolina, USA. Find out more about these spots, below.

1. Looking Glass Rock Trailhead

A volcanic igneous intrusion in the Appalachian Mountains
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Omarcheeseboro used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Looking Glass Rock is a short hike of 6.5 miles (10.45 km approx.) round trip with an elevation gain of about 518m (1,700 ft). On this moderately difficult hike, you are accompanied by a cascading creek and a sprawling mass of wildflower fields. It is not just a popular hike, but also a great choice for climbing enthusiasts. The small trailhead is located away from the helipad, which gives you stunning views of the lower cliffs. Even though it is an all-season hike, you should preferably do it in winter for the breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains.

Looking Glass Rock Trailhead

Address: Brevard, NC 28712, United States

2. Grassy Ridge Bald, Roan Highlands

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brian Stansberry used under CC BY 2.5

Grassy Ridge Bald gives you the most amazing views of rolling hills and magical sunsets. This hike can be easily done in a day or overnight. The trailhead is easy to find once you cross the highway and hit the Appalachian Trail on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. While the hike is only 5.3 miles (8.5 km) in total, with an elevation gain of 213m (700 ft), the rockiness of the terrain makes it slightly difficult to navigate. Therefore, you must wear a good pair of hiking boots to easily walk through the trail. Be sure to carry an extra windproof layer if you are heading out on this trek during the winter.

Grassy Ridge Bald, Roan Highlands

Address: Fork Mountain-Little Rock Creek, NC 28705, United States

3. Deep Gap Trail, Mt. Mitchell State Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Deep Gap Trail is an 8.5-mile (13.8-km) round-trip with an elevation gain of 765m (2509 ft). It is located near Montreat, North Carolina, and features thick forests of balsam fir trees. While the hike is considered somewhat moderate, it is, mostly, strenuous as the trail ascends and descends continuously between peaks. This is a dog-friendly trail that is not only used for hiking but also biking and trail running.

Deep Gap Trail, Mt. Mitchell State Park

Address: Black Mountain Crest Trail, North Carolina 28714, USA

4. Huckleberry Knob Trail

Smoky Mountains in North Carolina
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

A short and easy hike of 2.5 miles (4 km) is located on the scenic Cherohala Skyway. Huckleberry Knob is the highest point at 1695m (5,560 ft) in the Cheoah Ranger District. Once you reach the top, you are rewarded by breathtaking views of the surrounding Cherokee and Nantahala National Forest. It is an ideal overnight trek if you want to camp after the hike and witness one of the most beautiful sunrises. The beauty of this simple hike is that it is great at any time of the year, but the best time is between March and October.

Huckleberry Knob Trail

Address: Robbinsville, NC 28771, United States

5. Linville Falls - Trail

Linville Falls-27527-3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ken Thomas used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Easily accessible from Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls hike in North Carolina is one of the best and most sought-after hikes in the region. You can bring your family for an outdoor picnic and explore the area surrounding the falls. The trail itself is only 1 mile (1.6 km) in total - you can meander around and through the gorge, if you are feeling particularly active. The easy hike also means that it is perfect for kids and people of all ages. There are also plenty of spots near the creek, where you can relax amidst nature.

Linville Falls - Trail

Address: Newland, NC 28657, United States

Website: Linville Falls - Trail

6. Rough Ridge Lookout - Grandfather Mountain, NC

Rough Ridge Sunrise - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Larry Lamb used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Also known as the Lion King Rock, Rough Ridge Lookout offers spectacular views of the Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct, with endless views into Piedmont. After a short uphill hike of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip, and an elevation gain of 122m (402ft), you get to experience the best sunrise or sunset from this spot. There are several boulders along the way, on which you can sit to admire the stunning landscape around you. You can also carry a picnic bag if you are hiking with friends or family members on a weekend.

Rough Ridge Lookout - Grandfather Mountain, NC.

Address: 3218 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Linville, NC 28646, United States

7. Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Sunset views after a hike
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Located only 30 minutes from downtown Ashville, Craggy Pinnacle Trail is the perfect place to hang out if you are looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle. It is an easy hike of only 1.4 miles (2.25 km) long and 91.4m (300 ft) elevation gain. An average-paced person can effortlessly reach the top within 30 to 45 minutes. Once you get to the top, you will be blessed with 360-degree views below. If you feel like camping, you can do so at the Pisgah National Forest, which is also the closest camping spot.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail

Address: 3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709, United States

8. Calloway Peak

Grandfather Mountain-27527-1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ken Thomas used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Calloway Peak is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at 1818m (5,964 ft). If you are an ardent hiker who wants to experience the best views of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, then this is the place to be. Although not very difficult, it is a tough climb of 6.6 miles (10.5 km) total, with an elevation gain of 751m (2,464 ft). Before you embark on this adventurous trail, be sure to purchase your permits for the hike. The best time to hit this trek is between March and November.

Calloway Peak

Address: 4198 N.C. 105 N. Banner Elk, NC 28604

Price: 20 USD

9. Art Loeb Trailhead

Art Loeb Trail
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CutOffTies used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Known to be amongst the most scenic trails in the Pisgah Ranger District, Art Loeb Trail crosses over four stunning balds. This 30.1-mile (48.4 km) trail is a longer and more difficult trail. Needless to say, it is also more popular amongst trekking enthusiasts who are looking to flex those muscles. Hiking along the ridges and peaks rather than the valleys gives you breathtaking views of the lofty peaks. As you hike up and down its narrow paths, you will witness some of the best sceneries found in Pisgah. This trail is ideal if you wish to backpack for at least 2-3 days in the mountains.

Art Loeb Trailhead

Address: Pisgah Forest, NC 28768, United States

10. Tennent Mountain

Mount Tennent
Source: Photo by Flickr user Steve Bittinger

This is a great hike if you want to catch a sunrise on a crisp spring morning. The short hike of 4 miles (6.4 kms) is dog-friendly, and it can be completed in under an hour. So pack yourself a hearty breakfast and enjoy a meal as you witness nature’s show. You can also stop at Pisgah Inn for a sumptuous meal after the trek.

Tennent Mountain

Address: Art Loeb Trail, Canton, NC 28716, United States

Hit the trail in the Smoky Mountains

North Carolina is home to some of the country’s best mountains that are great fun to hike. What the state lacks in massive peaks, it pretty much makes up for in rolling hills and stunning sunsets. This article shares with you some of the best hiking and trekking spots in North Carolina, USA.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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My name is Kanika Gupta and I am from New Delhi, India. I am a passionate traveller because I believe in learning as much as I can about this world in my lifetime. I am also a voracious reader. So...Read more

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