Explore the most popular dogs on leash 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.

18 hours ago

Really nice and quiet little trail. Well kept.

Beautiful views , diversified terrain with some pretty strenuous climbs .... 50 mile an hour winds on one of the peaks .... significant downhill section near end ... if you are looking for a hostel / bar / food at the end of this section try The Station at 19E , they really take care of hikers .

Great trail! But yes, whomever rated it ‘easy’ must have been smokin dope. lol Definitely Moderate.

I’ve backpacked in the gorge probably 30 times, and this is one of my favorite trails I’ve ever done. I started at 9 am after camping near the trailhead, summited at about 2:30pm, and was at an amazing campsite on top of shortoff mtn. by 7pm. I took my time with the views and didn’t rush, also stopped for dinner on the trail. You definitely want to spend at least one night on this one- there are tons of great campsites along the whole route, and if you can catch a sunrise it will be well worth it.

Great, easy trail for the whole family! Our 4 year old hiker didn’t complain about the walk at all. Lots of families with dogs, pretty heavily trafficked but didn’t feel crowded at all. Falls are really pretty! We’ll definitely go back when it’s warm outside.

We walked several of the loop trails. We had the place totally to ourselves except for various birds to include a wild turkey.

lots of wildlife, tons of turtles all sunbathing on logs, blue herons walking on the water edge, and toads hopping around in the forest.

Nice hike, the views weren’t amazing but parts near the lake and river were nice. Fun wildlife lots of spring peepers, snakes, and ground skinks

Good exercise. The views from the top are breathtaking

Fantastic views- is definitely not for a beginner hiker though. Most of the hike involved simple rock climbing and was all roots/rocks. There are ladders scaling the mountainsides that you must climb and cables that you have to use to hoist yourself up steep rocks. WORTH IT though if you’re up for the challenge. The views are incredible.

3 days ago

Wife and I hiked this past weekend. Very enjoyable hike, once you submit to the notion your feet are going to get wet as you cross the streams. It is March so the creek levels are high. The addition of seeing the history of the 1916 flood was an added element to the hike. I would rate the trail moderate to strenuous, as of right now it needs some maintenance due to some downed trees. Two questions I have for hikers who are very familiar with the trail. I would like to know where the "perfect chimney," is located and the Caudill family cemetery.

Have hiked this trail several times. Not too difficult and very nice views from the top.


3 days ago

Did this as a 2 night backpacking trip. Well established trail but NOT marked. Tough, rocky terrain that can be slippery after rain but elevation gain isn’t bad. We had intended to continue on to Greasy Cove Trail and loop around Shining Creek Path back to the trailhead but we could not find the trail after 2 hours so we made an out and back of Big East Fork.

All in all a good first time trip for this novice backpacker. Campsites were nice and flat with easy access to the creek for water.

Kitsuma trail out was great. However the return trail is not where it is shown on the map. Looks like whoever recorded it turned off the recording while they followed the railroad tracks and turned it back on when they reached the old stagecoach trail. Hence the perfectly straight line on the map that crosses the stream several times. I followed the tracks for a while and ended up going back up the embankment to the paved trail to get back.

Great place for a family hike.

Camped in cat gap trail and connected to John rock during the day trip, it was gorgeous! mostly uphill the whole last two miles so I'd rate it moderate, but so worth it!

4 days ago

Nice trail, easy hike and only a few bikers today. The river water was higher than usual, when crossing it got tricky since the water was higher than normal and slick rocks.

Had a fantastic time here. We hiked all the way to the end of the trail seeing all 3 waterfalls. It was Thursday so very few people were on the trail. Had lunch at the top if rainbow falls. It was an amazing view.

We hiked this trail on a beautiful sunny Sunday with our three kids (5-9) and my parents. The blue trail is probably more moderate than easy (lots of inclines), but my kids are fairly regular hikers and handled it well. Great parking right next to the trailhead.

This hike is definitely a workout. The first 1-1.5 miles are pretty much a non-stop incline. After that it’s pretty much smooth sailing, with a few short inclines that sufficiently get your heart pumping. Took my dog and she loved it. It was definitely a workout for her too! We added an extra .4 miles to go to the Chestnut Knob overlook. The view itself is pretty good, but there’s not really anywhere to sit comfortably and no shade. And because we went on a fairly warm day, the sun was a little too much. Other than the overlook, there’s a few spots with some decent views, and places to sit and enjoy them. As other mentioned there are a ton of burnt trees, so a little dreary but nothing too bad. Overall I’m giving this hike a 4 because it’s a great workout, but it’s just short of a 5 because of the lackluster views.

Great place to hike in and camp the night. My Daughter and I went there , had a great time. We also took MST to Devils Garden Overlook but be warned that at time we hiked it All Trail Classification is wrong. Devil Garden Overlook is an advance trail not moderate.

This trail is a advance trail and straight up almost the whole time. My daughter and I are new to hiking , this trail was out of our league. All trails has made a mistake classifying this as moderate. We did finally make it to over look but was hard to do. All in all view is worth it.

little to no parking

Fun hike with a river and a lake

5 days ago

Beautiful crisp morning with a little snow on the ground still. Falls were gorgeous.

Super Trail -
Easy on the body, might even recommend it for almost anyone!

The area is quiet, and the cover is thick for the most part, and we stayed cool and comfortable!

You'll love it

Nice trail. Not too strenuous. Tracked it at 6 miles total. There were plenty of children doing this trail with no problem. There are places where I would not have a dog with no leash. The views at the end are well worth the trip.

Excellent afternoon on the Trails - If you have never been here, and live within an hour of the park you are cheating yourself.
The trails is really an easy trail, and the hills are small and the terrain is forgiving...

For the most part the trail is well under a canopy of trees, and the breeze was consistent.
We lived in the Raleigh area years ago, and on a weekend getaway we decided to hit this park...
And so glad we decided to change plans and hit Umstead!

You will love all 11 miles - (We also took on Sal's Branch/Loop)
There is a trail here for everyone

I was speechless!
For years I thought this was a "bike only" trail!
Turns out to be one of the very best hiking trails in the area! We started out just about 1pm, and the weather was perfect!
The terrain isn't too demanding. If you are a comfortable 10mile hiker - this trail is perfect...

We wrapped up the trail(s) at just under 10 miles, and it felt good.

The Lake Loop is nice, but the Laurel Loop is so much more!

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