The Most Scenic Hiking Trails in North Carolina

If you’re looking for some amazing views, look no further than North Carolina. The state boasts over 250 miles of trails and countless scenic hikes that will lead you through forests, across mountainsides, and along surging rivers. If you want to see the best that North Carolina has to offer, get out and hike. Hiking is an excellent way to get some exercise and spend time in nature. It’s also a great way for visitors and locals alike to explore this beautiful state. The following are some of our favorite hiking trails in North Carolina.

Looking Glass Rock Trail

If you’re looking to take a road trip of your dreams and enjoy some hiking, Looking Glass Rock Trail is a great idea. It is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area and is open year-round. But, due to its remote location and lack of water sources, hikers should be prepared for all types of weather. The trailhead is located at the end of Looking Glass Road, which is near Hayesville, NC.  

Mount Mitchell Trail

One of the most scenic hikes in North Carolina is Mount Mitchell Trail. It’s a challenging hike, but it’s worth it for the spectacular views from the summit. Mount Mitchell is actually the highest point east of the Mississippi River. It also happens to be one of the most popular hikes in North Carolina. There are multiple ways to reach this peak: take a day trip down from Asheville or stay overnight at Craggy Gardens campground near Mount Mitchell State Park before heading out on your journey back up again in the morning.  

Black Balsam Knob

At 5.2 miles round trip, the Black Balsam Knob trail is rated moderate and open from May to October. The trailhead for this hike is located near the summit of Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest. The entire hike will take you through beautiful mountain scenery and dense forest on your way up to Black Balsam Knob. At 2,080 feet above sea level, it’s not only one of the most scenic hiking trails in North Carolina but also one of the highest points on this list.

Shining Rock Wilderness

The Shining Rock Wilderness is one of the most popular hiking trails in North Carolina. It’s located in the Pisgah National Forest, and it offers many scenic hiking areas that you can choose from. The best part about this area is that it often has waterfalls, so you’ll want to bring a camera. It’s also a good place to visit with your family and see wildlife like deer and turkeys.

You’ll want to bring a camera for great shots

Max Patch Mountain

Max Patch is a small mountain in the Pisgah National Forest and is nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. This mountain has a flat top, which makes it look like a patch of grass and hence the name. Its size is about that of a football field, but there are great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from here. It’s also home to two natural balds: Max Patch Bald (1,629 ft) and Middle Bald (1,480 ft). These are unique ecosystems where plants are adapted to survive in harsh conditions with little soil or water.

The ecosystem is unique

Art Loeb Trail

The Art Loeb Trail begins at Mt. Pisgah, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It offers some fantastic views of the mountains and is one of the most scenic hiking trails in North Carolina. From there, you’ll hike through forests and see peaks like Little Black Mountain, Kings Pinnacle, and Howard Knob. There are six different access points to get onto this trail: 

  • Little Black Mountain Campground
  • Humpback Rocks
  • Sam’s Knob Visitor Center
  • Craggy Gardens Picnic Area
  • Graveyard Fields Picnic Area, and 
  • Old Fort picnic area

This trail is named after Art Loeb, a local artist who was instrumental in establishing the trail.

Hiking trails are just a small part of what North Carolina has to offer. This state is great for family life, so if you are planning to move here, you are in luck! Make sure to organize your relocation as soon as possible while pros can ensure safety of your belongings. Hiring residential movers in North Carolina can save you a lot of trouble during this time.

Linville Gorge and Falls Loop

This strenuous hike will take you through some of the most scenic areas of North Carolina. The loop trail includes two waterfalls, Linville Falls and Little Lynn. The most scenic hiking trail in North Carolina starts at Grandfather Mountain State Park. It follows along the Linville Gorge Scenic Highway before heading into the forest. There are some ups and downs before reaching Little Lynn Falls – the highlight of this hike. And then there’s more climbing until you reach Linville Gorge, from where you can see all three falls: Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Middle Fork Falls. 

After leaving Linville Gorge behind, continue towards Table Rock State Park where you end your day by eating lunch at Chimney Rock Inn & Restaurant, within walking distance from Chimney Rock State Park Visitor Center. This historic inn offers delicious food and other amenities like spa services.

Craggy Gardens

While you learn more about your travel to North Carolina, make sure to put The Craggy Gardens on your list. It is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The route’s difficulty level is moderately challenging, and it’s a great hike because this trail is a throwback to the area’s mining past. One delightful spot to stop for a breather is at an overlook called The Craggies Overlook, where you can see mountains from an aerial perspective through large rocks jutting out from them. Several other scenic hiking trails branch off from this one.


The North Carolina mountains offer a wide variety of hiking trails in North Carolina, from short day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips. If you’re looking for something to do this summer or fall, consider heading out on one of these scenic trails and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the South.

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