Explore the most popular birding trails in Lake Norman State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike!!

Miles of trail options in woods and along the shores of Lake Norman. Trails are covered with bare roots, leaves and Carolina red clay this making them slippery in wet weather. Nice spots to eat on trails or nearby Troutman has Randy's BBQ or Pomodoro's Italian/Pizza for lunch.

trail running
19 days ago

Great beautiful trail. I’ve yet to complete the 9 mile loop. There’s a 4.5 mile option if you run long enough there will be a sign telling you to run along the power lines. Make sure to run the opposite direction of the mountain bikers. There’s not a lot of visibility but no accidents for me yet on this trail. Love it

25 days ago

Trail was nice but got attacked by bees/small yellow jackets about .5 mile on trail. Multiple bites - very aggressive.

hiking
27 days ago

Took the family for a hike on this wonderful trail today. Weather was perfect - no sun glasses needed as the natural canopy kept the sun from zapping us. Had to move over about four times to allow cyclists through. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to complete. We didn’t see any snakes this time. Be careful in some places that have roots. Nice easy to moderate trail!! Looking forward to doing in again in the near future.

Great hike , beautiful view.

trail running
1 month ago

I do the short 2.5 mi loop as a trail run with my dog. In the summer it is mostly shaded. Lots of roots so be careful, but it makes for a fun and challenging trail run. In the fall, winter, and spring the hilly portions of the trail may be slippery if it is wet or leaves on the trail. There are a few beach stop offs as the trail follows the lake. It's a beautiful hike and I've seen ospreys, woodpeckers, turtles, snakes, and deer many times on this trail.

Beautiful, peaceful area!!

Very clean and well maintained trail. I normally do the entire trail barefoot.
Beautiful scenery and plenty of cute little sandy beaches to stop and hangout or get in the water at.
Also well marked trails and trail intersections. Actual signs with arrows.
Both my dogs big and small love this trail as do I.

Really nice trail had a lot of fun biking on it!

I did the 2.5 mile loop (short loop) of this trail. The lake is pretty, and it wasn’t crowded. Water was nice to cool off in!

Easy walk

This trail was tough for me! I'm a beginner so this was definitely a challenge. I enjoyed the trail immensely and would do it again. I did NOT enjoy the snakes though!

Great 5 mike loop with lake views. Wish we had brought a bathing suit and a picnic lunch! It was a last minute decision for us to hike here and it would have been great to stop on the shore of the lake to eat lunch and swim!

nice loop, great views

This is my go-to trail due to its proximity to my home. My dog loves it. Trail follows the water almost entire loop. Little beaches along with way for the dog to splash and cool off.

3 months ago

For what this trail is (easily accessible, family focused, educational, etc) it is great. Definitely not a "hike", or a challenge but for a short jaunt it packs in some interesting views.

hiking
3 months ago

This is what a good hike looks like - plenty of tree cover, views of the lake, hard-packed trail and episodes of elevation without exhaustion. Lots of hikers on a gorgeous spring day., but didn’t seem crowded. 4.5 miles of joy.

Not technical at all - and if you follow the rules, bikes are only coming at you head on...
The ground is "soft" and sandy in many places. Nothing was too hard packed (even for a bike trail!)
We hit it hard (for us) and managed to get in 11 miles for the entire afternoon.

I would say anyone over 10yrs old could handle this trail - it isn't boring, and the views help...
Just long enough to make it fun!

hiking
4 months ago

I found this to be a challenging and interesting hike. If you find this to be "boring" or "not real hiking" as a few others have said, hiking may not be your thing. Sure, there's no amazing overlook, mountain peak, or waterfall you're hiking towards, but the lake is beautiful and just being surrounded by nature is what it is about. The trail is clearly defined but is still very much a hiking trail, not paved or gravel. The trail has a well established trailhead and small parking area at the start/finish. The trail is very well marked and has mile markers and wooden benches for resting at every half mile. The trail seems to get progressively more difficult as you go along, with the first couple miles being relatively easy and directly on the lake shore, while the last few miles take on a more woodland feel (though still quite close to the lake) with increasing hills. I found the last mile to be quite challenging, as there is a prolonged uphill section starting at mile marker 4.0. There is an opportunity to cut the trail short or add a small side trail to increase its length, however I just did the standard loop. I'm not sure why the distance on AT lists this as 4.8, the trail markers clearly mark 5.0 miles and the end of the trail is another tenth or two further than that marker. I hiked during midday on a weekday during a school break, and only came across a few other hikers. It was quiet and peaceful.

I was speechless!
For years I thought this was a "bike only" trail!
Turns out to be one of the very best hiking trails in the area! We started out just about 1pm, and the weather was perfect!
The terrain isn't too demanding. If you are a comfortable 10mile hiker - this trail is perfect...

We wrapped up the trail(s) at just under 10 miles, and it felt good.

The Lake Loop is nice, but the Laurel Loop is so much more!

Did part of it years ago. Can’t wait to do again

Did it a few years ago. Loved it

hiking
5 months ago

Nice stroll through the woods with a view of the lake. Lots of roots and rocks and some low-incline hills.

8 months ago

Enjoyed this trail on Thanksgiving. Beautiful scenery on a beautiful day.

Part of the Itusi Trail, which is comprised of eight hiking/mountain biking loops ranging from 1.0 to 9.75 miles and totaling 30.5 miles. This loop combines the five trails most accessible from the visitor center (Monbo, Norwood Creek, Hawk, Hicks Creek and Laurel). I have hiked the four longest, with the short mile-long Hicks Creek Loop (connecting off of the Hawk Loop) being the exception. They were all on the easy to moderate side, with the Laurel Loop being the longest and having the most elevation change. It also has the most water views. The other three trails (Wildlife, Fallstown and Fox) connect to the southern end of Laurel Loop.

hiking
9 months ago

One of 8 loops that make up the 30.5 mile hiking/mountain biking Itusi Trail. Monbo is both easy and popular, with about 500 feet of elevation change in the 6.5 mile loop, including the short section from the visitor center parking area to the beginning of the trail. The only pretty views of the lake are to and from the trailhead, but it was an enjoyable walk in the woods.

Beautiful 5 mile hike, has the whole trail to myself (other than the few dozen squirrels). Rough terrain with lots of roots, a bit hilly, quiet, and peaceful!

hiking
10 months ago

first time hiking here. broke me off. great trails

Quiet and beautiful but you can still hear noises from homes across the lake or boats so not completely secluded. I only met a handful of people on the trail but it was mid-day on a Thursday, so that may have had something to do with it. Easy enough for a beginner, hard enough for experienced day-hikers to not feel bored. Appropriate for older children.

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