North Carolina May 08, 2017
10 Amazing North Carolina Hikes Under 3 Miles You’ll Absolutely Love
Summertime is officially on the horizon and what pairs better with summer than a beautiful hike in gorgeous North Carolina scenery? While some hikes can be somewhat intense, and even spanning a day or two, if you’re looking to hop in the car for some ‘semi’ instant gratification and adventure, these easy but amazing hikes are a must-add to your summer bucket list!
1. Jomeokee Trail, Pilot Mountain
For one of the shortest on the list, the Jomeokee Trail does not disappoint. The 0.9 mile hike loops you around the big pinnacle of Pilot Mountain with plenty of interesting rock outcroppings, formations, and even nooks for picnics. It's perfect for a quick daytime hike or a way to spruce up your usual workouts.
2. Craggy Gardens
Late May is the perfect time to try to 1.5 mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail as the rhododendron blooms overtake the majority of your hike. From feeling like you've entered Middle Earth or fallen down the rabbit hole, Craggy Gardens is full of wondrous scenery with a breathtaking endpoint featuring views of some of the tallest peaks in Blue Ridge.
3. Crabtree Falls Loop Trail
This 2.5 mile hike takes you to the stunning Crabtree Falls. Perfect for a mid-morning hike, once you get to the impressive waterfall you'll want to hang around for a bit. The hike features stone stairs down to the fall, a small walkway bridge and flat paths on your way back...the perfect mix of everything.
4. Flat Laurel Creek
If you're wanting to try to popular Graveyard Fields Trail, but don't want to deal with crowds, try the gorgeous alternative of Flat Laurel Creek. This remote, The 2.5 mi hike starts at a high elevation valley then leads through dark, spruce-fir trees. The trail is beneath both Sam's Knob and Black Balsam Knob. If you're looking for a little more, you can also hike to a waterfall on Flat Laurel Creek.
5. Sugarloaf Dune Trail
For a coastal alternative, the 2.8 mile Sugarloaf Dune Trail at Carolina Beach State Park weaves you through a diverse coastal habitat from marshland, tide forests, and sprawling water views...you might even see a Venus Fly Trap.
6. Lower Cascade Trail
The shortest hike on this list, at just 0.40 miles, is a favorite for many. Located at Hanging Rock State Park, Lower Cascade Falls is one of three waterfalls found at Hanging Rock but also doubles as a beautiful swimming hole come summer. If you're craving more adventure, you can take the 4.3 mile Moore's Wall Loop Trail to the top of Hanging Rock.
7. Whiteside Mountain
For only 2.5 miles, the Whiteside Mountain trail is beyond amazing. Your destination is the 700 foot whiteside 'cliff.' A great time to try this hike is early June as wildflowers overtake the terrain.
8. Erwin's View, Linville Falls
Linville Falls sees no shortage of visitors, and for good reason, the waterfall offers different hiking trails all leading to different perspectives of the falls. If it's your first time, the 1.9 mile Erwin's View Trail begins at the Visitor's Center and takes you to one of the most coveted views of the waterfall.
9. Raven Rock Trail
This centrally-located hike is at the gorgeous Raven Rock State Park. Between Sanford and Lillington, it's a great day trip for those in the Piedmont or Triangle. The 2.6 mile trail takes you to a stone vista offering stunning views of the Cape Fear River.
10. Hickory Nut Falls
While you'll want to do plenty of exploring at Chimney Rock State Park, save some energy for the 1.5 mile hike to Hickory Nut Falls. This breathtaking waterfall falls a total of 404-feet.
How beautiful are those hikes? Perfect for a quick adventure or accompaniment to a weekend long outing. Which ones have you done before? Any you’d add to the list?
Speaking of short but amazing hikes,
this 0.50 mile trail leads you to a beautiful mountain-fed swimming hole.