Explore the best trails in North Carolina with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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Have driven along the Cape Fear many times, but to really know it is to hike along it or canoe in it. There is a nice place to rent canoes, kayaks, etc. at Cape Fear River Adventures just by the 401 bridge going into Lillington. Also good place to hike and camp at Raven Rock State Park just upstream from there. Many other places to visit along the river as well.
This is a nice loop trail that I hiked clockwise (although it could be done in reverse as well). I would rate Mountain Trail portion of the hike as moderate and the best way to describe it is a nice hike through the woods. The Grindstone Trail is a bit more of a climb but it isn't too bad. However, the Ledge Spring Trail was more difficult in that there was quite a bit of climbing rock "stairs" and I would rate it as fairly strenuous.
I started my hike around 9 am and had a nice lunch at the summit before heading back down to the parking lot.
I've done this trail twice now and it was awesome. We went in the summer and wish we had come earlier in the spring due to the amount of wild flowers along the trail. Butterflies and bumblebees are everywhere so take your camera. Great views from the top with an elevation of over a mile high.
Craggy Gardens to Mt. Pisgah is one of my favorite stretches of the BRP. Located on both sides of Asheville, great hikes include Mt. Pisgah, Craggy Gardens, and Craggy Pinnacle. You also can take a detour to the famous Biltmore Estate or stop for lunch in Asheville, maybe stay in luxury at the Grove Park Inn, or stay at the rustic Pisgah Inn. Lots of hiking and lots to see and do.
I took US 74 from I-40 to Lake Lure on a beautiful, sunny, warm and uncrowded February day. It is a very pretty drive. You hit a series of switchbacks as you head up into the hills. I added a quick detour in Gerton to hike the Bearwallow Mountain Trail. It is definitely worth it if you have the time. Once back on the main road, you soon head into Hickory Nut Gorge and descend to Chimney Rock Village. I happily saved most of my time for hiking the trails at Chimney Rock State Park and exploring Lake Lure.
Thoroughly enjoyed camping at both Hermitage and the Refuge. We were not in good enough shape to take our 40ish lbs packs up to the higher campsites. The Cragway is extremely difficult and you need to be in very good shape to trek a lot of gear up there. We camped at Hermitage the first night. It's a nice and secluded spot surrounded by dense trees. It's difficult to find level ground there though. The next day we took our site over to The Refuge and setup camp in the morning. That day we did the journey up to Calloway peak and back. The Refuge is a great spot and perfect for larger parties who need multiple spots for tents and has multiple fire rings. There is a stream nearby for water that is delicious (it's recommended that you boil or treat it first though we didn't). There are plenty of streams along the Nuwati trail but little to no water sources once you ascend the Cragway up to the peak, so be sure to pack plenty of water. We were there in late February and it was about 60 during the day and down to upper 30's at night. Such an amazing trip!!