Looking for a great trail in Doughton Recreation Area, North Carolina? AllTrails has 7 great hiking trails, dogs leash trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 3 moderate trails in Doughton Recreation Area ranging from 8.4 to 14.3 miles and from 1,433 to 3,789 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!


dogs on leash


wild flowers


bird watching


Most of the views are at the beginning of the trail, and the views are better from the parkway. Recommend other trails in the area.

1 month ago

Walked the first mile or so, turned left at the fork. Very pretty forest path with open forest floor all around. Zero view on the stretch we were on but that was fine on a hot day (Memorial Day 2019) when we wanted the shade.

1 month ago

Very short walk to stunning overlook and view of the valley below

Beautiful sunrises

Hard but very enjoyable day. Went on a very windy but clear day. No services open in March along the Blue Ridge Parkway so bring all the water and food you need. No leaves on the trees so the views are clearer than they would be in summer. The views at the top were amazing. There were lots of trees down over the trail but all were easy to go over or under. We only saw two other groups hiking so be prepared to be self sufficient.

Hiked this on a Friday in February. There were a few trees down across the trail but they were easily crossed.

10 months ago

Go walk laps around your nearest Harley dealership instead. Same experience. The only trail I recall turning back on because it wasn’t enjoyable ... at all. Should gone 1 star but it isn’t the trails fault that people have an obsession with personal noise.

A great workout with 2,460 elevation gain! Not many good views with the leaves on the trees, but still a nice hike. The park ranger At Brinegar Cabin shared that the trail has been used for 140 years as a way for people to get from the Long Bottom Community to Sparta. There are very cool retainer walls all along the trail. A do again when the leaves are down.

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer I hiked the portion of the hike from the Doughton Park parking lot to Bluff Mountain. This review covers just that portion of the trail From the parking lot the trail to the picnic area is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail There are about 2-3 nice areas with views of distant mountains, fields and rugged rocks. From the picnic area you have a nice sunset view looking west to the distant mountains. An even better view is to hike the Bluff Mt trail toward the shelter. But turn right at the junction instead of left and take trail to Bluff Mt. About 200 yards past the junction along the trail you’ll find open space with an excellent view to the west. A 28-135mm lens will work great.

My rating is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer. Don’t bother with this trail if you are looking for scenic Mountain views. There aren’t any. The summit is completely closed in by forest. There are some views at the start of the trail but they are the same as Wildcat Rocks overlook. Instead of doing this trail take the 1/2 mile hike at the Doughton picnic area.

11 months ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer This is an above average sunrise location along the BRP. The “hike” from the parking lot to the viewpoint is about 100 yards Anyone can do it unless you can’t negotiate stone steps. There are some rocks that can be used for foreground interest but only if you are using a wide angle lens. The mountains are rather distant and I used a 28-135mm lens on a C-size sensor to highlight the mountains. There are better sunrise landscape locations along the BRP but given the ease of getting to the viewpoint this would be a good choice for those with either limited mobility, young children or limited time.

Beautiful fern trail. Steep at points. Good vistas. Went in mid-July. Saw some native clematis and some kind of beautiful orange lily (?)

I started from Brinegar Cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most of the time I hike uphill (on an out and back) leaving a down hill return. I was looking for a challenge since the weather was unusually cool for July. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. There are some trees down which are not difficult to navigate. There is water at Brineger Cabin and creek at the end.

Easy to moderate trail. Steep incline on the way down. Great vistas along the way.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

I hiked the full loop from the base yesterday. Cedar Ridge trail up to Brinegar cabin then across the park on the Bluff Mountain trail before coming back down the mountain on Flat Rock Ridge. Please do not attempt the full loop unless you are in very good physical condition. It was 17.4 miles total, and I think this time of year (late March) is a great time for it as the lack of foliage means that the entire length of the trail has gorgeous views. This is one of my favorite places.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Walked whole loop with my son, in Sept 2017. It was beautiful. Not a lot of scenery due to foliage. It was a great experience. Started at campsite: took Bluff Mtn Trail, down the mountain on Flat Rock Ridge and then back up mountain on Cedar Ridge Trail and then back to campground.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Basing my stars on Stone Mountain, BUT I am going there in two weeks, which direction should I go for the quickest route to the best features? What are the best features? Bluff Mountain and Alligator Back shelter. Thanks for any info:)

trail running
Friday, March 02, 2018

Shoutout to Parker and Andrea. Loved the big open highlands on this trail. There's 5 parking spots along this trail, so you can drive anywhere to each section. There's a shelter at the top of the summit before you hit the primative trail.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Beautiful views and a great hike.

Howling... yes I heard howling. Saw many paw prints in the snow on this trail. Even saw a huge set that could possibly belong to a big cat. Nice trail to a quiet area to sit on a bench and hear just about nothing but the wind and the howling from two or three wolves or maybe it was a few coyote... either one they sounded beautiful and I would have loved to have seen them... from a distance!

Monday, December 18, 2017

My winter rating is ☆☆☆☆. I want to come back in warmer weather when there is more daylight to hike the loop. Trail is nice. Most of it was covered in snow and ice. More comment will be added to my summer rating

Nice walk in the woods. Best views are at the beginning of the trail where you can see Caudill Cabin down below.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Moderate with plenty of tree cover and good surface. Would be spectacular views of valley if in winter. I'll be back when foliage is gone also.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

beautiful biews - cold rainy day for hiking!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Beautiful view, Trail isn't too hard to do either

Monday, April 17, 2017

great view, not much of a hike.

quiet hike to nothing spectacular.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I did this trail with my three kids and two dogs. I loved the varied terrain and multiple fantastic views we got along this trail. Sometimes we were hiking in open grassy hills, sometimes the terrain was rocky and wet and sometimes it was just soft pine needles. We did not find the beginning of the trail. We started at a big picnic area between 240 and 245 and ended up hiking a total of 11.3 miles. This hike is definitely worth it for the multiple views you get of the mountains and valleys. We hiked it during a low time so we didn't have too much of a problem with traffic noise from the road.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Such a beautiful trail with diverse views!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Definitely a challenging great day hike, we did this in May, when the Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel were starting to bloom. Cedar Ridge is a great uphill and we took a peek inside the Brinegar Cabin. Bluff Mountain trail is a bunch of ups and downs with several good views, hiking in open meadows, plus a nice shelter and some really nice views at Wildcat Rocks Overlook. Sorry to see they have closed Doughton Park visitor center and lodge. Only con about this hike was going down the Flat Rock Ridge trail which was COVERED in spider webs - luckily we had hiking poles we could hold up in front of us to take most of the webs out of the way [sticks will work too]. You can also take the Primitive Trail down which cuts off a couple of miles. As we arrived back at the parking lot on Longbottom Rd, we got hit with a short downpour, but got back in the car quickly. Overall an excellent tour of Doughton Park.

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