The Old North State offers hikers a wealth of beautiful landscapes to explore, ranging from the beaches of the barrier islands on the Atlantic coast to the forested hills of the Appalachian Mountains. To help you discover some of the best hikes in North Carolina we've highlighted five adventures based on recommendations from Trails.com and the state's tourism department, and as always while hiking: be safe and leave no trace!
You can hike up to 96 miles of the Appalachian Trail within the borders of North Carolina, as well as another 225 miles in the higher country along the Tennessee state line. Hikers traverse the changing elevations of the Great Smokey Mountains on this portion of the AT, and scenic highlights include several named rivers, the Nantahala River and Nantahala Gorge, Ridgepole Mountain, the Blue Ridge, and Max Patch.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
Eleven trails create a network that covers 12 miles of ground throughout Grandfather Mountain State Park, treating hikers to a variety of sites and scenes that have been famous in North Carolina for generations. The diverse alpine landscapes and ecology found on the mountain are a treat for hikers of all ages, but not all of the trails throughout the state park are for every experience level.
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs for 1,175 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, and hikers can either attempt the entire trek (which takes about ---- days) or walk portions as short as they please. This diverse trail treats hikers to picture-perfect scenes of forested mountains, plantations and farmland, wetlands, sand dunes, and the beaches of the Outer Banks as it makes its way across the state.
Uwharrie National Forest
Hikers have access to more than 60 miles of trails in the Uwharrie National Forest, which is the home of the remains of the oldest mountain range in North America. You'll have a chance to explore the sprawling forest, hills, and ridges from Badin Lake to the Pee Dee River on trails like Densons Creek Nature Trail, Birkhead Mountain Trail, Hannahs Creek Trail, Dutchman's Creek Trail, Wood Run Trail, Keyauwee Trail.
Chasteen Creek Loop
The nearly 17-mile Chasteen Creek Loop (comprised of the Bradley Fork Trail, Chasteen Creek Trail, the Smokemont Loop Trail, and the Cabine Flats Trail) leads hikers on a pleasant journey through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Peaceful woodlands, rocky areas, and waterfalls of the Chasteen Creek are sights that hikers can enjoy all year long with the changing seasons.