Explore need to do - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

need to do Map

It's a beautiful trail with some breathtaking views. Definitely recommend the little detour up to the lookout. We made it to the outlook while the sun was setting it was gorgeous.

Beautiful views of the water falls. Most of trail covered by trees. Extreme solitude. Multiple options for trail lengths. Rough and slippery terrain.

7 days ago

starts off easy but gets steep in a hurry. one of my go to trails for an afternoon hike. the views at the rocks on the ridge top are awesome. on clear days table rock and hawk's bill in the linville gorge can be seen to the east

Loved this hike. We started with HQ, which was a much quieter trail with a steady incline. The falls were much more crowded but beautiful. It was a great workout - lots of steep stairs. Watch out for slippery steps and mud, especially if you go after it’s been raining. The whole loop took us under 3 hrs.

This hike is a steady climb (with steeper sections) to Tip Top on Buffalo Mtn with some of the best views of Johnson City and Unaka Mountain. The trail can get narrow in some places with drop-offs so not recommended for beginners or small children unfamiliar with the trail.

Love this hike. The waterfalls are some of my favorites in North Carolina. Be careful on the slippery stairs though.

Did it Saturday, very very tough hike. Steep the whole way up to Spence field.
Great views there, the last mile to Rocky Top is a butt kicker! I hike every week and done most of the hard hikes in the Smokys and this is number 1 or 2. As hard as Rainbow falls to Leconte if not tougher.
Worth it, good views and good bragging rights.
Too us almost 7 hours up and back with very short breaks.

Meh... I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this unless you want to mark it off your list of NC State Parks visited.

1 month ago

4.5 mile trail not 3.5. View is pretty good but hard to find when you get to the top, especially in the snow. Main downfall with this hike is the horses really did a number on a good portion of the trail which made it extremely rocky, muddy and wet

saw the eclipse from here back in 2017, saw it today w the ridge covered in half a foot of snow and ice fog, amazing both times

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

1 month ago

I live just a mile from the trailhead on Old CCC. Hike this trail year round. Makes for a fun out and back day hike. Part of the trail near the end gets very overgrown with brush during the summer but keep pushing past that part to reach the summit. My favorite time to hike this trail is in the winter because it offers better views.

Best hike in TN so far ! Steady slope on the way up ... last mile might be a bit more rough but the view at the top is so worth it just stunning ! 3 hrs up 2 hrs down
Enjoy !

very well maintained trail with decent views for not being in the mountains. only complaint was the trail was pretty crowded. overall would do this trail again.

Views at the top were great. Started when 33 degrees at trailhead. Wind chills had to be in the teens at the top.

2 months ago

Great hike anytime of the year.

2 months ago

Very good for endurance training

Started just after eight on Sunday morning, so parking lot was nearly empty. There's traffic sound on the south side of the the Occoneechee Mountain trail due to proximity to I-85, but that diminishes further along the trail. Highlight of the trail is the stretch along the Eno river. There's a moderate climb after the river to get the blood pumping. Parking lot was quite full at 10:30 am, so getting started early was a plus.

Worderful hike with a short drive from home. Hiked the longer outer loop but snuck over to the look out. Very pretty with a steepled church peeking out of the fall colors.

Great trail. One of the best in the area. Short, but nice.


3 months ago

Difficult hike, it is a continuous incline the majority of the time. Take breaks but you’ll make it. Nice views but we unknowing walked past snooks nose as there was no signage and views weren’t spectacular. Nice hike if you are camping in the area, but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Nice and diverse trail. No complaints. Wasn’t difficult, but it was longer than it is listed here. I tracked the hike to be 3.07 miles each way, beginning from the tree line at the road. Great view, will definitely go again.

Great little circuit. The views are surprisingly good for The triangle area.

A great moderate trail. Ups and downs make the trail better but then just an easy walk. A nice overlook helps the ambiance. Take the dog and take kids over 8.

3 months ago

Hiked this trail on October 6th with two daughters and Son-In-Law. Great time of year as the temperature was perfect (50s to low 60s). The last time was a couple of years ago in June and it was quite warm. It took about an hour and 45 minutes up and about an hour and 20 minutes down with lunch and photos at the top. It’s a very challenging hike! The first half is a well traveled trail which wraps around the mountain from the west side to the northeast side and then it starts a steep ascent up a skree field. At the top of the skree field starts the bouldering section which is marked with red spray painted arrows and cairns marking the way. Take your time and stay focused. It’s very steep! The trail wraps around to the east side with a foot path and more bouldering with a final ascent to the top. The view at the top is 360 degrees of total awesomeness. I’m guessing you can see 40-50 miles. You’ll love this hike! The Land of Enchantment at its finest!

The hike is rough but it is well worth it. Bring plenty of water and some snacks and you will be fine. Spend plenty time of there because you are not going to want to leave!

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