Nature October 31, 2017
10 Short And Sweet Fall Hikes In North Carolina With A Spectacular End View
We’re now in the last final moments of fall. From watching a cracked auburn leaf fall to the ground to bracing for a chance of snow in the mountains, the time is now to put that fall bucket list to good use before we’re hunkering down for winter. While there’s plenty of time between now and Winter, the leaves won’t be this beautiful for much longer. What better way to embrace the crisp, cool air than to get outside and explore our own backyard?
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Hanging Rock State Park
From a short hike down to Lower Cascade Falls, to spending half a day hiking to the top of Hanging Rock (around 4 miles total), fall lasts a bit longer in the Piedmont. You'll get plenty of mountain vibes without the long drive.
2. Pilot Mountain
Not far from Hanging Rock you'll find Pilot Mountain. One of the last remnants of the ancient Suaratown mountain chain, Pilot Mountain is an easy drive to the top plus a few trails. Hop on Jomeokee Trail for a 0.8-mile hike that leads you around daring rock structures and towards stunning Piedmont views.
3. Carolina Beach State Park
While many head to the mountains come fall, the coast experiences a longer autumn making it the perfect getaway if you're still seeking somewhat warmer days. Carolina Beach State Park is a hidden treasure, chock full of hiking trails, Venus Fly Traps, and breathtaking waterside views. Read our full guide
4. Dry Falls
There's really not much hiking to reach Dry Falls, aside from a walk down from the parking area to the falls. This walk behind waterfalls is majestic year-round, allowing visitors to get the experience of standing beneath a roaring cascade. You'll find it off U.S. 74 Waterfalls Scenic Byway.
5. Crabtree Falls
Bundle up for this one, as it might get a bit chilly. Crabtree Falls loop trail spans 2.5-miles, taking you to the jaw dropping cascade Crabtree Falls is known for. Sliding down a granite rock face, a foot bridge allows you to get close but not soaked. The hike takes a good half day, and it's best to take your time with this one and enjoy the beauty.
6. Erwin's View, Linville Falls
While there's plenty of hikes and trails to experience Linville Falls, one of the most popular is Erwin's View. Starting at the visitor center this 1.9-mile takes you to an aerial view of the Fall while also passing through different perspectives and vistas on your ascent to the top.
7. Raven Rock Trail
This centrally-located hike is a great escape for those in the Triangle. Between Sanford and Lillington, Raven Rock State Park is home to the 2.6-mile Raven Rock Trail that takes you to some breathtaking views of the Cape Fear River.
8. Whiteside Mountain
While the Shadow of the Bear might have come and gone for the season, there's still plenty of beauty to explore at Whiteside Mountain. The 2.5-mile Whiteside Mountain Trail weaves you through old-growth forests and towards panoramic vistas of the Blue Ridge with your endpoint being the 700 foot Whiteside 'cliff.'
9. Mt. Mitchell
As the highest point East of the Mississippi, fall comes and goes quickly here, sometimes before mid-October. Yet, you can experience a bit of an early winter and even a chance of snow. The four mile Old Mitchell Trail lets you climb to the top while witnessing rare flora and fauna.
10. Roan Mountain
Speaking of early winter, those are especially beautiful at the top of Roan Mountain. Not a singular mountain but a small chain, Roan is home to a series of grassy balds located amidst towering peaks. Hop on the 3-mile (total) Cloudland Trail to reach the top. If you're craving more adventure, the Appalachian Trail intersects several trails at the top.
What’s a better way to enjoy the last of fall than to get outside and make the most of these perfect conditions? The mountains have already had their first snow, so the time is now! Which hikes are you planning to do? What are some of your favorite late fall, early winter hikes?
Speaking of Roan Mountain, year-round, it’s a gorgeous place to spend a day.
Read our full guide to Roan Mountain here.