Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Beautiful forest walk for the first 1.7 miles. The final 1.1 miles wind through a wildflower packed field. We parked in the flat mountain lot which made this hike a 2.8 mile loop. Saw a few others on the trail on a Saturday.

I did this trip in July with my 10 year old daughter who was carrying her own pack for the first time. We did it in 2 nights instead just an overnight. The first night we stayed at 37 after a pretty easy day. The second day was much more strenuous, going up hill for 5 miles. But site 38 is worth it. Beautiful views and sunset from the fire tower. The last day was all down hill back to big creek. I'll always have fond memories of the trip.

love this trail. beautiful and secluded. have returned several times.

We were visiting the area, and several locals told us we had to make this hike. Midnight hike is the popular attraction, several people were swimming there, but the real beauty is Mouse Creek Falls. Be prepared, this hike is uphill the whole way there, and the trail gets pretty rocky.

4 hours ago

Loved the water fall. Was so much fun!!

Definitely a tough trail, if you go via Spencer Ridge trail. This loop has white blazes and near the split to Table Rock it's a white plastic circle on the tree.

11 hours ago

Beautiful fern trail. Steep at points. Good vistas. Went in mid-July. Saw some native clematis and some kind of beautiful orange lily (?)

12 hours ago

Very busy trail on the south side of Umstead. It's pretty rustic so most of the time you're looking down to avoid stumbling over roots or rocks. I'm amazed how people run this trail with ease. In general, I favor the northern side of Umstead as they provide more solitude and are less rustic.

12 hours ago

Many of the trails are marked poorly and duplicate as biking trails. The trails are thin and impassible so you must always look behind you when hiking, reel the pup in, and step aside to let bikers pass. It makes the time in nature a little less enjoyable.

we did the pump gap loop from the Silvermine trailhead, a few hundred yards up the little road from the parking area on the river. the trail map posted there lists it as 5.6m and shows a very different trail configuration then what this app shows. also, this app consistently showed me well east of the route according to the map on this app. so I don't know what to think..be careful, follow the yellow blazes for the route we did, we were on trail just over 3 hrs & are average hikers at worst I'd say.

Was a nice trail . The beginning of the walk there are 120 stairs to climb then levels out at the top. Waterfall is amazing!

14 hours ago

Great waterfall! Although the recent rainfall left the trail quite muddy, it was manageable. I would recommend wearing waterproof shoes as you need to ford a stream. The waterfall was impressive and a perfect pit stop on the way through Asheville.

Great waterfalls very busy area get there early and can beat the crowds

The trail markings were excellent and so was trail condition (some thinning was needed and was being done). We went out in the fog, we hit all the balds, but visibility was next to nothing. Not the hikes fault, all Mother Nature. We started at Carvers Gap and went to Yellow Mountain Gap (the barn camping area). We tented in the field with a few other hikers. Best tent area I have been to in a while. Water was nearby, but don’t forget your filter, you have to get it out of a creek. The hike out the next day was spectacular! Very little clouds. We even crossed paths with a very large and curious black bear.

Good trail, good workout, well maintained. Be prepared though because it's up and down constantly. And per my wife's Fit Bit it was a little over 6 miles from the parking lot through the Red loop and back to the parking area.

Super easy with nice woodland scenery

I love how I’m the only one there every time I go .. it’s a little creepy with the twisted growth and shadows .. can’t wait to go in the fall

Quite small but very relaxing and picturesque

Beautiful and quiet .. a hidden gem with more gems off the path .. like a secret pond :)

Walked 3.2 miles in a circle looking for the loop .. I kid, I kid ..,Not really a trail .. paved .. nice pond to fish in .. great place to take the family .. there’s a dog park where you can watch the owners argue when the dogs fight .. seriously both times I’ve went

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

18 hours ago

Very pretty area, we do the trail several times a year. The best time to go is when the leaves change, very pretty.

18 hours ago

Took the family for a hike on this wonderful trail today. Weather was perfect - no sun glasses needed as the natural canopy kept the sun from zapping us. Had to move over about four times to allow cyclists through. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to complete. We didn’t see any snakes this time. Be careful in some places that have roots. Nice easy to moderate trail!! Looking forward to doing in again in the near future.

Me and my family hiked the Boone fork trail during Winter in January. This was my/our families first trail. It was hard but mainly because of our family situation, lack of information, and the weather we were in. The trail physically is moderate but with the winter weather things can be hard if you aren’t prepared. Let me explain because I think this information will be helpful to someone who’s planning something similar to what we did.

It was me (32), my pregnant wife! (34) and our 5 kids (2,8,9,11,12). The temperature outside was between 10 and 20 degrees when we started. Mind you this was our first outdoor experience in that kind of weather. We are from Florida. We had breakfast just before we started at 10am and we went (clockwise) through the campsite to begin the trail. I read reviews saying 3 hours to finish the trail on average so I figured we could take our time and be done by the end of the day no problem. Well boy was I wrong. It took us 6 and a half hours to complete the trail. That’s more than an hour per mile. If you’ve never hiked before or your considering doing this hike with your kids during the winter my suggestion is to expect an hour or more per mile. And you want to start at a time where you know you can finish before dark. Luckily we made it back at 5:30. The sun was almost down, the temperature was dropping fast (7 degrees) and it was pretty scary to be in that situation. The later half of the hike was extremely stressful for us and took the fun out of it that we initially had. Some of my kids were exhausted and struggling to carry on and I literally carried my 2 year old on my shoulders the whole way except for give or take a mile in the beginning. What’s worse is my 2 year old began fussing non stop towards the last 1.5 miles and I panicked thinking she may be getting hyperthermic. I wrapped her up to my stomach using a backpack in reverse and began to lead my family in survival mode through the end of the trail. Luckily some gram crackers (I forgot I had) rejuvenated her a little in my arms and a little chant of “you can do it, you can do it!” kept her awake enough the rest of the way. The trail opened up and you could tell we were almost to the parking area and relief set in after worrying about the quickly fading sun and temperature drops. Amazing hike and scenery but extremely dangerous if you don’t know what to expect and you’re not prepared.

So that’s why I must share. If you’re wanting to do this trail in the winter with your small children don’t read my experience and automatically decide against it. You CAN do it you just need to know what to expect and how to plan for it so that you and your family are safe. Here is my advice:

1. Dress waterproof and warm. Have kids wear ski type gear and gloves/mittens that are as water proof as possible. Don’t let them make snowballs a lot. Their gloves will get wet and they will need to keep their hands warm some other way. Staying dry is most important in 0-20 degree temperatures.

2. Don’t let kids play on iced over creeks. One wet foot is going to end your trip. Imagine being 3 hours in and your son gets his boots soaked. You’ll have to dry his boots over a fire, or give him some extra shoes that you brought or give him your socks and carry him. All these options aren’t worth your time and energy. You will have to step on ice to cross creeks if you hike this trail in the winter so you need to lead and you as a parent need to decide what path across the ice your family should take to avoid any accidents.

3. Tell kids not to cross anything unless you are with them. Many times we approached a creek only to see half our kids already on the other side. The creeks get bigger the further into the hike you go. Some requires makeshift bridges to cross safely!! Make them wait! This is so important. One wrong step. Fun is over and so is your trip. One waterway was fast flowing and deep and a small kid could easily fall in and get sucked under the ice. That’s when I made a bridge .

4. If they are big enough have kids bring backpacks for extra items like socks, gloves, water and food. Multiple times I ended up carrying their stuff because they were hot and it would have been so much easier had they each had a backpack (minus the 2 year old). Plus backup items can save your trip and trying to fit everything in one backpack may mean you end up not bringing something. Thank goodness I had an extra pair of my gloves that my son was able to use after soaking his playing in the snow.

5. Give your kids whistles. I gave everyone a whistle in case we got separated. At one point we discovered my sons hat was missing. I back tract but had no luck finding it. Speed walking ahead and blowing my whistle ever 5-10 seconds allowed me to know when I was catching up to my family. Much better in an emergency situation than yelling! They could collectively whistle back and it brought piece to hear them.

18 hours ago

6. Start the hike early and pack a lunch. Try to start by 8am and plan to take a break for lunch half way through. We had 4 water bottles and no food for 7 people and 6 1/2 of hiking. Apart from having more daylight, having a decent lunch would have greatly affected our situation. But instead we felt the pressure of starvation and exhaustion. The big kids were okay but it was too scary with a 2 year old. Again, problem solved if you just pack a lunch and had more time to get back. Multiple people with backpacks will make bringing food possible . If you started by 8am in 3-4 hours (by noon) you would be half way done if you hiked casually. That would give you 6 hours of daylight to eat and hike back to the car. And you could actually enjoy it!!

7. Consider bringing a machete. I had one and had to use it to make a safe passage across a high flowing part of the river/creek. I could have searched for stuff already down but it saved time and gave me the piece of mind knowing I had protection and the ability to gather things in the event that I needed to start a fire or build a shelter for some reason.

8. Plan to carry your 2-4 year olds. There’s no way my 2 year old who could barely walk in her snow boots could make this entire hike. Have some way of harnessing your child to you for hiking. An actual harness is best but if you have to you can always put your child’s legs through your back pack arms and carry them on your chest or your back. Just have some cordage to tie the back pack straps together so that the straps don’t slide off and you do t have to strain to hold your backpack on like I did!!!

So these are some of the most important things to do for safety and planning. One other thing you can do is to plan to hike for a certain amount of TIME and turn around knowing you only have the same amount of time to get back. Whatever you do though plan to be back by 5pm. In January between 5-6 it started to get dark. You do not want to be stuck in the woods with your family while it’s dark and freezing cold. We did not have cellphone reception (ATT). We could have died if that happened. Which reminds me, bring head lamps just Incase and be prepared to make fire and shelter if you need to. Near the waterfalls there are giant boulders you could Shelter up against and make a fire in front of if you had to. If you start early though you shouldn’t have to worry about shelter or fire.

The truth is my experience started out great but ended on a dangerous note. We all loved it and hated it at the same time. If you take my advice though and plan accordingly you and your family could have a wonderful experience hiking in the winter outdoors. We loved it but I never want to fear for my two year old like that again. And I don’t want that for you either. So you dont have to rule out a winter hike, just take my advice and you will have fun. I’m planning on doing it again but with more time , backpacks with extra gear and food.

Planning to hike the Boone Fork Trail in the winter with your family and want to know more? You can email me at billy.james.bright@gmail.com

nice hike. no good views. went right to start up trace ridge finished on fletcher creek and reservoir road to get 8.5 miles. not to difficult but rough and rocky

Great meadow views but too much traffic noise

21 hours ago

Great hike. Not extreme whatsoever, but there were some spots that required careful and steady footing. Only one spot with a large felled tree you have to climb over. Would definitely recommend!

a beautiful view at the top! would say it's a difficult hike, but doable.

a cool waterfall! the trail to get there isn't my favorite (it's all gravel roads), but the view at the end is worth it. passing lake julia and fawn lake is also nice.

Load More