Explore the most popular backpacking trails in North Carolina with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I love the diversity that this trail has to offer! It starts with a nice uphill climb up Old Butt Knob, as you work your way towards shining rock. The quartz boulders cannot be understated – they are phenomenal and must be seen in person! I didn’t stay past dark, but I hear that they glow for about an hour after sunset. How amazing! The hike back down from shining rock, we walked along the river and there was waterfall after waterfall after waterfall… It was spectacular! Two moderately athletic hikers finished this loop in about five hours.

3 days ago

Loved this trail, did it with my girlfriend and dog. We did the trail counterclockwise starting from Wolf Pit Trail Head. The first night we camped right before the Table Rock split off. There are plenty of great campsites and there is a side trail that leads to creek for water. The second night we camped on the east side of the river

You do have to do two river crossings, this first one requires a quick swim, the second one more simple since the water is only ankle high.

The trail west of the river is not the best marked, chances are you will lose it. We climbed out of the gorge at pitch-in, the hiked out was very strenuous, we then walked along the road for about a mile and re-entered the trail at Mountain to Sea.

It's a tough trail, but there are great views and an awesome experience.

One of my favorite trails. A little of everything elevation, flat areas, beautiful views.

went with the family and a 3 month old Aussie pup. Dont know that my parents enjoyed it as much as I did, but the views are absolutely gorgeous the whole way and it's a great reward for the tough hike. (Mind you, even if you're in pretty decent shape it's tough though)

this place is near and dear to my heart glad I live so close to such a beautiful place the big man above created a masterpiece with this one

It’s steep at first but pence your on top it’s beautiful

7 rock hops down to CS91 then 8 stream crossings with a few rock hops on down to Lakeshore Trail.

Kiosk and Warren Family graveyard on Reedy Creek Road. Misses the best part of the trail but cuts off about a mile.

11 days ago

Start @ trailhead for Slickrock Creek Tr. Limited parking off Hwy 129 on south side of bridge below Cheoah Dam. Ike Tr begins after .6mi easy walk along Calderwood Lake. This is a difficult, gnarly, poorly marked & maintained wilderness trail with few blazes, eroded difficult to follow trail with deadfall, & mult creek xzings. Great fun. First .9mi a steep muddy ascent along the stream. Watch for the subtle stream xings. Ascend a ridge-trail now in decent shape & easy to follow through forest. Jxn w Hangover Tr @ 1.5mi &Yellow Hammer Gap Tr. @ 1.6. Steep descent to end @ Slickrock Creek @ 2.2mi from Ike trailhead. Unable to make a loop w Slickrock Cr Tr -water too high today for safe xing.

Great Trek! Siler Bald views were fantastic!

The only reason I didn't give it a five star rating is because it can use some more markings. A few trees cover the trails but nothing impassible. A little confusing at times but nothing we couldn't figure out. The view from the rock is really good and deserves a five star rating. The trails are littered with tree roots so you have to watch your step in places. It's not the worse I have seen but my son (5) had to be really careful in places. He was really tired when we finished though but was amazed by the view. He wants to do Looking Glass next but I don't like redoing trails but I guess I will oblige at some point. You can see Looking Glass really well at the rock lookout. Go early because the parking lot fills up quickly.

Great workout and beautiful views!

Perfect hike for any level hiker. The elevation can be tough at first. But your body adjust. Epic views in all directions. When the rhododendrons blooms it’s one of top spots on East Coast. Photographers travel from around the world for this event.

These are some of the best views on the East Coast!! One of the best trails ever. Great spot for Astrophotography and camping.

This trail is labeled HARD for a reason, but it is so worth it!! In the summer there are wild blueberries lining the path, and the views of the gorge are simply stunning. the campgrounds are also gorgeous.
Be ready for some burning legs! This trail is breathtaking in more ways than one!

This trail was a perfect loop for my first back packing trip. A friend and I did the loop counterclockwise. We parked at the backcountry info center, which was perfect because it’s exactly where the trail starts and ends. Our first day was a half day, hiking a little over 4 miles.
The 1st day we started around 2:00, hiking down Kimsey creek until joining the AT. We spent the night at Standing Indian Shelter.
The 2nd day we hiked to just past Carter Gap Shelter and set up camp (roughly a 9 mile day). Day 3 was by far the most scenic and had a few good climbs. We finished up on the AT and took the Long Branch Trail back to our car. It ended up being a 11.4 mile day from our campsite back to the car.
Overall, it was a great trip! Good multi day loops are hard to come by and this one is perfect for a weekend or beginner trip. The trail is really well marked, LOTS of water sources, and plenty of spots to camp. You’ll meet a lot of thru hikers and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Be prepared for some work getting up Mt. Albert- but it’s definitely worth the view you earn and a perfect spot for a lunch picnic.

This trail is beautiful and offers amazing views! We did it yesterday, February 27 and there were still some ice sickles and icy patches on the ground as we got higher. I feel the rating of “moderate” is fair as it is relatively short, but has some rugged terrain where you’ll be navigating over rocks and tree roots.

Kevin, email me caronj@gmail.com

good hike, has some tough sections, permit is free and you get it there, just write down your car license plate

good hike, has some tough sections

Best hike in WNC by far if you want views and waterfalls... some real hidden gems on this circuit. Also not heavily trafficked.

Very challenging! Very beautiful! I want to do it again someday!!!

beautiful! we went on a foggy afternoon which made the views even more spectacular. we didn't have time to do the whole trail so we just did the loop.

Been hiking here for 20+ years. One of my all time favorite trails

The only moderate thing about this hike is the last 200 yards up to the falls. Other than that it’s a nice stroll on a gravel road with a slight incline at first. Keep walking until you see the national forest management sign and the trail goes off to the right on a dirt road. Then from my picture you can see part of the bridge and where the unmarked section up to the falls start.

When you get on this section it is unmarked with tree limbs in the way at parts, but you can easily tell where others have gone before you from the ground being pressed down.

We did this trail in two days. Great hike. They were a few trees down on Kimsey Creek trail, but all were passable. The first day it was overcast and windy, However the following day the sun came out and WOW!! by the time we got to Albert Mtn it was totally clear.

A decent weekend loop. The Forney Creek trail portion follows an old logging road, which is a little uninspiring if you’re backpacking. The creeks are pretty, and the terrain is nicely varied from the high ridge-top hiking along the AT to the hollows along Jonas Creek.

This is more of an inquiry as myself and a few friends would like to plan this hike in June, but reading reviews causes some concern. We are in pretty good shape and have hiking experience, but don't wish to get lost for hours. Anyways, I think that we would be willing to hire someone who has made this trek and could guide us to the summit. If anyone can offer some insights and suggestion, I would be most appreciative.
I have a vacation home in Asheville and used to live there, and actually tested the hike for a half mile or so out of Canton, so have some insight. Looking at second weekend in June. Thanks, Kevin

Nice easy scenic hike.

Loved the views!!! Rough hike. Beware. Worth it for the views.

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