4 Best Places to Go Hiking in North Carolina
North Carolina offers some of the best hiking trails in the country. From the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina to the undisturbed coastal trails of the Outer Banks, this state offers plenty of outdoor adventures just waiting to be explored.
Located just over an hour northeast of Asheville, the Linville Gorge is North Carolina’s Grand Canyon. There are two main hiking trails leading to Linville Falls inside the gorge, both offering spectacular views. Simply park at the Linville Falls Visitor Center and follow the trail signs to the various overlooks. The Linville Falls trails range from moderate to strenuous, so there are great views for both beginning and seasoned hikers. If you’re prepared for steeper elevations, head to the Gorge View Overlook, which provides exceptional views of the Linville River cutting through the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.
If you prefer a day of easy hiking, stick to the main trail to the falls and sit on the rock walls to take in the rushing water.
Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve
The Outer Banks offers numerous hiking spots, including the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. With its many shade trees and wildlife, the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve is a great place to enjoy the various walking paths. Start at the information center and choose your favorite path, but make sure to avoid wearing sandals as these unpaved paths can be quite rough. You’ll be rewarded with a fairly easy hike, lovely bridges, educational signage, and a multitude of birds that will have you feeling like part of nature again.
The NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Can’t decide whether to hike in the mountains or on the coast? The NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail is the state’s premier hiking trail that spans 1,150 miles from Western North Carolina to the Outer Banks. While tackling the entire trail may be a bit unrealistic, you can locate nearby sections such as the Falls Lake Trail in Wake Forest.
A rare offering, the Falls Lake Trail is a continuous 60-mile trail in a metropolitan area. It is further subdivided into 24 sections based on length and difficulty, so if you’re looking for a quick escape from urban life, the Falls Lake Trail is a great option.
Looking Glass Rock Trail
Located near Brevard in Western North Carolina, Looking Glass Rock Trail is a 5.3-mile trail that’s not for the faint of heart. Rated as difficult, this hiking trail in the Pisgah National Forest features several switchbacks and tight turns that reward you with lovely waterfall views. The higher you go up on the ridge, you’ll notice an abundance of mountain laurel and rhododendron shrubs. There’s even a flat rock slab that was once used as a helicopter pad.
Due to the switchbacks, the trail never gets very steep in elevation, but the paths are moderately rough and are best tackled by expert hikers.
No matter where you find yourself in North Carolina, our state offers countless hiking trails just waiting to be explored. Start prepping for your next excursion today.
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