North Carolina May 01, 2018
8 Low-Key Hikes In North Carolina With Amazing Payoffs
A hike doesn’t have to be a monumental effort in order to sow rewards. The Tar Heel State does have some challenging hikes, but not everyone is up to that kind of adrenaline rush every single time we go out for a hike, right? The following eight hikes are easy peasy and, although some may be short while others are long, they all have amazing payoffs. Take a look below.
1. Catawba Falls - near Old Fort
The hike is just under three miles round trip and it ends up at the base of a huge waterfall with cascades at the base. If you're not a seasoned hiker, then you'll want to turn back at this point. The trail does continue to an upper set of falls, but it is known to be a treacherous journey. The trailhead is located at 3074 Catawba River Rd., Old Fort, NC 28762.
2. Hard Times Road Trail - Powhatan Recreation Area near Asheville
After a relatively easy four miles from the parking area, you'll reach Lake Powhatan and its fantastic spill wall. The trail is suitable for children and dogs, however, it's also open to bikes so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for bikers. The payoff at the end is this gorgeous view and there is a place along the lake where you can swim if you want to. Here is a
with a link to the parking area for this hike.
3. Craggy Pinnacle Trail - MP 364.4 Blue Ridge Parkway
The summit of the Craggy Pinnacle Trail is a mere .05 mile hike, but getting there is all up hill. The good news is two-fold: the view is 360-degrees and you'll feel on top of the world. Part two of the upside to the legwork getting to the summit: it's all downhil getting back to your car! You'll find the parking lot at milepost 364.4 on the parkway.
4. Jetton Park - Cornelius
This county park in Mecklenberg County dishes up forever views of Lake Norman. You'll find that out as you make your way along the 1.5 mile paved trail that meanders along the lake and through the park. Bring a lunch and possibly even some swimming attire. Jetton Park is located at 19000 Jetton Rd., Cornelius, NC 28031. It's open from sunrise to 10:30 p.m. in the summer and until 9:00 p.m. in the winter.
5. Mount Mitchell Summit Trail - Burnsville
The trail adjacent to the summit parking lot and visitors center is a short two-tenths of a mile each way to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Of course, there are more challenging ways to get to the summit if you want to feel your muscles burn, and have a little more time on your hands. More information can be found on the
for North Carolina State Parks. Mount Mitchell State Park is located at 2388 State Hwy. 128, Burnsville, NC 28714.
6. Duggers Creek Falls - Newland
This short and easy hike is less than a half mile long. You'll encounter some roots and rocks that may require some skilled navigation. But overall, the trail is rated easy for one that's located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area — and it features a waterfall that's right out of storybook. The location of the falls can be found on
this Google Maps link
7. Toms Creek Falls - Marion
A short and sweet scenic hike of less than a mile each way yields this stunning destination which includes Tom Creek Falls and a bonus: a hidden cave on the other side of the water at the falls. Do you dare enter? You'll find the trailhead for this easy hike on Huskins Branch Road in Marion, NC.
8. Flat Top Mountain Trail - Blowing Rock
You may feel as though you're passing through a picturesque ranch on top of a mountain as you hike this trail from Moses H. Cone Memorial Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike is 4.8 miles out and back and delivers outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is located at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hiking in North Carolina, even in Western North Carolina, doesn’t have to be a strenuous affair. There is a multitude of easy trails that lead to extraordinary places.
Check out this unique trail on the North Carolina/Tennessee border for one more low-key hike with a big payoff.