Explore NC Highlands - view 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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hiking
20 hours ago

Nice trail to the top also can go to the left of the parking lot to take the trail towards Shortoff mtn. Go as far as you want and turn around

Short, easy hike with a really beautiful view. Would be a great place for a picnic on a sunny day

I've hiked this trail twice now and it's probably my favorite on the east coast. It's definitely not for the inexperienced or out of shape, but the grueling path is more than worth it. The MacRae Peak path features stunning view after stunning view. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to take them all in and enjoy the fantastic vistas in all directions. The ladder climbs and rock scrambles can be nerve-racking but are a lot of fun at the same time. I took the Underwood Trail on the way back down which is a bit less strenuous and having gravity on your side makes the going a bit easier. It's easy to see pictures and hear from others about the sights along the way, but one thing you have to experience firsthand is the smells on the trail. You're hiking in a mostly alpine environment and the conifers give a refreshing piney scent for almost the whole way; it's like walking through a christmas tree farm.

hiking
5 days ago

Very fun trail with amazing views! In my groups opinion it wasn’t very hard like the reviewers say (and we aren’t in very well shape like most). Would recommend this trail to anyone.

An exciting hike! We went in November and the path was so icy we almost turned around a few times. The views were worth it! We took grandfather trail up and Underwood back down, made for a great loop!

Hard but lovely

hiking
11 days ago

It​ is​ place​ to​ visit​ for​ Fall​ season.

Well worth the drive. But the gravel road is very bumpy and barely wide enough for two cars. Without an SUV, that road takes a lot longer to drive. It took us an hour to drive it. But it was a beautiful hike with great views.

hiking
12 days ago

Moderate climb, muddy with some slick rocks and roots and lots of traffic but 100% worth the amazing 360 degree views of the mountains. Parking was tight, dogs were friendly and people were courteous on the trail when it got a little narrow or tricky. One of the best trails on the parkway!

hiking
13 days ago

Great Hike but very short and easy. Make sure to take a left over the bridge and not a right to get to the top.

Excellent loop with dogs who like to do a little swimming and mud-bogging. Terrain was moderate and lots of shade. Ideal hike for a fall afternoon. The lake and mountains in the distance were beautiful and we crossed over to check out the dam at the end. Nice spot!

absolutely beautiful trail. overnight tent camping at the top. make sure you wear good hiking shoes or boots the trail can get slippery. HIKE THIS TRAIL you won't regret it.

hiking
15 days ago

Short hike with great views.

Hands down the most fun trail I have ever hiked! Extremely strenuous, so be careful. My only problem is I hate that you have to pay so much to get to the main trailhead. You can access it from the parkway, but it becomes a pretty long day hike.

hiking
16 days ago

The views make this hike a really amazing one. So stellar.

Nice trail had rained so part were mucky and slippery but quiet for the middle if a town.

Great family hike! A lot of variety , very pretty steam hike and opening up to a meadow ! Dog loved wide open area! Only concern ( could have been our fault) we had to walk on parkway for 0.7 miles when finished and this was not ideal with dog.

hiking
19 days ago

A fair amount of climbing for a short trail but the trail condition is excellent and that makes the climb a breeze. The overviews are quite pretty and there's an excellent view of the Linn Viaduct. Not much parking so it's best to visit on weekdays.

Lots of fun. Very well marked and the ladders are a blast. The view from the top of McRae is fabulous. We went up the Grandfather trail and back down Underwood. Underwood is much more in the woods and bit more rocky/rooty. You get much better vistas from Grandfather trail, though it was fun doing both of them. The trail past McRae peak is a less travelled, as many seem to turn around at McCrae.

Beautiful. Moderate walk with superb views, especially at the top. Bring a lunch and a camera.

This is my favorite trail. It is a bit treacherous, especially for an old guy like me. I don’t go on it after heavy rain as it is slippery and mistakes could be costly. But it is beautiful and dramatic and fun.

hiking
23 days ago

The hike itself is beautiful. Steep and definitely kinda difficult, but short enough that it's not a problem. HOWEVER, only go if you have a car that can handle a bumpy gravel road! You'll be on a dirt road for about 15-20 minutes before you hit paved road near the very top, and the dirt road was difficult to navigate for our VW Beetle. If we had a sturdier car it would've been totally fine, but instead it was quite nerve-racking!

An excellent quick hike on the blue ridge parkway. Beautiful views.

hiking
25 days ago

Not too difficult. A lot of overlooks on the way up. Nice views of Grandfather Mtn and the Parkway going around it. Some cool rock formations throughout the hike. 2 mile round trip from the parking area.

hiking
25 days ago

Really short hike from the parking area. Good view at the overlook.

hiking
25 days ago

Short hike down to 2 waterfalls...Glen Burney Falls and Glen Marie Falls. Glen Burney is the more impressive one. Had to go over some slippery rocks to get close to them. 3 mile out and back.

Amazing hike! Best yet in north Carolina. Lots of ladders and hard uphills. I’m not sure going all the way to callaway peak was worth it if your in it for the views, the first peak was beautiful and stayed beautiful to the callaway peak but didn’t change. About 4-4.5 hours out and back. 40$ to get into the park for 2 people.

We started at Pine Gap and hiked as far as we could south. The first night we camped right before Spence’s Ridge would meet up with the Linville Gorge Trail. Hiked about 10 miles including some spurts to Babel Tower and the end of Pine Gap. The second day we hiked as far south as we could but there were two major landslides and we couldn’t find the trail after the 2nd one. We were probably a mile from where it ends. We turned around and hiked past where we spent the night before, probably 1.5 miles south of Babel. Hiked out from there the next day. There are plenty of campsites on the south end, especially around the Conley Cove access. Plenty of water stations! It is a beautiful hike and wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. It is very rocky and there are lots of down trees! Probably could cross the river at the south end but would not rely on crossing near Devils Hole or Spence’s Ridge unless you are prepared to swim against a raging river and get entirely wet!!

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful views, but rather crowded on a Friday morning. Finished in just over an hour with multiple stops for pictures.

After driving down a gravel road for a while it will turned paved again and follow it until you reach the parking lot. Takes roughly 25 minutes to ascend. Great view

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