Explore the most popular birding 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.

Great walk in the woods. Easy to traverse for little ones. Plenty to see. Heavily wooded, lots of poison ivy— my suggestion is pants and some bug repellent. From parking and around the outermost loop is 2.5 miles.

hiking
9 hours ago

Challenging!

Wow! What a hike. Definitely take a good map and a compass. We took Old Butt trail to Shining Rock and then back down Shining Creek. We went in mid July and there was so much vegetation the trail was almost unrecognizable in places. Old Butt trail is no joke and this is no easy stroll.

one of my favorite easy trails .has interesting points of interest and the falls are small but refreshing..Lots of interesting flora..Not too heavily used the many times I have walked/run it..nice for easy biking, too

Don’t be fooled by the number of cars parked along the road at trailhead. Many people are just there to camp. Not exactly easy trail as many parts have rocks to scurry up or step through. Meadow at the top with a hum of bumblebees on the many wildflowers. Amazing views in every direction. We’ve done it twice this trip.

Nice hike, gorgeous wildflowers the entire way, plus the creek! Wide trail, that narrows considerably as you get close to the pinnacle. I went early on a Sunday morning and really didn’t see them many people until I got most of the way down. I got to the top about 10:45 and the fog was clearing, so I had some views.

These hikes are part of the Mountain to Sea trail and were well maintained-overgrowth has just been cut back apparently. Very little elevation but some slippery footing occasionally. Pretty wildflowers on both the upper and lower trails. Hiked these severL days and never saw another soul, although you can hear traffic noise from the Parkway. Dog friendly!

trail running
14 hours ago

It was a fun trail to run for me and my dog. This was my first trail run and I thought it had some varied terrain, but nothing too difficult. There is canopy cover for most of the trail, so it’s doable even in the heat. The lake is pretty and there were not that many people on it. I’ll definitely be going back!

hiking
14 hours ago

Very steep but short hike up to some great views. Starts at a visitors center parking lot so a little more crowded than other trails but worth it. The Mountain to Sea Trail also joins up here so you can add some distance by following their white blazed trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There is definitely some discrepancy in the length. Sign at the bottom says 5.5 to Cheoah Bald. Sign .5 from Cheoah Bald says 6 to the parking area off 143. I think I clocked 11 Total. It’s a beautiful forest hike, “rolling” up and down both ways. I’m sure the view at the top is spectacular, but between 11-12 today I couldn’t see much of anything. Beautiful wildflowers near the top. Trail was is great shape, though it is pretty narrow the entire way. I don’t think this trail is super difficult, but as a long distance runner I may not be the best judge! It was fairly busy today, a Monday.

walking
14 hours ago

Wouldn’t call it a hike, but it’s a lovely paved trail around a lake with beautiful gardens.

Absolutely beautiful place! Must visit if you’re in the area.

The neighborhood section is nice for a casual ride or run. Connects to a nice park. The neuse river connection is a little more challenging and a great way to start the longer trail for serious riders.

Disagree about the "all skill levels", but is great for a weekend run or ride. Great spot for families. Connects Durant nature park.

Nice quick recreational area. Connects to Durant greenway trail. Good for weekend bikers and family walks

Great trail. So much of the Appalachians in such a short distance.

19 hours ago

We visited with 2.5 and 3.5 year old boys, who loved being able to walk behind the falls. Beautiful and easy. Definitely not a “hike” but a lovely outing.

hiking
19 hours ago

Most of this “hike” is a steep paved walk to the trailhead. It’s been a really rainy season and a wet day, but even so, the trail was essentially a mud pit/ creek run off. We turned around before the vista because it was just too slippery.

We got up there right as clouds/fog rolled in, so we couldn't see anything. Notthe first time hiking trail thankfully. Beautiful views if the weather is good. Relatively easy trail with great views so expect heavy traffic on weekends/holidays.

One of the best backpacking trips I’ve done. We chose the campsite on the top of Big Hump, and although it got super windy at one point and we were clouded in most of the time that night, we woke up in the morning to clear skies and a spectacular view of the mountains in every direction, and it was so worth the trek up there.

hiking
21 hours ago

We are not overly fit (not out of shape, just average 53yo)...found this challenging but doable. Just over four miles round trip in just under three hours with several rest stops on the way up and a leisurely lunch at the top. Great hike on very well maintained trails!

mountain biking
21 hours ago

Nice trail... this was my first bike in about 3 years so it was slightly more difficult than expected. Has some nice downhill to get some speed but some heavily rooted areas moving up. All in all good ride.

Primarily old logging roads and wide horse trails. The creek and waterfalls made for an enjoyable hike.

Trail is well marked,and maintained. No water access from viewing platforms, but nice area to spash around at the bottom. The trek back to the top is most challenging, and the last leg of the trail has a bunch of tree roots. Very diverse group on the trail, everyone was fine though, moderate.

I saw a beautiful blue heron and blooming Lillies on the little pond and the gnarled trees are gorgeous

on Weetock Trail

hiking
1 day ago

a bit grown up. not much traveled lately.

Worth the view! Smells like Christmas going up

backpacking
1 day ago

Until a proper maintenance crew decides to work on the trail past the first 5 miles from the trail head, one had better prepare for one heck of a disappointment.

To begin with, every trail in the area is blazed the same color. For some reason, the crew doesn't understand that a trail more than 12 miles "should" be blazed white while spurs and intersecting trails "should" be a different color. Also, there are blazes where is's painfully obvious there is a trail but at the "balds" (which aren't) and the gaps, where the briars are head high and the trail so faint it's difficult to navigate, there are no blazes. Nada. None. There are more "Bear Sanctuary" placards than trail blazes.

Water. Bring more than you think you'll need. Then bring twice that. The water sources are few and far between. Remember, you're at the top of a ridge. To get to any water it's hundreds (more than 200) meters to a POSSIBLE water source which is downhill (way down hill) from the trail. The "map" Alltrails offers doesn't mark any of them and the "reviews" posted below are less than helpful. Seriously... bring more water than you think you'll need.

I'm not going to bother with the issue of the elevation gain and loss... it's a ridge run... it's expected (and one of the main reasons I went this week). However... due to the remoteness of the trail; IF/WHEN there is a medical emergency, lost/overdue hiker, etc you will be stuck in place with no help for over 24 hours. Or more. My hiking partner and I are both search and rescue technicians and know our jobs well. I may know what I'm talking about here.

Other hazards include wild hogs (we had a passel of them "interact" with us out around Signal Knob), trail along the sides of hills that are overgrown and not well cut (one slip in the rain and there's a strong possibility of a serious fall or an ankle injury, massive fallen trees blocking the trail and did I mention the lack of proper blazes?

Really.... unless you are a serious back-country backpacker with extremely strong navigation skills, stay off this trail. Oh, and find a better map than the one here. The actual Rim Trail leaves/reaches the ridge west of Shortoff but keep in mind that all the elevation it took you 2 days to gain is lost in less than half a day.

I give this trail 5 stars not for it's beauty but for it's difficulty. Some of the other reviewers never ran this ridge, they stayed in the valley along the river.

hiking
1 day ago

Pretty positive these pictures of the view are from the John Rock loop, which is part of this one but eventually you have to go on a different trail. Cat gap has no/limited views, and is the same distance.

At least 3 mile drive in on rutty gravel road to reach trailhead, and half of the trail is closer to “hard” than “moderate”, otherwise would give it a five. Beautiful overlooks, but quite rocky, rooty and downed trees on trail

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