North Carolina is a true nature lover’s paradise. With hundreds of trails spread throughout the state, there is always something new to explore. Thankfully it doesn’t matter what your fitness level is or how much time you have to spare, there is a hiking trail that is perfect for you. So whether you’re looking to get in a last-minute fall hike before the winter hits or you want to start planning for day hikes this coming spring and summer, here are some of the very best hiking trails in North Carolina you can hike in a day.
Best hiking trails in North Carolina
Black Balsam Knob
This is a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains outside of Asheville. It gives you a complete 360-degree view surrounding you. With this hike, you’ll feel like you’re not only in a different state but in a different country. The way the blue sky highlights the greenery is truly breathtaking. There are several trails that curve through Black Balsam Knob, ranging anywhere from a single mile to around 10, so depending on your fitness level there is a trail for you.
When you hit the 6,000-foot mark there are almost no trees, which is what allows you the perfect view. You’re still surrounded by green grass and other plant life, but you’re able to experience the views free of any obstructions.
With a name like Huckleberry Knob you just know it is going to be an easy trek. It is 2.5 miles for the roundtrip and is an easier one to take, so any fitness level should be fine with this hike. When you reach the turnaround point for the hike you’ll have amazing views of the Nantahala National Forest. It is also another hike where there are no trees at the top of the mountain, which is what helps give you these amazing views.
Looking to really get a workout in with your day hikes and want to push yourself? Often the harder the hike the greater the view, and that absolutely is true with Shortoff Mountain. This is a difficult hike so you need to be in excellent shape before you head out. It’s just 4.5 miles for the full round trip, but you’ll be pushed the entire time. Throughout the hike, you’ll have excellent views of Linville Gorge, and it is close to Lake James. This is one hike you’ll want to make sure you pack extra water and snacks to get you through the hike.
Here is another location with no limit on the kinds of trails you can take in. There are single mile hikes that are easy to take and there are 20-mile hikes that are best for those in top physical health. Beech Mountain is also the highest town above sea level in the Eastern seaboard. If you do decide to head out to Beech Mountain you should do so in late spring or summer as the temperature does drop rather significantly due to the higher altitude.
This is a two-mile loop and is pretty easy to perform, no matter your fitness level. Plus, as it is a shorter hike you have plenty of opportunities to rest. This is a landmark hiking destination within the Nantahala National Forest, so there might be more people along the trail during the summer months. This hike is nestled right between the Highlands and Cashiers, which gives you beautiful views of the surrounding area. The hike will also take you to the top of a cliff roughly 750 feet high. As it is in the national park and it is on the more popular side there are additional railings along the way. So if you’re looking for a trial that everyone in the family can likely do while taking in fantastic views, Whiteside Mountain is one such hiking opportunity.
This is a four-mile hike (round trip), so it is a comfortable hike for the day. There are some uphill areas of the hike, and while the uphill areas are moderate at best just keep this in mind. Thankfully you’ll have all day to walk the entire four miles so there is plenty of time to take brakes and rest. Also, as it is a bald mountain and there are no trees at the top there are plenty of areas where you can set out your Tarpestry tarp and enjoy a nice lunch or snack as you take in the view.
One of the best aspects of this hike is there aren’t the kind of crowds you’d find at other hiking locations. So if you’re looking to take advantage of a beautiful hiking spot without all the people surrounding you, this is one you need to take in.
Table Rock Mountain
This is a comfortable 2.2-mile hike. Taking this hike will place you in a beautiful view of the rest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you have time and want to hike more in the area you can head out to Hawksbill, which is just five miles away. This trail does have some slight inclines along with rock formations so you’ll want to make sure you have your hiking shoes for this one.
Get Out And Enjoy Nature
These are just a handful of the very best hiking trails in north carolina you can experience in a day. Of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of more trails for you to explore. Whatever trail you take in and wherever in the state you travel for the hike, just make sure you’re prepared. A Trapestry tarp is an excellent piece of equipment you shouldn’t leave home without. The tarp will protect you from the rain should it come down suddenly, and it’s an excellent placemat for a makeshift picnic. Whatever trail you decide to take, the Tarpestry tarp will easily fit into your backpack. So make sure to check out the wide selection of unique, beautiful and durable tarps at Tarpestry.com.