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The Best Hiking in North Carolina

Looking for the best hiking in North Carolina? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around North Carolina. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top hiking spots in and near North Carolina

  • Tuckasegee, North Carolina

    Paradise Falls

    4.3
    1.5 mi
    To the north of Panthertown lies a chain of dammed lakes that are some of the most peaceful waters in Western North Carolina. These make up the headwaters of the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River. The gorges that run between the top lakes are wild, scenic, and adventurous to even the most experie...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Sam Knob and Flat Laurel Creek Loop

    4.9
    3.84 mi / 807 ft gain
    This is one of my favorite quick "getaway" loops in the Pisgah Ranger District. Turn onto Black Balsam Knob Road (Mile Marker 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) go until you reach a dead end and park at the parking lot. You'll see the Sam Knob trail to the right of the public bathrooms. From there, i...
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  • Old Fort, North Carolina

    Catawba Falls

    4.8
    2.19 mi / 394 ft gain
    Please note, Catawba Falls is temporarily closed. You can learn more about updates at www.fs.usda.gov. This quick and relatively easy hike is located close to Asheville, NC. If you're looking to have the trail to yourself, it can be a little tough. It's best to get there as early as possible or ...
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  • Bakersville, North Carolina

    Grassy Ridge Bald in the Roan Highlands

    5.0
    4.84 mi / 932 ft gain
    Once you've parked at Carver's Gap (5500'), the trailhead is pretty easy to find. Simply cross the highway and jump onto the Appalachian Trail, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Head north on the AT as you head through the Roan Mountain Balds. In the very beginning of the hike,...
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  • Bryson City, North Carolina

    Clingmans Dome

    4.4
    1.23 mi
    The drive to Clingmans Dome is miles of scenic overlooks that provide endless views of ridges and valleys. Clingmans Dome Road comes to a parking lot from which you follow a .5 mile paved trail to the summit. There are also several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road. Most notably The Appal...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Green Knob via MST

    4.0
    9.08 mi / 1368 ft gain
    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,...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Art Loeb Trail

    4.8
    30.07 mi / 7467 ft gain
    Start at The Davidson River Campground just outside of Brevard, NC (276 Pisgah Ranger District). Have a shuttle car or a friend waiting at the Daniel Boone Boy Scout camp for the finish line. Hop on the 30.1 mile long Art Loeb Trail at the trailhead in the Davidson River Campground. Pull into th...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Looking Glass Rock

    4.5
    5.43 mi / 1572 ft gain
    This is a really nice, moderately difficult hike along a cascading creek, up switchbacks, and through wildflower fields. A couple miles in, you'll reach a helipad that is used for rescuing injured rock climbers - Looking Glass Rock is a popular destination for world class climbing. There is a sma...
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  • Linville, North Carolina

    Rough Ridge Lookout

    4.3
    0.5 mi / 92 ft gain
    The trailhead for Rough Ridge will be on your righthand side when driving the Blue Ridge Parkway from Boone, NC. This trail gets busy in the warmer months, but parking usually is not too much of an issue. This trail is not open in the winter. Rough Ridge will take you around 30-45 minutes to rea...
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  • Linville, North Carolina

    Shortoff Mountain Summit

    4.8
    4.64 mi / 1178 ft gain
    Start your hike from the Shortoff Mountain Trail off of Wolf Pit Road at the base of Lake James. From the summit there is a small grassy area off a side trail that provided awesome cliff side views of the Gorge and Linville River! You can setup after making the hour and a half trek (maybe just in...
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  • Morganton, North Carolina

    Hawksbill Mountain Trail

    4.9
    1.87 mi / 633 ft gain
    Hidden far above the beautiful Linville Gorge stands Hawksbill Mountain, among many other fantastic hikes. The roughly 1.7 mile hike from the dusty gravel parking lot is steep but worth every step. It took me about an hour to conquer with a few water bottle-guzzling stops. At the top, you are al...
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  • Walnut Cove, North Carolina

    Lower Cascade Falls

    4.4
    0.75 mi / 105 ft gain
    A beautiful hike through the forest of Hanging Rock State Park. Trail meanders through pines and hardwoods filled with boulders, mountain laurel, scenic views, and the occasional deer or turkey. The trail begins as gravel and dirt then turns into steps made of wood and stone. Also on the trail is...
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  • Franklin, North Carolina

    Wesser Bald Fire Tower

    4.7
    2.36 mi / 807 ft gain
    The road leading to the trailhead is rough the last mile, but doable in any car. Just make sure to take it easy going up and be careful, especially if there has been any rain or snow. You will have reached the parking area for the hike once you see a large green Appalachian trail sign and a few...
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  • Bakersville, North Carolina

    Roan Highlands: Carvers Gap to US 19E via Appalachian Trail

    5.0
    15.47 mi / 2598 ft gain
    The Roan highlands, possibly one of the best sections of the Appalachian Trail, is a section of grassy balds that range from 5000-6000 feet following the A.T. Start at Carvers Gap ( Highway 261 NC / Highway 143 TN) on the TN/NC border. You can either leave a car at Highway 19E or arrange for a s...
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  • Danbury, North Carolina

    Hike to Hanging Rock

    4.4
    2.6 mi / 600 ft gain
    Park in the main parking lot for Hanging Rock State Park, and the trailhead can easily be found in the upper parking lot (furthest away from the main building), and is clearly marked. The trail starts off by descending, but don't be fooled, it quickly turns into a steady climb that will have you ...
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Moore Cove Falls

    4.3
    1.28 mi / 223 ft gain
    The hike relatively quick and has minimal elevation gain, making it a great hike for the family or a quick stop off if you're planning to do another hike in the same day. This part of the Pisgah National Forest is filled with scenic hikes. Once you've parked your car, cross over the stream via a...
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