The Best Hiking Trails in North Carolina

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Best hiking trails in NC

You can basically guarantee two things about hikers. 1) They love the outdoors, and 2) They love experiencing the outdoors in new and inquisitive ways. The trails of North Carolina provide all of this and more to the hiker itching to get out of the door and onto the trail.

Whether you’re after 8 mile stroll, a 3 mile boulder filled mountain scramble, or just want to chase a waterfall or two, North Carolina is chalk full of trails to fulfill any hiker’s wanderlust.  Let’s look a few of the best hiking trails in NC!


Pink Beds Loop

Let’s start with the simple and serene. Pink Beds Loop is just over five miles long, so it won’t be thrashing the seasoned thru-hiker, but even the most experienced of us will find peace and comfort in the high elevation, yet steady footing of this trail.

Trek through meadows, experience the variance of Carolinian vegetation, and revel in the simplicity of the forest’s ability to calm your mind as your feet wander and the leaves rustle.   


Looking Glass Hike

For the time pressed hiker not quite willing to settle for the aforementioned option, you’ll not go wrong with the infamous Looking Glass Hike which features almost 7 miles of strenuous hiking sure to push and challenge the hardiest adventurer.

If you’re going to be outdoors why not push yourself to new heights? Looking Glass Rock will do just that, but don’t worry! After the blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll find yourself rewarded with one of the best views the east has to offer!


Standing Indian Trail Loop

This last one is not for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best hiking trails to be found in North Carolina. Standing Indian loop boasts 24 miles of moderately difficult trail, so set aside a weekend, a night, and dust off the backpacking skills.

However, this trail symbolizes far more than just a weekend excursion. It connects with the infamous Appalachian Trail, and any hiker who appreciates America’s most iconic trail will be sure the jump onto Standing Indian Loop as it briefly connects with and pays homage to the Appalachian Trail.



Whatever you’re looking for in a hike, the best of North Carolina is sure to offer it.

  • Waterfalls, forests, and mountain crags, North Carolina offers a huge variety in terms of landscape.
  • The trails of North Carolina extend far beyond nature by connecting with culture as well. Their proximity to unique hubs, like Asheville, offer great experiences to accompany a weekend outdoors.
  • Bring the family! Some of the best trails of North Carolina are still easily accessible to young hikers and people of all skillsets.
  • Challenge yourself! Whether you want to try your hand at multi-night backcountry excursions in Linville Gorge or just try to scramble up Mt. Pisgah, North Carolina offers many options for the challenge hungry hiker.


What Hikers Are Saying

Look, hikers can’t stop talking about the beauty they’ve found in North Carolina, and after you get out there you won’t be able to stop either! Many are hikers keep coming back to North Carolina because no matter how many times these trails are hiked, they never get old, and you’ll especially find that the 360 degree views at the top of pristine vistas will always take your breath away.

Just remember though, hiking is not without its discomforts. Some of the hikers who opt for North Carolina are often taken aback by two things: mosquitos and the heat. If you’re hiking in the summer, it’s unfortunate, but this will likely be a reality.

However, even in light of that, the best rewards in life are well earned. Experiencing the serenity of North Carolina is no different. Grit through those two obstacles (with the help of some environmentally friendly repellant and sunscreen) and the vista will be even sweeter!


Who Should Hike in North Carolina

If you’re serious about escaping the drudge and drag that often plagues us in the bustling city and its surrounding suburbs, don’t think twice about finding refuge in the peace and quiet of North Carolina’s hiking trails.

The hiker best suited for these trails will be the one that is passionate about nature as well as pushing themselves to their outdoor athletic limits. Some of these trails provide quite the climb, and the hardy adventurer will enjoy the thrill of a seeking out hidden waterfalls and quiet streams.


Who Shouldn’t Hike in North Carolina?

North Carolina has some of the best hikes in the country, and the things that often set apart the best hikes from your average hikes are the dedication it takes to get through them. As such, someone wanting a less toilsome access to beauty might do better with a leisurely park stroll. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you’re not into getting your hands a little dirty, these hikes won’t be for you.



North Carolina possesses a beauty and serenity unrivaled anywhere else in the country. The mountains come alive with the colors of fall leaves and the sound of raging waterfalls. The most passionate hikers will find these hikes rejuvenating and worth every bit of struggle on the way to the top of those mountains! We hoped you like the best hiking trails in NC that we have showed to you.



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Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.