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
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We did it twice. First day was gorgeous. Today was cool and rainy! Take rain coats or wind breakers because the weather is not always predictable! Great hike.

Beautiful views!

Very nice out and back trail.

Absolutely stunning! So glad we finally got to do this hike! We’ll definitely be back. Maybe for a longer overnight hike! We got lucky and had great weather. Chatted with a few kind strangers. Ooh’d and ahh’d ....our blue heeler mix went with us. She wasn’t a fan of the rocky path but did enjoy her mountain top hike. We started at about 1030-11a. It was definitely more crowded on our way back out around 1:30-2p.

The windy road to the trailhead from I-40 takes about a half hour and is bumpy in parts but it’s worth it, the views at the summit of Max Patch are magnificent! At the trailhead you can take the right loop for a more difficult ascent or the left loop for a more gradual ascent. We chose the right loop first and were rewarded with beautiful wildflowers along the hillside. The trail then joined up with the Appalachian Trail for the steepest part of the ascent, which wasn’t bad at all. At the top, the 360 degree views were stunning. The walk down to the trailhead along the left loop was a gentle descent through a tunnel of trees.

I️ backpacked this with my brother and boyfriend last September and loved it! We camped on the top of Spivey gap and got up early to watch the sunrise which did not disappoint. We’re relatively new backpackers so it was a little strenuous for us and took us about 5 hours to get to Spivey gap and about 2 1/12 hours to hike back down. However, we also saw a father with his two boys 10 and 8 hike it no problem which made me feel really out of shape lol.

Went a few weeks ago. What an amazing and lovely hike through some of the AT. Could easily do this as a day hike if wanted, but if you’re given the chance to camp overnight, I highly suggest it! We left around 2pm from Carvers Gap and made it to the top around 6pm with a few breaks. The sunset and sunrise were absolutely phenomenal. It got a little windy during the night so be prepared for that. We were extremely lucky because it was in the 80’s with no rain clouds in sight, but the AT through NC is notorious for its rainy days. Especially through the Roan Mountains. There may also be several other campers at the bald as well. There were approximately 14 other people up there with us, many of whom had taken the best camping spots ( i.e - flat areas of land). Just plan ahead. Overall a fun hike and definitely something beginner backpackers should do!

Hiked this section with my son two days ago. Challenging weather and conditions at times but well worth the unparalleled views from the grassy balds when the clouds disappeared. Be prepared as the weather can change in an instant and there is no cover on the balds if you are caught there. Shuttled from Mountain Harbor and would highly recommend this as part of your logistics if hiking point to point. Overall awesome and I will be back again sometime hoping for more consistent sun and perhaps when the rhododendrons are in bloom!

Amazing section of the AT. Spent the night at Overmountain shelter with 20 thru hikers. awesome experience, rained the entire time and never saw a view.

Took Lemon Gap to Max Patch with my 10 yo son and our dog. Phenomenal views at Max Patch after lots of covered forest hiking. Lots of berries along the trail - and fun Rhododendron tunnels to hike through. Great Shelter with ready to use bear poles and lines were much appreciated.

Great 360 view of the smokies!

Really enjoyed this trail. The section of the AT along the way has been improved greatly and is at times in excellent condition. There are several ascents and descents along the way reaching the destination. Multiple summits are achieved hiking along the trail and periodic entry and exit through dense Rhododendron and other brush and trees pay off with beautiful panoramic views. At times the terrain reminded me of hiking in Ireland.

gorgeous panoramic views. 360 degree unobstructed awesomeness.

Nice picnic spot and camping spot with Great views. Gets crowded by noon and the drive up is a bit rough.

Awesome trip, shuttled up to carvers gap and hiked back to the hostel. plan 15-17 actual miles if you are going to explore, check out the red barn, etc. makes a great overnight.

We hiked this section the last weekend of April, and while the daytime temperatures were wonderful for hiking, the temps plummeted at night down to around 30°F. We hiked the trail to the telico bald and back tracked to a camp at Burningtown Gap. If the weather is windy, I would suggest either stopping at the shelter between telico and burningtown, or pass through the burningtown gap and head down to the camp pad with the water source at lick log gap. Since the fires hit this area in 2016, there’s not a lot of foliage yet, so bring some sunscreen. The majority of the hike from Wayah to burningtown is downhill, but you have to make a considerable climb to get to telico, so I suggest stopping for lunch at burningtown if you haven’t already.

Definitely an amazing trail. Well worth going to. It had beautiful sunsets and amazing view because there were very few trees. It was an amazing place to bring a drone or backpack. Just has ridges that go on for miles and allow for good areas to have camp and fire pits in the rocks while besides it in a tent on soft grasses. Awesome place.

I’ve hiked this section quite a few times and it never gets old. One of the most beautiful hikes in Eastern US in my opinion. Be prepared for any kind of weather.

Loved the hike, great views

Fun little hike with gorgeous views, great for kids and dogs. The unpaved road up from I-40 is extremely bumpy, so it’s rather slow going, and we even managed to get lost on the way back down.

great hike with amazing views. did it for sunset and was not disappointed. it was a little chilly (around 26 degrees) and very windy but if you're prepared it shouldn't bother you. lots of camp sites along the trail, hoping to do it again as an overnight

I completed southbound which is less climbing. There is a climb up to Snowbird Mtn regardless which direction, but for this section SB was best & has better views from Snowbird on. One could save themselves a lot of climbing and it is shorter to use the gravel roadway (Green Corner Rd) to/from the Pigeon River/I-40. There is also a false white trail blaze that leads to the Standing Bear Hostel. It takes u about 1/2 mile out of the way. Seems like a false attempt to get a hiker to go to that hostel.

2 months ago

Easy hike! Beautiful views! It was windy on top. Take a blanket to relax on top with views. The drive up to trail from I-40 Exit 7 was about 30 minutes on a unpaved, bumpy road.

Easy hike. Views were really good. The drive up to it sucks.

Spent the night at the shelter and had some challenging weather on our hike out to 19. Harbor hostel folks took great care of us with a fairly priced shuttle back to carvers. Should have at least a couple overnighters in before attempting this one IMO.

Easy trail, great views!

The car may of hike more than I did that day. Short hike from the parking lot to the tower. I am excited to go back and hike down to the spring this time.

Beautiful views , diversified terrain with some pretty strenuous climbs .... 50 mile an hour winds on one of the peaks .... significant downhill section near end ... if you are looking for a hostel / bar / food at the end of this section try The Station at 19E , they really take care of hikers .

Nice easy scenic hike.

backpacking
4 months ago

Had a really fun time with my 9 year old and my dog here. Climbing to the lookout point gave us a sense of accomplishment.

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