Explore Appalachian Trail: North Carolina: Best Day Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the #AppalachianTrail, which passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. . With so many access points along its approximate 2,190-mile route, this trail is not only an excellent option for thru-hikers and section-hikers, but also day-hikers and those looking to escape into nature for a few hours. . To honor the Appalachian Trail, we have compiled a list state by state of some of our favorite day hikes along the AT. Check out this list for North Carolina and help us celebrate the legacy and natural wonder of this trail!

Appalachian Trail: North Carolina: Best Day Hikes Map

the river had washed out the trail so we were only able to hike up the silvermine road to the look out and back. going up the slivermine road is probably the reason this trail is marked "difficult." if you start on the AT and hike along the silvermine road on your decent it's much easier. beautiful views, narrow at times, crowded on weekends/holidays. the town of hot springs has a lot of charm and kind people.

Wow! Awesome hike to a sprawling bald. Low effort, high yield. Just be prepared for hoards of people at the top on a nice day. Fortunately there are off-shoots and other trails in the vicinity you can explore to get away from the crowds. Definitely would do again, and would plan a camping trip to see sunrise from there.

This place is one of my absolute favorite! I did an overnight backpacking trip here and the view was beyond breathtaking. My now fiancé also proposed here at sunset and it was so dreamy! The hike isn’t bad and only took 15 minutes to get to the top. I would recommend wearing boots as it can be a little muddy.

Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge are phenomenal!

19 days ago

Fun little hike right in Hot Springs. Seriously, park in town walk across bridge and hit trail head. Nice view at top. Also, don’t miss the rope climb to a lower rock outcropping, just off the river.

Very much enjoyed the hike.

Excellent trail with views pretty much the whole way. Well marked. Very windy at the top but that's to be expected so bring a windbreaker of some type.

December 27th hike around 12:00 noon.
We parked on the road not knowing about the upper parking lot and went in around the AT, I think.
Went up to the summit first, back down and then around the backside of the trail to the main parking lot.
We then walked back to our car down the road about 200 yards or more.

there was a bunch of snow and some ice, as well as crazy wind at the summit.
We loved this trail and can't wait to see it in the spring or summer.

24 days ago

Great hike with a few wonderful views of Hot Springs plus some interesting history regarding how it got its name, must do if in the area. More on the easier side imo.

Really beautiful hike with scenic views, unique landscapes, and history along the way (stop to read the Overmountain Trail info — and read about the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain before you go).

Good camping at Doll Flats and the Overmountain Shelter is a good stop along the way.

Be ready for some elevation!

One of the best trail I have ever been to. Christmas know made it even better. Highly recommend!!

Beautiful! Certainly strenuous going uphill we went when it was drizzling so it was a bit wet. Some slippery parts. We brought our dog and he seemed to handle it fine. I wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog unless on a harness or if he/she is very well behaved. (Mine is a little crazy and almost pulled us downhill)

One of my favorite hikes of all time, hands down!

Beautiful scenery and walking distance to and from Hot Springs.

The views were breathtaking! Short, somewhat muddy walk up to the summit. Once there, it’s the most incredible 360 views of the smoky mountains! It’s right off the interstate, and the ride up the mountain was just as fun and gorgeous.

My 5, 8, and 10 year old enjoyed the hike. Super easy and 360 degree views!

Very beautiful views. Could use more signage.

Hiked this trail on Wednesday. The weather wasn’t the best, visibility was very poor from the summit and I just loved it! The sound of my boots on the trail, the echo of birds calling, the rain beating against my pack, and a dog barking in the distance set the scene for my peaceful trek to the summit via the AT. It was very muddy and I stumbled a time or two and actually fell once due to the slippery trail. My trekking poles were a tremendous help on this day.

Breath taking views from the top! Slippery when wet, gets real muddy in the rain. Wear appropriate shoes.

2 months ago

Fantastic views! It was very hard to find the trail. We went up the opposite way as recommended to us due to recent rain. It was really tough to climb up in spots. There are ropes to use most of the way. More like climbing than hiking in places. Really fun!

Just completed this section this week as my first foray onto the AT. Spectacular views from the balds. Last 6-7 miles to 19e were difficult and challenging. Spent night in Overmountain shelter. Great spot. Plenty of water available on the trail. I agree with other posters that the distance is more the 13.6 miles posted. Absolutely worthwhile trip

2 months ago

Lover's Leap Loop trail is a relatively short loop hike that follows the French Broad River out of downtown Hot Springs, NC. The trail goes quickly from a flat stroll along the river to a somewhat rigorous hike up the mountain, but your effort is rewarded with amazing views of the river and valley through which it passes. A number of rock outcroppings including "Lover's Leap" allow you to take in the beauty of the valley and the mountains beyond or just take a breather and rehydrate. Due to it's relatively short loop, this hike provides plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the sights if sections become rigorous.

Words can’t describe it!

Scrabble up the rock side on the stepped rock path to the left as you come in. Ropes are there and you’ll need them. Continue on trail for easier climb.

Gorgeous trail and views

Excellent easy hike. Love this place and so does the dog!

2 months ago

Parking was easy but signage was a bit lacking. We passed some others who were confused about which way to go. It was a nice hike. We love Hot Springs and will be back when we have more rime to explore other trails.

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