Explore the most popular camping 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.

Get there early if you want a more quiet walk. Many families there by mid morning to tube in the creek. (Which looked fun!) The trail was manageable for my older parents and younger kids. The waterfall and creek make for beautiful photos with the family.

My husband & I hiked this trail yesterday with an early start. Beautiful trail with lots to see. Love to hike with water features from the creek raging along the trail, waterfalls, & peaceful trickling streams trailing down the mountain, its here. Calm pools for fishing, wildflowers & rock formations, you won't be disappointed! Glad we arrived early as we finished our hike, loads of eager tubing fans were trekking up the trail to get a chance to ride the waves of cascading water in the creek. There is something for everyone here. A great day all the way around!

hiking
15 hours ago

Not steep but long climb, the first mile was a very wide pathway but after that it was more of a trail. Overall good trail. 3 waterfalls along the trail. Some difficult parts but mostly easy

backpacking
23 hours ago

This trail has something for everyone, scenic views, fly fishing, water falls, and just enough incline for a slight challenge. The trail is well maintained and clean except for horse manure. Lots of trails in this area are horse friendly ( so watch your step).

hiking
1 day ago

great walk! saw a huge bear about 15-20 feet away from me, we smelled each other and guessed what's the other's next move.. ended up alive to tell ;) was amazingly thrilling!

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.

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.

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

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.

backpacking
2 days ago

This is a very tough trail with multiple steep inclines, two river crossings, and lots of rocks and tree roots along the trail. To complete the trail I highly recommend downloading a map on your phone to use as a GPS because of the trails extremely limited trail signs and I also recommend three full days and two nights to get the most enjoyment from the trail. I completed the loop on 7-14-18 and experienced rain and very wet conditions, also the majority of the trail was very overgrown with lots of fallen trees, briers, and tree limbs across the trail even at some points where you couldn’t see your feet while walking along the trail. Overall this loop features cool views and many neat places to set up camp but I definitely recommend it to experienced hikers as every mile on the Linville Gorge feels like two miles.

backpacking
2 days 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.

Absolutely one of the best places to hike! It’s got bouldering, scenic views, more moderate trails as well as very challenging ones

hiking
2 days ago

A few more trees down this year, but manageable. Great day to start early and involve the family. Wife and 9 year old had a great time. Deer, chipmunk, Turkey, and Squirells.

I only hiked to Macrae's Peak. It was beautiful and well-maintained. Definitely challenging though and I would recommend that you wear a good pair of tennis shoes with grip. some of the ladders are nerve-wracking if you are scared of heights, but really aren't that bad. I would recommend being in good shape. It's worth the $20 fee to get into the park! Just know that you have to be back by 6 pm.

My first time backpacking with my ASU class and had a great experience! And the sunset from the top of the little hump was so beautiful!

A 6hr round trip going up the Mt Mitchell trail and down Higgins Bald. I can’t really recommend Higgins Bald as it’s a touch overgrown and the roots here are particularly evil. This is not a “scenic” trail, but the woods are beautiful and peaceful. Being from the Midwest, this hike was epic. To walk out onto the summit after climbing nearly 3700 ft is a feeling I won’t forget soon. It is hard but completely doable. Highly recommend hiking boots with solid ankle support and good traction. I didn’t use trekking poles but they would have made my life a lot easier! It’s definitely a popular hike; I got to the trailhead at 8:30am on a Saturday and the parking lot was already full! Passed a few people going up and even more going back down.

*Be warned that it is very likely the summit will be covered in clouds and fog! A man I met on the top said he’s done this hike 3 times and seen only clouds. It’s still definitely worth doing in my opinion!

Beautiful views and very worth it. There were too many babies when I went. Do not take babies passed the first bald. It becomes much more strenuous and easier to slip. Also the change in elevation will make them cry

fishing
3 days ago

Good fishing. Rough trail not marked well but won’t get you lost.

Great hike , beautiful view.

hiking
3 days ago

Excellent trail. We got there early as this one seems best enjoyed before the large groups arrive. Would recommend regular shoes if you can step carefully, but plenty of beautiful spots to stop by water along the way.

Beautiful views. Lots of wildflowers. A nice, enjoyable outing.

nice trail along the Creek for about the first two miles. Hebron rock colony - car sized boulders in the river all the way down to the valley. we had for small children with us and they did great. very scenic

Nice trail and great loop by lake and in woods. Only downside is litter by lake side of trail.

Excellent. Hiked with my wife and sons (9.5 and 7). Both did well. Total time was just under three hours. Trail is next to water for 75% of the time. Wonderful to hear the sound of running mountain stream. Multiple crossings. After rain, these crossings could be a bit messy; prepare to get feet a bit wet. My youngest did the hike in Keen sandals and was perhaps best prepared!

Great Hike, the best I have done in a long, long time. It is very hard at the end, you need to be in pretty good physical shape. Ladder 6 is the tricky one, and going down is more difficult than up, of course. The views are outstanding, and the hike is fun as hell. The guy below me is commenting on some other hike, not this one. This hike is a class 4, and takes 2-3 hours. NOT DOG FRIENDLY! It's possible you could get a mellow dog up the 6th ladder, but you are not getting him down GFM unless he is strapped to your back. We witnessed several folks attempting to do this and they wisely gave up.

Very rocky. Not suitable for dogs. It was cloudy/foggy but had some amazing areas/overlook places. Overall a very amazing trail!

hiking
4 days ago

Probably my favorite Umstead trail. 95% under the forest canopy, stays nice and cool even in the blazing summer heat which is wonderful for my dogs. Watch your step - lots and lots of tree roots.

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