Explore the most popular forest 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.

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.

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.

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
1 month 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
2 months ago

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

5 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.

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
7 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.

Fun trail, good distance, nice views, kid friendly

Good hike with some hills and pretty water views.

Nice we usually take the short turn trail shortening that walk to 2.7 miles. If you do the full trail the second half is fairly hilly. lots of nice lake views mostly on the first half.

As advertised, a nice little walk around the lake. The trail is not ideal for joggers, definitely an ankle twister with all the roots.

Great for families!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a nice, easy, and relaxing trail. So many fun stops to skip rocks and enjoy nature.

awww 3w33ww3w

We did the short trail. Plenty of ups and downs. Shaded all the way.

trail running
10 months ago

Absolutely loved this trail (I tried to record it for the app, but my cell service was spotty at best and I couldn't get it initiated). I was looking for a good trail run around Lake Norman that wasn't quite so populated so I hit this about 7am on a Sunday morning and it was PERFECT. When I got there the trail was "closed" from the weather, but I decided to risk it and run anyway (shhh, don't tell anyone!) I was unsure about it being a shared hiking/mountain bike trail but that turned out to be a huge plus. The obstacles and terrain features were a fun addition. The elevation changes were frequently up and down with being too extreme. The scenery was amazing! I jumped a few deer, the mist on the water deserved to be framed, and the early morning sunlight coming through the trees was transcendental. I'm from out of town but if I am ever back, this will be a must do. 5/7 would recommend ;)

Love this trail! I take my dog and 3 year old daughter often. It's shady and along the lake most of the trail! So beautiful!

This trail loop has several different options, depending on which direction you go and if you choose to take the road that cuts through to the other side. We hiked south from the trailhead and it is roughly 3.2 miles of easy hiking near the edge of the lake. The trail offers plenty of spots to stop and enjoy views of the water.

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fun trail with good views. Trail has lots of ups and downs and watch out for all the roots! This trail is probably very slippery when wet. Enjoy.

Load More