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The NC Mountains offer Hikers of all ages and abilities some of the best hiking trails and most enjoyable settings in the country. Within the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, 1000's of Trails are easily accessible for everything form a short Blue Ridge Parkway hike to challenging,  overnight adventures.   
 
 
Carolina Mountain Club  The Carolina Mountain Club, now over 80 years old and the oldest Hiking and Trail Maintaining Club in Western NC fosters the enjoyment of the mountains of Western North Carolina and adjoining regions. Their activities include: 175 hikes per year, maintaining 400 miles of trail, an active program to build new trails, promoting the conservation of the trails and natural scenery in the area, educating members on hiking, trail building and maintenance skills, working with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the State of North Carolina to achieve these goals. 
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The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club. an informal loose-knit group of hiking enthusiasts in the western and northwestern mountains of North Carolina.  Visitors are welcome. Most of the membership lives in the area stretching from Burnsville and Spruce Pine up to Boone. The Club schedules hikes year round in the surrounding areas in locales such as Linville Gorge, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, Roan Mountain (Tennessee), and the Virginia Creeper Trail (Virginia). Most hikes are held on Saturday and Wednesday and last four to five hours. Hikes range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. 
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North Carolina Trails Program The State Trails Program is a section of the Division of Parks and Recreation. The  program originated in 1973 with the North Carolina Trails System Act and is dedicated to helping citizens, organizations and agencies plan, develop and manage all types of trails ranging from greenways and trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding to river trails and off-highway vehicle trails.
Hiking Links:
American Hiking Society 
American Trails 
www.getgoingnc.com
www.nchikes.com
 
NC Hiking BLOGS
Smoky Scout Hiking Blog   Get the inside scoop and great photos  
The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog  
Hiking in Western North Carolina 
 
Cradle of Forestry Virtual Hike  Take an online tour of the Biltmore Campus Trail. You may also walk the Trail with your real time feet and visit the Educational Center and gift shop at the Cradle of Forestry, just outside Brevard NC. You'll se the original campus which was the forestry training center and beginnings of the US Division of Forestry.
Hiking Publications
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina by Danny Bernstein
 
 
 
NC Guided Hikes and Trail News:
May 24
NC City:  CHIMNEY ROCK
Event:     Chimney Rock State Park Guided Hikes  Explore the Park's trails with a naturalist or Ranger to learn about plants, wildlife, geology and more along the way. Or,  head “off the beaten path” to discover less-traveled areas of the park. Topics vary, check the website for up to the minute details.
 
Popular NC Park Trails and Favorite Family Hikes/strong>
Grandfather Mountain 
More than 12 miles of regularly maintained trails ranging in difficulty from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry challenges

For experienced hikers, the two-mile Grandfather Trail makes its way through patches of spruce and fir and across rock outcrops with the help of ladders and cables. For hikers seeking a less strenuous adventure, try the Black Rock Trail. Starting at the Grandfather Mountain attraction, the trail offers panoramic views of several surrounding mountain peaks, including MacRae and Attic Window.

The Nature Walks offer a casual experience on 3 of Grandfather's pristine trails to enjoy the Mountain's incredible biodiversity up-close and personal.

Can’t decide which of the 11 trails to hike first? Browse the free Backcountry Trail Guide offered with your admission ticket or hiking permit. You can also spend some time at the attraction, which includes a museum, gift shop and the Mile High Swinging Bridge that spans an 80-foot gap at the top of Linville Peak 
Chimney Rock State Park  
The Hickory Nut Gorge area is known for its flora and fauna – as well as the famous scenery. You'll get to experience both on any of the five hiking trails including one that leads to Hickory Nut Falls, which plunges 404 feet down a sheer rock face. It and other parts of the Park  were used as background in the 1991 film “The Last of the Mohicans” starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

One of the unique aspects of Chimney Rock is the 26-story elevator that operates inside the towering pillar of igneous rock that gives the park its name. Once at the top, you will be inspired by the 360-degree views from the summit.
Mount Mitchell State Park 
There are a few places in the world that still stand apart from the ordinary Mt. Mitchell is certainly one of them.  Rising more than a mile high, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places.

Choose between a short stroll or a more extensive hike into the woods. Either choice will be rewarding as the beauty of the park is best seen from one of its many trails. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and carry proper gear as the high altitude makes the climate of Mount Mitchell chilly, even in summer.

A short trail beginning at the summit parking lot leads to the observation platform. On a clear day, visitors can see as far as 85 miles and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the Pisgah National Forest. 
 
Linville Gorge-  Pisgah National Forest
Linville Gorge was first designated a wild area in 1951 by the Chief of the Forest Service. With the signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964, the area became one of the original components of the National Wilderness System. The original 7,575 acres was increased to the present 12,002 acres by the 1984 North Carolina Wilderness Act. 

The Gorge, which includes 39 miles of trails, is a rugged challenge to even the most experienced hiker. As a true Wilderness area, the Gorge offers solitude and emersion in a natural setting without vehicles or amenities. The Wilson Creek area, Lost Cove, and Curtis Creek are excellent for hiking and backpacking. Information on these and other areas is available at the District Ranger's Office.

The Linville Gorge Area offers some of the most strenuous mountain biking trails anywhere in the east, with a variety of routes ranging from 8.2 miles to 49 miles and some mighty incredible scenery along the way.
 
Roan Mountain – Rhododendron Gardens
National Recreation Trail
 
Naturalists have journeyed to the 6,327-feet high Roan Mountain for more than two centuries to study its diversity of plant life. The Roan Mountain – Rhododendron National Recreation Trail features an easy, one-mile hike through the popular rhododendron gardens, which explode in color between mid-June and early July each year, drawing visitors from around the world. To time your visit with the bloom, visit roanmountain.com for updates.

The trail is divided into three loops, each suitable for hikers of all ages. The first loop is a paved, handicap-accessible interpretive trail with 16 stations keyed to information in a free brochure explaining the exotic and rare plants found on the mountain. 
 
Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail 
 More than just a hike, this easy two-mile trek is a journey back to a time when vast forests were untouched by human hands. Located in the largest tract of virgin hardwoods east of the Mississippi, it inspired soldier-poet Joyce Kilmer to pen “Trees.”

The trail features two loops - the 1.25-mile lower loop and the .75-mile upper loop, which showcases the largest trees in the forest. Both loops converge at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial. 
 
Whiteside Mountain National Recreation Trail 
This gravel and soil trail features one of the more dramatic settings in the North Carolina mountains. But its steepness makes it better for experienced hikers.

Sheer white cliffs rise 400 to 750 feet along the sides of 4,930-feet tall Whiteside Mountain, providing a clear landmark for miles around. A two-mile moderate loop trail to the summit features inspiring views from the ridge tops. NEAREST CITY: Highlands NC
 
Stone Mountain State Park 
The Park features more than 16 miles of hiking trails that wind through forests of oak, hickory and pine before going over and around a massive granite dome that rises 600 feet above the valley floor.

In addition to hiking, you can climb certain cliffs. Specific rules apply so check with the ranger station before climbing. If you’re less adventurous, spend time at the historical exhibits, which include a log cabin and blacksmith shop, complete with original furnishings and tools. Bring your fishing rod, too. Twenty miles of Wild Trout Waters are available at the park.
 
North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail:
Mountains-to-Sea Trail  The Mountains-to-Sea Trail connects Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks with 1000 miles of footpaths and temporary connectors. Currently about 530 miles of footpaths are complete with work crews, mostly volunteers, continuing construction. The connectors make it possible to hike the entire 1000 miles.

The route passes through 37 counties containing about 40 percent of the state's population. The trail is used by people out for an afternoon stroll as well as those planning to hike the trail from one end of the state to the other.
 
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail travels along 300 miles of beautiful North Carolina mountains. Well known by the locals as offering some of the most dramatic views, here are some top hikes to get you back in touch with mother nature.

Roan Mountain:
Known for it's expansive grassy balds and flowering rhododendrons this area of the AT offers gorgeous panoramic views. Visit the Roan Mountain recreation area to find restrooms, picnic tables and a paved half-mile trail. Or park at Carver's Gap for a longer seven-mile hike.  Get a description here.

Clingman’s Dome: At 6,643 feet, this is the highest point along the AT. From here you can hike on a number of different trails that provide stunning mountain vistas. Read more here

Max Patch: Located near Hot Springs, Max Patch offers 360 degree views atop 350 acres of open grassy field. The AT passes right through the middle and is a popular place especially during leaf season.  Get Madison County Trail Access Points here The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.  

The Trail crosses Western North Carolina from the Georgia border to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for about 95.9 miles before turning along the Tennessee border for another 287 miles until it exits NC at the Virginia border.  There are long climbs in the Stecoah-Cheoah Mountain area, and an outstanding section in Nantahala with 4,000-foot gaps and 5,000-foot peaks. Cheoah Bald offers panoramic views of western North Carolina. This part  of the A.T. provides a feeling of remoteness, and a sensation of being in deep forests. The variety of forest growth and the beauty of the flowering shrubs, along with the many spectacular views, make this entire section of Trail memorable. The Appalachian Trail crosses western North CarolinaThe AT section from the Nantahala River to the Georgia border features some the best-graded trail at high elevations and there are lots of views from natural openings and fire towers, some requiring short side trips. 

Appalachian Trail follows segments of mountain ranges in the Cherokee National Forest, ascending to the high country of the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, and the highest mountains along the Trail—several above six thousand feet. Here lie the Roan Highlands, noted for their rhododendron gardens and the panoramic views of the open grassy “balds” such as Hump Mountain. The A.T. continues southward along the state line and through the Pisgah National Forest.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with more than 70 miles of crestline Trail, features the highest elevations of the entire footpath, well above six thousand feet. Clingman's Dome is the highest point on the entire A.T., where the Trail reaches an elevation of 6,625 feet near the summit. 
 
National Forest Trails
National Forest trails are for hikers only, unless signed and designated for bikes, horses, or ORV's. You should assume that unsigned trails are hiking-only trails. Some trails provide educational experiences about nature or the area's history while others are "back-to-nature" adventures in pristine settings.

Over 1700 miles of national forest trails are open to discovery in North Carolina. Some trails are easy and fun for families with small children; other paths make great half-day hikes. Longer trails can lead to backpacking adventures for a night or much longer. No permits are required for using national forest trails (except for overnight stays in the Linville Gorge Wilderness), though some areas have access fees. Wilderness trails are the most primitive and should be used only by those with orienteering skills. Check in with the District Ranger Station for the latest information, maps and current regulations.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest Trails  - Asheville area. Hiking, biking and horseback riding with a downloadable map available.

  NC Mountain City Guides
Get everything you need on ONE easy to use page for each of our 50+ NC mountain cities. We've done the searching so you don't have to. Find a locator map, cabin and vacation rentals, Inns, camping, restaurants, maps, weather, attractions, outdoor activities, galleries, shops and more.  CLICK HERE
Hiking The Blue Ridge Parkway:
The Trails are sorted by Milepost Marker with links for details if available
297    Price Lake Loop Trail (loop around Price Lake) 2.3 miles 
302.8   Rough Ridge 1/3 mile to wonderful views on a boardwalk atop a rocky ridge. Tanawha Trail. 
304.4   Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center and Tanawha Trail. 
305.2   Beacon Heights Trail,, one mile roundtrip with panoramic views from a rock face mountaintop. Tanawha Trail. 
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308.2    Flat Rock Trail (self-guiding loop) 0.63 Easy  
316.4    Linville Falls Trail: A trail through rare virgin forest. Balcony views of the Falls and the incredibly carved gorge. Labeled trail aids. 0.8 mile Moderate  
316.4    Linville Gorge Trail: View of lower Falls. 0.5 Strenuous. Read more about Linville Gorge
316.4    Duggers Creek Trail: Loop to view of Duggers Falls. 0.25 Easy  
316.5    Linville River Bridge Trail: Leg stretcher to view of unusual bridge. 0.1 Easy  
320.8    Chestoa View Trail: 30-minute loop to vista. 0.6 Easy  
339.5     Crabtree Falls Loop Trail: Loop to view of Falls.  2.6 Strenuous 
344.1    Woods Mountain Trail: USFS trail. 10.6  Moderate/Strenuous  
350.4    Green Knob Lookout Tower. A lookout tower with 360 degree views is a 1/2 mile hike. Moderate/Strenuous 
351.9    Deep Gap Trail: USFS trail. 0.2 Easy 
355.0    Bald Knob Ridge Trail: USFS Trail. Virgin red spruce and Fraser fir. 2.8 Easy  
355.4    Mt. Mitchell State Park  add  Mt. Craig 
359.8    Big Butt Trail: Trail continues on USFS lands. Nice wildflower displays just a short distance off the Parkway. 6.2 Strenuous  
361.2    Glassmine Falls: Just a few steps out of the parking area to a view of Falls. 0.05 Moderate  
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364.2    Craggy Pinnacle Trail: To panoramic view. 0.7 Moderate  
364.6    Craggy Gardens Trail: First portion is self-guiding nature trail. Beautiful displays of Catawba Rhododendron bloom in June. 0.8 Moderate  
374.4    Rattlesnake Lodge Trail: Woodland walk to old homestead site, now just walls and foundations.  0.5 Moderate  
382.0    Mountain-to-Sea Trail: MTS Trail (from Folk Art Center to Milepost 365 spring wildflowers and views; parallels parkway; many accesses). The Mountains to the Sea Trail is a work in progress that will eventually cross North Carolina from west to east. Many sections, including most of the mountain portions, are finished. 7.5 Moderate  
393.7    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Bent Creek-Walnut Cove  3.1 Strenuous  
396.4    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Walnut Cove-Sleepy Gap.  1.7 Moderate  
397.3    Grassy Knob Trail: Steep trail to USFS area. 0.9 Strenuous 
397.3    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Sleepy Gap-Chestnut Cove. 0.7 Moderate 
398.3    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Chestnut Cove-Bent Creek Gap. 2.8 Strenuous  
400.3    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Bent Creek Gap-Beaver Dam Gap. 1.9 Moderate  
401.7    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Beaver Dam Gap-Stoney Bald. 0.9 Moderate  
402.6    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Stoney Bald-Big Ridge. 1.2 Strenuous  
403.6    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Big Ridge-Mills River Valley. 1.1 Moderate/Strenuous  
404.5    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Mills River Valley-Elk Pasture Gap. 1.2 Strenuous  
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405.5    Shut-In Trail/MTS Trail: Elk Pasture Gap-Mt. Pisgah. 1.7 Strenuous  
407.6    Mt. Pisgah Trail: 360 degree summit view from 5721 ft. mountain. 1.3 Moderate/Strenuous  
407.6    Buck Springs Trail: Pisgah Lodge to view. 1.06 Easy/Moderate  
408.5    Frying Pan Mountain Trail: To Big Bald. Good wildflower area. Continue on FR 450 to the fire tower for views. 2 Moderate/Strenuous  
417.0    East Fork Trail: USFS trail access to Shining Rock WildernessTrail System. 0.1 Easy/Moderate  
418.8    Graveyard Fields Loop Trail: Loop by a stream with several waterfalls.  2.3 Moderate  
419.4    John Rock Trail: Leg stretcher to view. 0.1 Easy 
420.2    Black Balsam Bald  
422.4    Devil's Courthouse Trail: Panoramic summit view.  0.4 Moderate/Strenuous 
427.6    Bear Pen Gap Trail: Access to Mountains-to-Sea Trail. 0.2 Easy  
431.0    Richland Balsam Trail: Self-guiding loop through spruce-fir forest near the highest point on the Parkway. 1.5 Moderate  
433.8    Roy Taylor Overlook Trail Paved trail to overlook. 0.1 Easy 
451.2    Waterrock Knob Trail: Summit view. 1.2 Moderate/Strenuous  
 
Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Park offers 800 miles of hiking trails
List of Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
Mount LeConte Trails 
Park Map 
This site is dedicated in loving memory to Teacher Beth, whose spirit still climbs every mountain  HOME   NC Mountains Map   NC Mountain News   NC Shops online   NC Favorite Places  Events Calendar
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