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  • North Carolina

    North Carolina is a great destination for outdoor activities and attractions. From the scenic trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy beaches of the Outer Banks, there is something for everyone. For those looking for an outdoor adventure, the best trails and outdoor activities in and near the area include hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping. The Appalachian Trail, Linville Gorge, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore are all must-visit locations. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the area also offers plenty of opportunities for bird watching, fishing, and picnicking. No matter what type of outdoor activities you’re looking for, North Carolina has something for everyone.

    Top Spots in and near North Carolina

    • Morganton, North Carolina

      Camp on Shortoff Mountain in the Linville Gorge

      5.0
      The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, also known as the Grand Canyon of the East, is one of the wildest, most rugged gorges in the eastern United States. It's also an outdoor paradise for hikers and backpackers. Camping here is always a treat and you are sure to enjoy your time spent in the gorge.D...
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    • Durham, North Carolina

      Cabe Lands Trail and Eno Quarry Loop

      4.7
      2.25 mi / 364 ft gain
      Escape the NC heat at the quarry at Eno River State Park. Access the Eno Quarry via Cabe Lands Access Point (parking lot off Howe Street). Follow the Cabe Lands Trail (red blazes) from the parking lot. About 80 yards down the path you'll see a trail split off to the left or right. Keep going on ...
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    • Mount Gilead, North Carolina

      Dutchman's Creek Trail, Uwharrie NF

      3.8
      11.31 mi / 1407 ft gain
      This hike starts with mellow terrain changes allowing you to get a feel for the trail. For the first 5 miles you will have one or two steep inclines that take a toll on the calf muscles. The remaining 6 miles include a more difficult terrain including a section of the hike called Hallucination Hi...
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    • Franklin, North Carolina

      Nantahala National Forest via the Appalachian Trail

      4.0
      27.11 mi / 5420 ft gain
      Winding Stair Gap on Highway 64 is the starting point for this spectacular backpacking trip through the Nantahala National Forest. It's right outside the hiker friendly town of Franklin, NC, so the town is your last chance for a hot meal and any last minute supplies. There is a parking lot at the...
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    • Blowing Rock, North Carolina

      Camp and Paddle at Price Lake

      This campground is all kinds of amazing, and if you get one of the sites in the A loop, you will have lakefront property (just be warned, if I see you there, I'll have to crash with you ;-). Price Lake is a gorgeous lake right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and perfect for canoeing...
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    • Sylva, North Carolina

      Waterrock Knob Trail

      5.0
      1 mi / 407 ft gain
      The trail begins paved and quickly climbs up into a heavily forested area. Once at a 1/4 of a mile in, you will come to a nice overlook that will give you your first real good view of the surrounding mountains. The trail then continues on, though now unpaved, with great views off to your left as ...
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    • Newport, North Carolina

      Hike to Mt. Sterling's Fire Tower

      4.0
      12 mi / 4200 ft gain
      On your way in, stop at the ranger station parking lot to use the outhouses and grab a map for $1. Once at the Baxter Creek trailhead you have two options: 1. The Out and Back (12.2 miles) 2. The Loop (17 miles)Out and Back: Start on the Baxter Creek Trail and continue up for 6.1 miles until you...
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    • Brevard, North Carolina

      Camp at Davidson River Campground in the Pisgah National Forest

      4.5
      Pisgah National Forest, in my opinion, is one of the best national forests in the United States. Being just a short drive from Great Smokey Mountain National Park it has all the feel of being in the smokies with more to explore. Pisgah has anything you could want to see or do from tens of water...
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    • Gastonia, North Carolina

      Hike Crowders Mountain

      4.6
      4.2 mi / 1100 ft gain
      Crowders Mountain State Park is the closest green space to downtown Charlotte and it will not disappoint. There are two peaks worth checking out: The Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain. Crowders Mountain stands at 1,600' offering incredible views of the surrounding area and on a clear day you can see...
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    • Waynesville, North Carolina

      Explore Cataloochee Valley

      5.0
      History, solitude and wildlife abound in this quiet corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but getting here is not easy. Take the scenic route via Cove Creek Road from Cosby, TN. Drive 40 miles along the twisting, gravel road to Cataloochee, NC. The scenery along the way is outstanding, b...
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    • Pinnacle, North Carolina

      Hike the Jomeokee Trail at Pilot Mountain SP

      4.3
      0.8 mi / 100 ft gain
      This unique peak, also known as the Big Pinnacle, is in Pilot Mountain State Park.  From the main parking area on top of the mountain on Pilot Knob Park Road, you can first view the Big Pinnacle from the overlook attached to the parking lot.  The prominent mountain behind the Big Pinnacle is Hang...
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    • Bakersville, North Carolina

      Round Bald via Carver's Gap

      4.3
      1.72 mi / 338 ft gain
      This super easy hike to the campsites near Round Bald is the perfect intro to backpacking for kids or newbies, but serves just as well for the more experienced backpackers who can't squeeze a longer trip in over the weekend. This short (.5 mile) hike in leads to a grassy opening with amazing vie...
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    • Banner Elk, North Carolina

      Explore Boone Fork Creek

      0.25 mi / 75 ft gain
      Boone Fork Bridge and creek is situated at the base of Grandfather Mountain, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 299.9. Elevation 3905'.The trailhead is at the left side of Boone Fork Creek parking area and the trail is a gentle meander through Rhododendrons and a hardwood forest.As you head tow...
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    • Newport, North Carolina

      Mouse Creek Falls

      5.0
      4.04 mi / 605 ft gain
      Follow Big Creek Trail on a moderate climb to this 45-foot waterfall. Around 1.3 miles in, you will begin to hike alongside Big Creek, and shortly afterwards you will pass Midnight Hole, a particularly deep pool. There are a number of other small falls en route. In spring you should see a number ...
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    • Statesville, North Carolina

      Hike the Lake Shore Trail at Lake Norman

      4.4
      5 mi / 75 ft gain
      From the Cove Picnic area in Lake Norman State Park, you immediately begin hiking along the lakeshore. If you don't want to take the full lake loop, use Short Turn Trail for a 2.5 mile hike. This trail makes for a moderate hike or solid trail run route.
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    • Bakersville, North Carolina

      Hiking from Carver's Gap to Hwy. 19 on the AT

      5.0
      20.7 mi
      The AT from Carver's Gap to HWY 19 is about 14.5 miles, but with side adventures, it could be roughly 20 miles. The trail crosses the road and continues up about a 400 ft. elevation gain to the first of the balds. This section of the AT is beautiful at near 6000 ft. above sea level and you will g...
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