North Carolina has trails almost everybody can get pleasure from — whether or not you’re a longtime out of doors enthusiast, somebody who got into hiking in the course of the pandemic or a newcomer looking to explore.
Here are some suggestions for hikes within day-trip distance of Charlotte, including favorites from listeners who responded once we asked on social media. It’s price pointing out that this is nowhere near an exhaustive listing of hiking trails. It is, nevertheless, a place to begin for places that a Charlotte resident may drive to in lower than three hours, spend a number of hours within the woods, and make it home by dusk.
Have suggestions? Let us know on Facebook. 👇
Mecklenburg County Parks Are A Nice Start
Don’t let improvement and traffic turn you off to the Queen City’s trails. You won’t get sweeping mountain vistas, but Mecklenburg County has a quantity of nature preserves with loads of wooded trails. You’re generally extra prone to have the stroll to your self inside this county of 1 million people than during peak hiking season in North Carolina’s more well-liked distant parks.
A few recommendations:
Latta Nature Preserve in Huntersville is seen in November 2019.
Anne Springs Close Greenway
Down in South Carolina, Anne Springs Close Greenway is a short drive from Charlotte and nearer to the city than most of the more well-liked hikes on the North Carolina facet of issues.
The Fort Mill website, about 30 minutes from uptown Charlotte, sits on 2,one hundred acres and is peppered with moderate trails that take hikers through wooded areas, near lakes and throughout creeks — sometimes via swinging bridge.
Anne Springs Close Greenway
Anne Springs Close Greenway is a straightforward day-hike getaway from Charlotte. While we’re in South Carolina…
Landsford Canal State Park
Landsford Canal State Park is about 45 minutes south of Charlotte in Chester County. It’s a unique, scenic environment — and one that’s flat if hills aren’t your factor. A short hike takes you alongside the Catawba River and through the ruins of an old canal system from the 1800s. You’ll need to take pictures, especially if you make it down throughout May and June when the rocky shoals spider lilies are blooming.
Rocky shoals spider lilies bloom alongside the banks of the Catawba River at Landsford Canal State Park in summer time 2019.
Crowders Mountain State Park
Crowders Mountain State Park is kind of the hiking spot for the Charlotte region — for good reason. The park’s about an hour west of Charlotte in Gaston County, near Interstate eighty five, and it has actual mountains within the metro area. The park has two small peaks (Crowders Mountain at roughly 1,600 toes and The Pinnacle at roughly 1,700). It has quite so much of trails, together with one that links to Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina if you’re feeling ambitious. It’s most famous for the Backside Trail, a tough shot upward from the parking lot to Crowders Mountain’s peak, which is crammed with jutting rocks and provides an often-photographed view of uptown Charlotte.
Rocky outcroppings are seen on the peak of Crowders Mountain in 2019.
Lake Norman State Park
Lake Norman State Park is a great option for an easygoing, comparatively flat stroll via the woods. The state park is about 45 minutes north of Charlotte in Troutman and presents about 35 miles of trails for both hikers and cyclists — including a 6-mile path along the shoreline. There’s additionally a swim beach if you should settle down. Pro tip: If you go to the park within the fall, the timber on these trails get a lot of colourful leaves.
The sun units over Lake Norman State Park in 2018.
Morrow Mountain State Park
Sure, western North Carolina steals the show when it comes to mountains, but that doesn’t mean the area of east Charlotte is without its fun. Morrow Mountain State Park, about an hour from Charlotte in Albemarle, is called after one of many tallest peaks in the Uwharrie Mountains at just over 900 ft. The park has about 15 miles of hiking trails of various problem.
Morrow Mountain State Park
Morrow Mountain State Park is seen in November 2020. And speaking of the Uwharries…
Uwharrie National Forest
Uwharrie National Forest is also about an hour east of Charlotte. It covers 52,000 acres, including the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness, a 5,100-acre wilderness that has what the us Forest Service describes as presumably the oldest mountains in North America. Uwharrie forest is also home to Badin Lake Recreation Area, a popular spot with entry to roughly forty miles of trails ranging from straightforward to tough. Hikers can anticipate a combination of forest, streams, lakes and short mountains.
See what of us advised us on Instagram once we requested for hiking suggestions. ⬇️
1 of 10 — Turns out WFAE’s instagram viewers likes hiking.
2 of 10 — We requested, you answered.
3 of 10 — The Uwharrie Mountains are a sight to behold.
4 of 10 — You can’t go wrong with hiking in the Montreat space.
5 of 10 — Graveyard Fields is a classic North Carolina hike.
7 of 10 — Linville Gorge is sublime.
8 of 10 — Some locations are better as secrets and techniques.
9 of 10 — South Mountains State Park is only a brief drive from Charlotte.
10 of 10 — Linville Falls are a popular hiking attraction for a cause.
South Mountains State Park
South Mountains State Park is about one hour and quarter-hour northwest of Charlotte, in Burke County. The park sits on roughly 20,00 acres, and it’s an excellent in-between hiking space earlier than attending to a number of the state’s higher peaks. There are about 40 miles price of trails to explore and some nice waterfall views. Be warned, there’s some elevation here, so count on extra strenuous hiking than in the Charlotte area. High Shoals Falls is a very in style hiking vacation spot.
Stone Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain State Park (not to be confused with the one near Atlanta) is about one and a half hours north of Charlotte. The namesake, 600-foot-tall granite dome in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a sight to behold. Hikers can anticipate about 18 miles of trails to maintain them busy, together with the Stone Mountain Loop Trail that takes guests past a 200-foot waterfall and throughout the rocky summit. Pro tip: You’ll want solar protection as there’s little tree cowl up high.
North Carolina’s Stone Mountain is seen in a panoramic photograph taken in June 2019.
Elk Knob State Park
Elk Knob State Park is actually certainly one of North Carolina’s youngest state parks, at simply 18 years old. It’s slightly over two hours northwest of Charlotte, and you’ll move Boone on the greatest way there. The park sits on more than four,000 acres, and Elk Knob itself is about 5,500 ft tall, making it one of many greater peaks in the Boone space. It doesn’t have as many trails as other parks, but it makes up for that within the hiking expertise. In addition to a two-mile uphill hike to the summit for a nice view, hikers can even take an easier stroll through the woods to achieve the headwaters of the North Fork of the New River.
The view north from the highest of Elk Knob is seen in summer 2020.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
Grandfather Mountain State Park is certainly one of North Carolina’s most iconic hiking spots. It’s also residence to some of its toughest hiking — suppose rugged terrain with the occasional ladder or cable. It’s a little over two hours northwest of Charlotte, but remember that the terrain on some trails here may make for a slower-than-usual pace, so arrive early if you’re only hoping for a day hike. (For example, the Grandfather Trail takes hikers up and down 1,872 feet over simply two and a half miles.) The state park is free, however there’s also a paid area with access to the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
Grandfather Mountain State Park is seen in 2020.
Mount Mitchell State Park
Mount Mitchell State Park is somewhat more than two and a half hours northwest of Charlotte. It’s definitely worth the drive. At 6,684 toes above sea level, Mount Mitchell is the best level in the east of the Mississippi River. There’s a brief, paved stroll from the parking space to an observation deck on the summit. If you need to feel the burn, nonetheless, there are a number of choices for more strenuous treks, together with the Deep Gap trail that takes hikers throughout different peaks within the Black Mountain range. There’s additionally a for much longer way as a lot as the summit: The Mount Mitchell trail itself starts on U.S. Forest Service-run Black Mountain Campground and works its way up about six miles to the height. Pro tip: That trail is about eight hours of hiking back and forth, so if you’re with a gaggle, it’s greatest to park one automobile at the summit to drive back to the beginning point. Second pro tip: The elevation right here means cooler weather, even in the center of summer season. On a windy day, it could possibly be chilly enough to really feel like a different season entirely, so you may be happy you packed a light-weight jacket.
The sign near the summit of Mount Mitchell is seen in 2010.
And that leads us to …
Pisgah National Forest
Pisgah National Forest is huge, in North Carolina phrases. The forest spans more than 500,000 acres — together with a number of wilderness areas — across 12 counties in the western a part of the state. Pisgah’s closer to Asheville than Charlotte, but many of its extra jap areas are solidly within day trip distance of Mecklenburg County. (Just count on that day trip to be on the longer side, particularly if you’re planning to explore some of the steeper areas.)
Linville Gorge Wilderness is seen from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in summer time 2020.
With that in thoughts, here are a number of ideas on the forest’s jap side:
* Linville Gorge Wilderness has some completely gorgeous trails — many of them with views looking down on the gorge’s walls and the Linville River. A lot of them are robust, though, so be ready. Some good hikes embrace the easier Linville Falls area and the more strenuous trails at Hawksbill Mountain (with a can’t-beat view), Table Rock and Shortoff Mountain.
* Craggy Gardens is about two and a half hours northwest of Charlotte and is accessible by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately, the paths aren’t very lengthy, so it’s a doable day journey — one particularly suited to picnicking. Craggy Pinnacle is a short, 1-mile hike with only about 250 toes of elevation gain to get to one of the in style views in the Carolinas. The Craggy Gardens Trail is a bit more durable but with a number of stopping factors. You may even cross some wild blueberry bushes in your way to the grassy bald summit.
* Rough Ridge isn’t far from Blowing Rock off the Blue Ridge Parkway, about two hours from Charlotte. Its unique terrain, killer views and brief climb on the Tanawha Trail make Rough Ridge a preferred spot for locals and visitors alike, so plan accordingly. On busy days, vehicles will line the side of the parkway by the trailhead. You’ll pass blueberry bushes and stroll on some mountain boardwalks as you make your way up to the rocky outcrop at the top.
* Wilson Creek Wild And Scenic River Area is hard to beat when you’re on the lookout for summer hikes with entry to water. It’s about two hours northwest of Charlotte, accessible by way of Caldwell County. There are nearly 50,000 acres in this section of Pisgah, including a number of trails with varying elevations and access to backcountry swimming holes and waterfalls. The popular Harper Creek Trail is a 6-mile trek that results in the waterfall of the identical name.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
DuPont State Recreational Forest is about two and a half hours west of Charlotte, and it’s where we’ll cease our record of hiking concepts — for now. It’s a roughly 12,500-acre site in Henderson and Transylvania counties on land once owned by the DuPont firm. It’s a popular website for vacationers and locals alike, so it’s sensible to arrive early if you’re making an attempt to keep away from massive crowds. It’s an excellent mix of moderate trails — although anticipate some elevation gain — and beautiful waterfall views. And on that note, here’s a gentle reminder, particularly for folks who’re new to the state: Waterfalls are lethal, so heed all these warning indicators you see posted nearby.
Stay protected, have fun and depart no trace!