7 Awesome Fall Hikes In North Carolina

By: Steve Yocom + Save to a List

Explore some of the greatest trails in the country.

North Carolina is home to some of the tallest mountains and most beautiful scenery in the eastern United States. From rolling hills to waterfalls, there is an endless supply of trails leading to scenery that will leave you in awe. Home to the famed Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina must be added to your bucket list. If you're lucky enough to live in North Carolina, be sure to check out one of these awesome hikes this weekend.

1. Looking Glass Falls

Photo: Steve Yocom

This is one of the most popular and scenic waterfalls in the area. It's more of a short walk than a hike, which makes it an even sweeter deal. If you've come to visit it on a warmer day, remember to pack your bathing suit. This magnificent 60 foot waterfall has a pool at it's base that you can wade, swim, and cool off in. Learn more.

2. Green Knob

Photo: Steve Yocom

Although not as popular as neighboring Shining Rock Wilderness, the Middle Prong Wilderness is equally as beautiful and typically half as crowded. This hike, mostly along the Mountain to Sea trail, leads through forests of oak, birch, spruce and fir trees, along a babbling brook, past waterfalls, and onto an expansive summit meadow. Learn more.

3. Catawba Falls

Photo: Justin Costner

This is a popular one and for good reason - the 100 ft falls are beautiful and it’s a pretty easy hike. Get there early if you want to avoid the crowds. Learn more.

4. Hemphill Bald

Photo: Steve Yocom

Hemphill Bald is a quintessential Smoky Mountains vantage point and this moderate loop trail leading to it takes you through beautiful forest and rolling hills. This area is incredible in all seasons - wildflowers in the spring, colorful leaves in the fall, and with bare trees in the winter, the vistas along the way open up for even more sweeping views. Learn more.

5. Grassy Ridge Bald

Photo: Steve Yocom

Here’s your chance to hike the famed Appalachian Trail - or at least part of it. In the very beginning of the hike, you'll pass through a forest until you reach the Balds, which are wide open, allowing for amazing views. Learn more.

6. Calloway Peak

Photo: Justin Costner

Catch one of the most amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the 5,946 ft. summit of Grandfather Mountain. Although it’s a shorter hike, I wouldn’t call it easy. You’ll definitely get your heart pumping on this one. Learn more.

7. Hike Tennent Mountain

Photo: Steve Yocom

This is a great spot for a sunrise hike with a great view. The best part, though, comes after the hike when you head to Pisgah Inn for breakfast. Learn more.

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Remember to always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and be sure to brush up on LNT principles for backcountry fires as well.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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