Explore the most popular State Parks 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.

cool chainsaw art on giant fallen tree on graylyn trail about 1 mile from parking lot

It is a very nice beautiful day place to take a walk. Love the wooded area! Great park.

Whoopsie...wrong trail :) Go the extra mile for the full loop. It’s worth it!

hiking
19 hours ago

Love this trail. When I went I only saw three or four other people along the entire trail. You can also connect to the Appalachian Trail and hike a lot farther. Makes for a great day all in all. Best of all, its dog friendly. Can't wait to go back when the rhododendrons are blooming!

hiking
1 day ago

TL;DR: Great hike, amazing views.
This was a fantastic hike! As a previous reviewer noted, the entire loop trail is now open. On that note, it is awe-inspiring to see the damage done by powerful storms from last October, you can really see the trail of damage where trees have been snapped all over the place.
I started at the upper parking lot, and started the loop headed to the left, away from the summit. You quickly come up on the falls, and it is quite beautiful against a distant mountain backdrop. There are a lot of stairs in this area for a quick descent into the woods, and the trail follows a stream for a good bit. I took a detour in this area to go down the Lower and Middle Falls Trail (out and back) which was nice, but there are two stream crossings that require rock hopping to get across, and I did get my feet wet! Back on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, I quickly reached the Hutchinson Homestead area, which has great views of Stone Mountain and its own little trail. Looked like there was an area for rock climbing at the base of Stone Mountain that could be accessed from the open field area here. From here, I decided to branch out and make an extra loop by taking the Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock Trails, and boy am I glad I did! Both Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock offer tremendous views of the surrounding mountains, and were high points on my trip. Wolf Rock trail rejoins Stone Mountain Loop trail and quickly descends back towards the lower parking lot area, before turning towards the summit. From there it was a fairly quick but strenuous hike up to the summit, with seemingly endless stairs and a few steep rock faces. But you are rewarded with an enormous area of bare rock with near 180 degree views of the mountains around you. It's a great place to sit or lie down on the rock, have a snack, and take it all in. Cedar Rock can be seen from here as well. It turned out this first area, though impressive, wasn't the actual summit. A short hike and some additional steps later, and I was at the actual summit, a similarly impressive setting. From there the trail slowly meanders back down, passing through a few more open rock areas with neat views.
Adding on the Falls, Cedar Rock, and Wolf Rock trails increased the loop length by about three miles, but it was definitely worth it. There were more mucky, muddy areas along this trail than most trails I've been on in State Parks, but not too bad. My only trouble was that I was recording the hike with the AllTrails app, and there was no service at all which seemed to effect the tracking accuracy of the recording.

Nice trail. Turtles on logs in river. Mileage does not include fanny ford extension shown on red trail map.
Easy to leave off with short connector trail. Quite a bit up and down. Rough terrain. Suggest older hiker like me (73) use sticks and good hiking boots.

Really enjoy this short trail, the portion that actually runs underneath the Linn Cove Viaduct is awesome! Highly recommend this trail.

Sunny and 75 on a mid April Wednesday. I think everyone with dogs had the same idea. Nice trail and not to difficult. I wasn't aware there would be that many stream crossings but my Oboz B-Dry hiking shoes did the trick. Will definitely do it again. Maybe come at it from the Rich Mountain trail.

trail running
2 days ago

Loved it! This really felt more like a playground than a trail. I had loads of fun scrambling along the rocks on the bank, running up the hill near the entrance multiple times bc I missed the very obvious turn off to where I parked, and finding different ways to land in the stream (note: I highly recommended using the cheater stick that someone kindly left by the tree crossing...especially helpful if your legs get shakey on the return trip). I lost my way multiple times though each was totally worthwhile. It’s all well marked, so if I’d been paying attention rather than playing, there wouldn’t have been any reason to double back or run in circles.

Good trail - truly moderate, light traffic on a Tuesday afternoon.

My favorite for a nice stroll around the lake- today was a little disappointing since part of the trail was submerged due to the heavy rains last night. It is well taken care of by the city and there’s lots of things to do!!

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful secluded short trail by the river! Lots of beautiful plants and interesting insects along the way!

The entire loop trail is open.

mountain biking
4 days ago

For a beginner mountain biker, The tree roots are terrible and too much foot traffic

backpacking
4 days ago

crushed 5 miles

hiking
5 days ago

We knew to follow the blue triangles but still got turned around. There is a sign before the incline at the end and after reading it it seemed to me to take what ended up being the turn that takes you up the road to the top. It was too late to turn back. Probably my fault but as a newbie to hiking I feel the signs could have been more clear as to where to go. The viewing area for the best photo is not very big, a small platform. It would have been nice to have more of them or a bigger one. Going down the mountain was tough. I rolled on the small gravel a couple of times as they were very pebbly.

hiking
5 days ago

What a great hike with my brother! We started from Black Mountain Campground around 9:30 and found ourselves up near the summit at Commissary Primitive Campgrounds around 12 or so. Unpacked some heavy gear and was up to the summit by 1:30 or so. Lots of natural springs, several creek crossings. Lots of switchbacks and steps. We certainly had to catch our breath and rest the legs a couple of times! The last half mile is an amazing micro-climate spruce and fraiser fir forest thats blanketed with moss and awesome boulders. It’s a strenuous hike that you follow the well blazed blue diamonds to the top. Keep pushing because it’s worth it at the end! Bring plenty of water and a protein snack because those muscles will be burning for some extra juice and hydration. A couple of springs along the way to top off water and several views on the way up. Like nothing we’ve seen before hiking in NC. Certainly a one of a kind atmosphere/terrain especially near the top.

backpacking
5 days ago

This trail is pretty brutal but it serves its purpose to get you to the crest. It's relentlessly uphill and steep with few breaks. I would not recommend this trail unless you're attempting to get to the crest to either do a loop around and come back down Buncomb Horse Trail or doing a point to point. Doing an out and back of this trail would be pretty boring since there are only 2-3 overlooks that aren't as good as other trails. If you're carrying backpacks, this trail will make you question your life choices and make you wish you splurged for lighter gear.

Very pretty waterfalls. Highly recommend it. I would say this trail is moderate and strenuous going back up.

hiking
5 days ago

Loved this trail!!!!. Very pretty but also great workout. I would say is moderate with a few challenging spots. I had waterproof hiking boots so highly recommend you wear them.

Great trail. First and last 4 miles were most difficult.

hiking
6 days ago

Short trail around a campground, not much to see. Although connects to a couple bigger trails with cooler things along the trail.

Great hike, 360 views for most of the trail. A must hit for SB6k.

Great trail and perfect length and challenge for a nearby trail. Beautiful view of the lake at the lookout point.

I was surprised by how tired I got on this trail. The distance made me expect it to be rather easy but the ups and downs left me winded. It’s not an easy trail but it isn’t too long so you can get it done in about an hour.

This was a great trip. We did it backwards as well and went up Colbert Creek the first day, camped at Deep Gap, went to the Mt. Mitchell Summit and then to Maple Camp the second day and down Buncombe Horse Trail the third day.

The first day up Colbert Creek took about 4 hours to get to Deep Gap. Only encountered one other person on the trail who was coming down. Water is scarce until you get near the top. IF YOU ARE CAMPING ON THE CREST, FILL UP EVERY BIT OF WATER YOU CAN AT THE CREEK 0.5-.75 miles from the top. There is a decently flowing stream but once you reach the crest, there is no water all the way to Mt. Mitchell summit that we saw, and they don't have the water turned on at the summit until May. We camped in a little open area that overlooks both sides of the mountain. It was awesome to see the sunset and sunrise without moving, but you pay for it with insane amounts of wind. We thought our two person dome tent was going to collapse, but thankfully it held strong.

The next morning we headed towards Mt. Mitchell summit. The crest trail has some really cool forest areas as well as a couple places where you can see for miles on both sides. It is still a half day of climbing up hill most of the way so it can get a bit tiring after a while, but the views are worth it. After getting to Mt. Mitchell we deviated a bit from this exact hike and went down the Old Mt. Mitchell Trail then intersected with the Camp Alice trail. The park ranger told us there was a definite water source at the end of the Camp Alice connector. There was a decent flowing stream there and we filled up for the rest of the day. Going towards Maple Camp was a much easier hike. Was a bit soggy in places but overall a welcome change of mostly flat and grassy. We camped the second night at Maple Camp. The views are AMAZING. Once again it was crazy windy but worth it.

The third day was an easy hike down the rest of the Buncombe Horse Trail and back to the Colbert creek trail head where we started. This hike was a great trip with amazing views after the first day. In order to camp at the best places, make sure to have a tent that can handle extreme wind gusts!

mountain biking
7 days ago

Love this trail.

A very short trail straight to the top of round bald. Very easy for children! Has a magnificent view once you summit. Bathrooms Are also easily accessible.

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.

Load More