Explore the most popular wildlife trails near Connellys Springs with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I did this trail on Labor Day, which the Park itself was super busy. This particular trail wasn’t busy at all. The hike was challenging but enjoyable. The waterfall never disappoints. Some areas are more congested than others but the trail is wide enough to pass people. The roughest portions of the trail is at the beginning so keep pushing through and it’s all down hill after that.

There were some beautiful parts of the hike, such as the waterfall and the creek. However I was disappointed that there wasn’t as much of a scenic view. It was a strenuous hike and had some steep areas that made it nice and challenging. Overall, I don’t think I would do the hike again but if you’re looking for a strenuous hike filled with steep hills and a waterfall this would be your go to trail.

so pretty! quite a few stairs and a lot of rocks/boulders, but it was very pretty and worth it. I am a beginner and not in very good shape, and I was able to do it. Will be going back!

Great trail, beautiful waterfall, stairs were a little tough, only downside really was the amount of people—a LOT

One of our favorite hikes. It starts out from the paved parking area and moves right before the main bridge over the river. The path begins super easy as a flat path with fine, loose aggregate along the river with tons of paths to the water as well as a few slightly hidden viewing decks over the water (we saw a beautiful doe and fawn in the river from one of these overlooks yesterday). At one point the trail forks - stay left to stick to the river. It starts getting a little more difficult as you progress with rocks, tree roots and stone steps. There’s an area where it might be difficult for some - a rock slide from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s brought down slabs of granite and you have to traverse it to continue. Don’t worry! It’s not terrible. Just keep it in mind as it could be slick with the wrong shoes. As you get to the areas where you are getting closer to the falls you’ll cross the river on wooden bridges and almost all steep wooden steps or box steps filled with soil, to the falls and upper falls. Take it slow if you have bad knees because the hike is so worth it at the top. At the top of the falls you can come back the way you came if you want to stick to the river or continue on the loop back to the fork in the trail. The loop portion is all forest and fairly smooth hiking but it is uphill a good bit. The downhill is much appreciated. At one point there’s a natural spring trickling down beside the path. The only water you’ll see along that part. You’ll end back at the fork where you originally stayed left. The treck back to the parking lot is back on the same flat, fine aggregate path along the river. Enjoy this hike and take tons of pictures. It’s beautiful!

beautiful trail would go again

Has a nice visitors center w/ a gift shop. Life size Lincoln logs area. Several picnic areas around the hike. Steep climb but has sturdy steps & structures to get you to the top of the waterfall

Fun hike. The waterfall portion gets a little crowded, but views are amazing. Did not run into anybody on the HQ portion.

Depending on the way you decide to go on the loop from the crossroads go left for a strenuous stair case going up right beside the whole water fall or go right to climb 3/4 foot high natural staircases. it's a good hike bring plenty of water and be prepared to get exhausted. when you reach the top of the falls you are met with a stunning view of the falls.

Very hard hike and the waterfall wasn’t amazing to me. But it was probably just because the time I went.

2 months ago

My wife and I hiked up Shinny Trail with our 4 month Aussie dog. We started on HQ Trail and looped around to Upper Falls Trail back to HQ. It was about 5 miles and only passed 1 couple. Keep in mind that it’s a mile walk to Shinny trail head from the parking lot. We hung out at the waterfalls and enjoyed the sun. Watch out at the top of Shinny Trail along the ridge. We ran across a timber rattle snake (black). No worries, there not aggressive. We simply just walked around it. That said, hiking up the ridge was tough but the rest of the hike was easy. I’ll be going back to take the longer loop via Horse Ridge to Possum Trail back to Shinny to train for a 10 day hike on the John Muir Trail.

Great trail with difficulty but worth every bit of it. Be prepared with proper shoes and water supply. Had a wonderful day!

Wonderful view and well kept trails

Beautiful waterfall and worth the hike up to see it! Gives your legs a hard workout.

Great hike. Waterfalls are beautiful.

Glorified Crowders Mountain.

Park has this listed as strenuous, but found it to be a nice little loop. flat wide level trails, but yes there are 80-90 steps. Wooden steps with handrails and multiple platforms with benches to stop and enjoy the views. take the learning trail along the river for the views and wildlife instead of going straight out the road.

Went this morning a beautiful hike.

Great hike! Good mix of dirt trails, rocks and stairs with the most beautiful waterfalls!

Best trail in the park.

4 months ago

Yawn..not too impressed with this trail. You get to the top and there's one small rock to stand at for the view. Something about the hike up that's just not enjoyable, either. With the exception of the waterfall hike, the hikes at Crowders Mtn blow the South Mtn hikes out of the water. You also don't get the rock formations here that Crowders has.

Girlfriend and I took two dogs. I wouldn’t consider this a hard hike. It’s a little steep at the beginning.

I took my 8 year daughter on this adventure. We had a great time and very minimal complaining from her. She was scared when we got to Hugo Rockslide, but the majestic view of the fall made up for it. We got a little winded in some places but overall very fun. We didn't take our dog, but plenty of areas for dogs to get some water and placed to dispose trash and dog poo. Parking area was nice and had a couple picnic areas throughout. I believe I spotted a couple grills, so next time we might grill out instead of bringing sandwiches.

This group of trails kicked my butt! I went up the stair side of High Falls Shoals Loop, then on to Upper Falls Trail, and came down Headquarters Trail. The waterfall and rock formations were really cool, and there were some decent mountain views along the rest of the trails. The ascents on the first half of the loop were insane, but at least it made for an easier second half on the way down.

Great trail, lots beautiful views, family friendly

trail running
5 months ago


Great trail with multiple levels of waterfalls, well built stairs go up most of the way.

I always ignore the trail and rock hop right up the river. one of my favorite places

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