Explore the most popular cave 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.

good hike or backpack to the top and camp overnight like we did. better be in good shape to hike this one, nice vertical ascends, some narrow areas plus a few wet areas. take emergency supplies with you if your just hiking, plenty of water, maybe some light first aid. there was only one problem we didn't have enough time to hike more. this is absolutely beautiful you have to see it for yourself. get out and enjoy our state and national parks. we are headed to Colorado next then back to the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains.

Loved this hike. We started with HQ, which was a much quieter trail with a steady incline. The falls were much more crowded but beautiful. It was a great workout - lots of steep stairs. Watch out for slippery steps and mud, especially if you go after it’s been raining. The whole loop took us under 3 hrs.

Love this hike. The waterfalls are some of my favorites in North Carolina. Be careful on the slippery stairs though.

we found the trail, but there are no trespassing signs posted now.

walking
18 days ago

Your trail is a maintained access road to the top of the mountain. There are no bathrooms or benches for resting. This is a straight forward WALKING/BIKING trail. At the top are great views also a lot of communication towers, thus the access road.

hiking
19 days ago

A nice short out and back hike to a waterfall and a cave with some history of a Revolutionary period skirmish between the Torys and Patriots that resulted in fatalities. At the time of this post the falls are fantastic due to a recent rain. The waterfall is more of a trickle during the dry season but the cave known as Torys Den is worth the hike especially if you are into history.

Hiked this yesterday (December 19)! would recommend going at a different time than my group did if you have inexperienced members! One of my friends nearly took a plunge of some icy rocks. Snow also made it difficult to see crevices between rocks you could easily break your ankle in!! My group hiked up profile trail to Calloway peak, then took grandfather trail to the parking lot and hitchhiked back to the car. The views and adventure were absolutely stunning, but the trek is certainly not for the out of shape or faint of heart! One of the best trails I’ve hiked!

Great hike! It was muddy, icy, and had snow so prepare accordingly. We didn’t quite make it to the end due to time restraints. I definitely want to go back to get to Calloway peak!

This was an incredible hike!! With the new (super nice) parking area, this trail is now over 8 miles. All the water crossing were high, We made it to Shanty Springs in knee deep snow and had to turn around due to trail conditions. Super slippery at the top. Can’t wait to go back when the snow has melted and finish up the last .4 miles!

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

this is a good hike that is moderately hard. water fall is the best part of this hike.

This trail is one of my favorite trails in N.C. It has beautiful water features in the first section of the trail and stunning views from the top but do not expect this hike to be easy because it is a burner, especially towards the top. I have two dogs that I’m glad stayed at home for this one since it is, in some sections, very technical as there are ladders and exposed rock faces where a slip or loss of balance could result in injury to you or your dogs. Also, I would caution anyone who is hiking this in winter weather to be prepared with the right equipment.
I hiked to Calloway Peak and then went over to Raven Rocks before heading back down. Spend some time at the top because the views are awesome. All in all I hiked a little over 10 miles in about 5.5 hours according to the AllTrails app.

Was apprehensive but the most fun and rewRding trail. Beautiful views. Very technical. Must be comfortable with heights and climbing ladders

This trail is so much fun. We didn't investigate it before taking it on with our 4 kids. Probably would not have taken them on this until they were older. Dangerous for younger kids. I definitely recommend it for older kids and active adults. Exhilarating.

I proposed to my Fiancée at the top. She said yes.

Absolutely amazing. Some parts are hard especially if caught in the rain. But well worth the view.

scenic driving
2 months ago

My favorite trail in the mountains!

Probably my favorite hike due to close proximity and wonderful view of Lenoir. The hang gliding ramp at the top is the perfect platform for photos of you and your friends or pets. I recommend trying it at sunset and staying til dark, because the view of the city lights is awesome. Also, go close to Christmas or Easter and catch the star or cross lit up on top.

hiking
2 months ago

I've hiked this trail twice now and it's probably my favorite on the east coast. It's definitely not for the inexperienced or out of shape, but the grueling path is more than worth it. The MacRae Peak path features stunning view after stunning view. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to take them all in and enjoy the fantastic vistas in all directions. The ladder climbs and rock scrambles can be nerve-racking but are a lot of fun at the same time. I took the Underwood Trail on the way back down which is a bit less strenuous and having gravity on your side makes the going a bit easier. It's easy to see pictures and hear from others about the sights along the way, but one thing you have to experience firsthand is the smells on the trail. You're hiking in a mostly alpine environment and the conifers give a refreshing piney scent for almost the whole way; it's like walking through a christmas tree farm.

An exciting hike! We went in November and the path was so icy we almost turned around a few times. The views were worth it! We took grandfather trail up and Underwood back down, made for a great loop!

absolutely beautiful trail. overnight tent camping at the top. make sure you wear good hiking shoes or boots the trail can get slippery. HIKE THIS TRAIL you won't regret it.

Hands down the most fun trail I have ever hiked! Extremely strenuous, so be careful. My only problem is I hate that you have to pay so much to get to the main trailhead. You can access it from the parkway, but it becomes a pretty long day hike.

Lots of fun. Very well marked and the ladders are a blast. The view from the top of McRae is fabulous. We went up the Grandfather trail and back down Underwood. Underwood is much more in the woods and bit more rocky/rooty. You get much better vistas from Grandfather trail, though it was fun doing both of them. The trail past McRae peak is a less travelled, as many seem to turn around at McCrae.

This is my favorite trail. It is a bit treacherous, especially for an old guy like me. I don’t go on it after heavy rain as it is slippery and mistakes could be costly. But it is beautiful and dramatic and fun.

Fun, beautiful and moderately challenging trail. Highly suggest this one! Add a little length and go to Calloway Peak! One of my favorites.

Amazing hike! Best yet in north Carolina. Lots of ladders and hard uphills. I’m not sure going all the way to callaway peak was worth it if your in it for the views, the first peak was beautiful and stayed beautiful to the callaway peak but didn’t change. About 4-4.5 hours out and back. 40$ to get into the park for 2 people.

This was my first hiking experience with backpack and friends. Excellent experience. Trail was well marked and maintained. A little muddy at times.Could be challenging if you are not in good physical condition. Plenty of places to rest and enjoy nature. Great half day hike. We stopped at Profile View due to time restraints. 2.hrs up and 1.5hrs back. Did this for my 60th birthday. Will return to go to Calloway Peak.

Amazing views, difficult trail.

It was a nice trail. Good for an early morning walk. It was very moderate for repair a 70+-year-old legs but all went well. Surface was in great shape in spite of all the recent rain. Someone may have to explain the wooden ramp at the top. Guessing it’s for sky gliders.

We went on a Saturday in early Oct. and got to the park right as it opened at 8am. Parked in the lot just below the very top lot and hiked the short hike up to the swinging bridge. Then walked across the top lot to the start of the grandfather mt trail. We started the hike at 9am, made it to Calloway peak by 11:30, spent 20min at the top for lunch and then got back to our parking lot via black rock trail by 1:45pm. Round trip was about 5hrs and that is with us stopping for views and really taking our sweet time. We hiked about 5.5miles. My advice. Keep right on the underwood trail? On the way up to do the cables and ladders (which weren’t as scary as I was expecting) and then keep right at the same split on the way back for the easier descent. Calloway peak actually wasn’t as impressive as macrae peak was, so if you wanted a shorter trip just go to macrae. But all in all the $20 was worth it and this is one of the best and most fun hikes I have done. 5stars! If I can do it anyone can, just take your time on ascents and descents, but honestly they weren’t too bad. Oh, and start early!

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