There are more than 900 miles of hiking trails in western North Carolina alone. This mountainous region of the state has some of the most breathtaking views and pristine environs that feature easy hiking trails for the casual hiker or challenging pathways for those who like a bit of adrenaline to charge a nature trek.
The following are some top hiking trails in the Tar Heel State!
Grandfather Mountain was initially called “Tanawha” by the native Cherokee people, meaning hawk or eagle. When white settlers arrived, they noticed a rock formation that looked like an older man’s profile; thus, Grandfather Mountain was created.
This location offers several trails, from challenging to easy. The Black Rock trail provides panoramic views of mountains, including Attic window and MacRae peaks. It’s a strenuous trail that winds through areas of spruce and fir trees interspersed with rock outcroppings. Hikers use a series of cables and ladders to traverse the rocky outcroppings.
Art Loeb Trail
Art Loeb Trail is a series of linked hiking paths in the beautiful Pisgah National Forest with more than 30 miles of trails. Shelters and other refinements are provided along the way for rest and camping. Highlights of this lovely trail include Neil Gap, with an elevation of 2,848 feet and breathtaking views, Pilot Mountain, and Deep Gap.
Chimney Rock State Park
This area was designated a state park in 2007 after North Carolina purchased the land from the Morse family. Chimney Rock has six excellent hiking trails that have been established here, including one that finds Hickory Nut Falls, a 404-foot ribbon of waterfall. This park’s rugged features were used as a backdrop in the Daniel Day-Lewis film, The Last of the Mohicans. The Outcroppings Trail features 500 natural steps that can be climbed to reach Chimney Rock. There the hiker gets a fabulous 360-degree panorama of breathtaking scenery.
If you are a plant lover, you’ll revel in an easy 1-mile trail that will take you through the rhododendron gardens. Roan Mountain’s trails are world-renowned, and this is a trail accessible to disabled hikers and is easy for children to handle. It features 16 interpretation stations that help travelers identify the rare and exotic plants found along the way.