North Carolina is an explorer’s paradise. You can spend weeks on the Appalachian Trail or even just a short weekend along the mountains to sea trail. While there are SO many options to choose from, sometimes it can get hard to pick which ones to add to you summer bucket list. These 12 are by far some of the BEST hikes North Carolina has to offer. Ready to hike your way to an amazing view?
1. Whiteside Mountain
A brisk, 2.5 mile hike takes you the breathtaking whiteside mountain. The 700 ft. cliff takes your breath away. The best time to hike is mid-June as flowers overtake the rough terrain.
2. Crabtree Falls
Start your journey at milepost 339.5 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. While the 2.5 mile hike is somewhat strenuous, it's extremely rewarding when you reach the beautiful Crabtree Falls.
3. Harper Creek Falls
Advanced hikers love this challenging, 8.5 mile hike. The journey is just as beautiful as the destination. You'll trek through untouched vegetation, creeks flowing peacefully, and amazing mountain views. The endpoint is Harper Creek Falls, a unique waterfall.
4. Linville Falls
Linville Falls has quite a few trails to choose from, all providing different perspectives of the fall. For the most photogenic view, take Erwin's Trail. The hike is only 1.9 miles and starts at the visitor center.
5. Stone Mountain Loop
Stone Mountain Loop lets you see a bit of everything at this amazing place. The 5.2 mile hike takes you around Stone Mountain, past a waterfall, and to the Hutchinson family homestead that was occupied from 1855-1955.
6. Carolina Beach State Park
The Sugarloaf Dune Trail is a perfect, beachy hike that allows you to make the most of the coastal terrain. The 2.8 mile hike passes by quickly as you're mesmerized by your surroundings - you might even see a Venus Fly Trap!
7. Looking Glass Rock
Composed of whiteside granite formed 390 million years ago, this majestic landmark is better experienced up close. The 6.4 mile hike is strenuous...but with an endpoint like that, SO rewarding.
8. Mount Mitchell
Sure, you can drive to the top, but it's so much cooler to say you hiked to the top of Mount Mitchell (plus you get that experience). Old Mitchell Trail allows you to do just that. The hilly trail spans for 4 miles; you'll pass the historic Camp Alice and witness a changing eco-system with each mile.
9. Hanging Rock State Park
There are plenty of trails to choose from at this ever popular destination not far from the triad. Moore's Wall Loop Trail takes you to a breathtaking, rock outcropping vista with THOSE views. The hike is 4.3 miles, and if you still have a little energy left, take the Lower Cascade Trail to breathtaking waterfalls.
10. Pilot Mountain
Jomeokee Trail is a very short, 0.9 mile hike. Perfect for those looking for a quick adventure. On your walk you're treated to beautiful rock outcroppings, gorgeous views, and even a couple places to sit and have a picnic.
11. Craggy Pinnacle Overlook
Only a short distance from the Blue Ridge Parkway, this brisk 1.4 mile hike takes you to a gorgeous overlook with breathtaking mountain views. The best time to go is late May-June as the rhododendrons illuminate the landscape in beautiful colors.
12. Grandfather Mountain
For the more seasoned explorer, this difficult but worth it 7 mile hike takes you to the best view of Grandfather Mountain. The appropriately named Grandfather's Profile Trail starts at a creek bed and delights you with spruce-fir trees and large rock outcroppings. While difficult, the view at the end is beyond worth it.
It’s time to lace up those boots and get on the trails! Have you done any of these hikes before? Are there any others you’d want to add to the list?