North Carolina December 09, 2016
10 Picturesque Trails In North Carolina That Are Perfect For Winter Hiking
Winter can sometimes limit our adventurous spirit. It’s dark, it’s cold, and – lets be honest – no one
really wants to get out and be active in the dead of winter. But life should be lived year-round, and in a state that’s packed full of fun, why not make the most of it? These 10 trails are beautiful all the time, but with a little snow you’re transported straight to a winter wonderland.
1. Max Patch
This popular portion on the famous Appalachian Trail, Max Patch takes you to grassy balds at the top of a mountain. Usually blanketed in snow, you'll need a four-wheel drive to get here, but only a good pair of boots to hike the 2.4-mile loop.
2. Linville Gorge
Morganton is the entrance to the Blue Ridge, and here you can experience mountain views without the harsh weather. Checking out Linville Gorge from Wiseman's is as easy as jumping in the car.
3. Dry Falls
From a parking lot, a short walk down takes you to the walk-below waterfall. If the weather is especially cold the fall might even be completely frozen. Make sure to check the weather and roads before you go.
4. DuPont State Forest
With a low elevation, DuPont experiences a more mild winter. Explore hiking trails and waterfalls like Hooker, Triple, and Bridal Veil.
5. Mount Mitchell
The highest peak east of the Mississippi is open year-round (weather permitting). On snowy days you can still traverse up the walkway and marvel at the frozen, sometimes snow-covered scenery from the overlook.
6. Linville Falls
While access to the visitor center is closed during winter (a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed) you can easily hike in from Pisgah Forest. In less than two miles you can access four vistas of the fall and the gorge.
7. Roan Mountain
Roan Mountain is stunning year-round; it's a collection of grassy balds on top of a mountain. Come winter, it turns into a pure winter wonderland paradise (see above picture - breathtaking!). From Asheville to Roan it's usually clear of snow so the roads are easy to access. Carver's Gap is a great way to reach the summit (at NC/TN line) - just make sure to wear layers and have a trusty pair of boots.
8. Bearwallow Mountain
Only 19 miles from downtown Asheville, the two-mile loop trail takes you to the summit and back. The top is a grassy bald with great views!
9. Blue Ridge Parkway
While many sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed off come winter, people get creative and simply walk along the roads to still capture amazing views year-round. It's also popular with cross country skiers.
10. Pilot Mountain
Located in the more weather-friendly Piedmont region, Pilot Mountain's summit is easily accessible from the road, you can drive straight to the top. From there, there are some short trails like Jomeokee and you can also just hop out and roam around and still catch some pretty amazing views.
The good news is that you don’t have to shut yourself in doors all winter or hibernate waiting for warmer temps. There’s still plenty of activity to be had; just make sure to wear lots of layers and ALWAYS check the weather before embarking. Winter can still be exciting, especially in North Carolina.
If you’re looking for other ways to embrace the winter season, why not visit the
largest tubing park on the East Coast?