5 Great Hikes in North Carolina

North Carolina boasts beaches, mountains, big cities, and small towns. Whether you’re an avid hiker or you just want to go for a Sunday stroll, you can find a hike that works for your needs. Learn about the history, spend some time with the wildlife, get breathtaking views, and experience a challenge with the different hikes available in the Tar Heel State.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Arguably the best hike in the United States is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The trail spans over 2,000 miles, but you don’t have to do the whole thing from start to finish. Ninety-five of those 2,000 miles cross through North Carolina. That number is deceiving since over 200 miles run right along the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying overnight, you’ll have to stay at the designated sites.

Harper Creek Falls

Head to Colletsville to hike Harper Creek Falls. The hike to the falls is less than 9 miles round trip, with a moderate incline during your hike. You do have to cross a stream on your journey to see the two scenic waterfalls, so make sure to dress accordingly. There are campsites on the hike in case you want to spend the weekend hiking and camping. The hike isn’t easy, but anyone who has done it will say the that the scenery makes it worthwhile.

American Tobacco Trail

Right outside of Raleigh, check out the American Tobacco Trail. This 22-mile trail crosses into three counties, and it runs along an abandoned railroad track that was used to transport tobacco. The trail is open to walkers, bikers, runners, and horseback riders. You’ll get some exercise and learn about the history of the American Tobacco Trail. Click here to check out Raleigh hotels that offer easy access to the trail.

Hemlock Bluffs

Right outside of Raleigh, you’ll find Hemlock Bluffs, a nature preserve that has 3 miles of trails. This hike is an excellent trip to do with your kids since it’s not as intense and provides education and plenty of scenery along the way. You’ll get to see birds and other wildlife during your time at the preserve. Although you probably won’t break a sweat, it’s a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Looking Glass Rock

If you’re looking for a little more challenging hike, head to Transylvania County to experience Looking Glass Rock. Although this hike is only 6 miles, it has moderately rough conditions and a steep climb. About halfway up, you might wonder why you’re on this hike.  Once you break through to the top, however, you will understand why the hike is so popular. The breathtaking views are some of the best you’ll see in North Carolina.

There’s no shortage of hikes available in North Carolina. Fortunately, there’s a variety of hikes from easy to complex for the casual to the avid hiker. Whatever type of hike you’re looking for, you can find it in North Carolina.

Image via Flickr by USDAgov

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