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

Trail completed in NC

North Carolina Map

the view from the summit is great. the trail has many switchbacks and is not hard at all if you hike moderately.

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

Went in late October 2018 with good friend Kelly B. We are in mid 60’s and was no problem. The leaves still had not changed but we took my dog (Peaches) and she loved the hike also. We live about 9 miles from Elk Knob and the total time was around 2.5 hours. Trail is well maintained and views are sensational.

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.

Amazing!!! The drive there is beautiful, but the parking area is small. The hike is so short tho people are coming and leaving quickly. Short and amazing! A little crowded due to people swimming.

Well maintained Trail with great views at the top! My husband and I are in our early 60s and had no problem hiking this trail. I highly recommend. We hiked the day after Thanksgiving and found it a winter wonderland. So beautiful!

20 days ago

The trail is heavily coated in leaves and in some spots, it’s tough to see where to go if you’re not paying attention. It is cleaned up for the most part now from the aforementioned downed trees with the exception of the few near the main fall. All the way up to the first fall. There is a significant hike to the main fall and the trail gets a bit dodgy when you’re about 50’ away. Don’t stop at the first fall. The main fall is absolutely beautiful and worth the hassle to get too!

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

25 days ago

this is an awesome trail. very easy to get to. short walk. there is plenty of rocks to climb to get good pics. our kids loved it.

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.

Probably my favorite hike due to close proximity and wonderful view of Lenoir. The hang gliding ramp at the top is the perfect platform for photos of you and your friends or pets. I recommend trying it at sunset and staying til dark, because the view of the city lights is awesome. Also, go close to Christmas or Easter and catch the star or cross lit up on top.

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

1 month ago

Great hike, with nice water crossings. The drive in can be tricky with the road seeming to end before the signs for Trails Carolina. Stay to the right and drive up the incline to a parking area and gate. Heavy leaves (not a surprise this time of year) made the trail more challenging. We were surprised by how many trees were down on the trail. There were also a lot of large limbs hanging in tree branches over the trail. I was carrying a Osprey child carrier which made several section challenging with many branches to navigate. it was worth it and we will definitely be back to do this one again.

Very nice. Awfully muddy at times, but beautiful falls!

Words can’t describe it!

I just had surgery on my wrist from falling yesterday. I am an experienced hiker, but as we all know things happen. It was raining and I made it all the way down to the falls, but with the combination of my poncho and the slime on the rocks, I fell and I reached out with my dominant hand and I broke Both bones in my wrist and it was in little pieces. However, I don’t won’t to discourage people from not doing it. It is a hard trail so it is for the experienced hiker. I wouldn’t wear a poncho or go when it’s raining. Hiking shoes are a must. Waterfall is gorgeous. It is a fun hike as long as you don’t fall and break your wrist. ;)

Gorgeous trail and views

Good trail, and in many places I would rate it higher, but it is too close to world class hiking to do again.

1 month ago

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

A must hike!!! Awesome vistas!

Easiest 1,000 feet in elevation gain you could ask for. Nice views north and south at the summit. Many recognizable peaks...Mt Mitchell, Grandfather Mtn, and the Boone ski mtns. Can also see Mt Rogers from the north view (highest peak in VA). 4 mile round trip.

We did the trail counter-clockwise and it was great to see/hear the creek and see the fall colors (not too great this year though). Some people don't like that about 1 mile of the trail is on a gravel road but it was fine for us.. an chance to walk side by side for a bit. The part of the trail fro pineola road up to the peak (great 270 degree views) is a bit steep and narrow. We stop at little lost cove cliffs for snacks and to enjoy the views. The walk back down to the truck after our snack is short and easy.. years ago there were apple on the apple trees but now there are only a few trees left and we haven't seen an apple in years.

Very well maintained trail with sweeping long range views at the summit. Definitely worth the effort.
I am 77 and would rate easy to moderate.

1 month ago


2 months ago

This about as easy as 1000 feet of elevation can be. Just a nice gentle climb on a smooth trail which never gets steep due to the switchbacks. Coming down it's almost impossible to stop from just running. I went up the day after Hurricane Michael pulled through leaving behind crystal clear views and crisp fall temperatures (in the 40s and very windy!). A good number of people out on the trail, although it seemed like I saw them in bunches either at the top or groups of separate hikers over a half mile on the day down. Ran into a ranger on a couple of occasions which is always nice to see.

To make a little more of a hike, you can do a loop of about a mile before going up the Elk Knob Summit Trail. It would be nice if a loop trail to connect over to the Backcountry trail were in place to make more of a hike.

It was a nice trail. Good for an early morning walk. It was very moderate for repair a 70+-year-old legs but all went well. Surface was in great shape in spite of all the recent rain. Someone may have to explain the wooden ramp at the top. Guessing it’s for sky gliders.

2 months ago

Awesome hike and gorgeous waterfall at the end. Great area for camping at the base and a trail to the top of the falls for a refreshing jump. Would definitely recommend!

Load More