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

Favorite easy summit in the area, especially at sunset.

Very steep but short hike up to some great views. Starts at a visitors center parking lot so a little more crowded than other trails but worth it. The Mountain to Sea Trail also joins up here so you can add some distance by following their white blazed trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Worth the view! Smells like Christmas going up

hiking
10 days ago

This hike is a nice short hike but it is straight up

My husband, dog, and I did this 1.5 times yesterday (we came back a second time after the second hike we attempted had no parking near it). It has ample parking and restrooms due to the visitor center/ranger station at trailhead. We really enjoyed this hike - but will warn you, it is a workout, as most of the hike is an uphill climb.

One of the top five in the park. Many wonderful old trees and other surprises along the trail. Water shoes are useful for Caldwell Fork Trail (5 crossings).

The Boogerman Trail part of this is nothing short of a delicious journey through true old growth forest. The part of this loop that's the Caldwell Fork Trail requires either preparation for creek crossings or a sense of adventure, or perhaps both. If you love the woods and don't mind getting wet, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED hike.

This trail can be done from either direction - starting at Cataloochee Road or Balsam Mountain Road. I started at Cataloochee. Going this way, the first part takes you 1.6 miles on I believe Pretty Hollow Gap trail before it connects to Palmer Creek Trail. This first part is quite a nice walk in the woods next to the creek. From there you head up the ridge - an unspectacular climb up out of the valley. There's a nice walk along the ridge top in a nice rhododendron tunnel the last half mile to mile before reaching Balsam mountain road. The allure of this trail and why I'd call 3 stars versus 2 would be having it nearly entirely to yourself.

Nice little hike. Pretty steep to start, but worth it at the top. Beautiful views. My 8 & 11 year old completed this with us easily.

Good hike. The kids enjoyed it. Only drawback is the portion that is also available to horses. They make the trail muddy.

Beautiful hike.

Did not seem very hard to us, a little steep but easily manageable. Perfect hike to a great view, total time there was 45 minutes.

Beautiful view...well worth the hike

hiking
16 days ago

Great morning hike. My 5 and 3 year olds could do it fine and loved it!

hiking
17 days ago

My partner and I hiked this trail today. It took approximately 4 hours for the entire loop. There were several creek crossings which slowed us down since we changed in and out of hiking shoes/sandals once we hit the creek crossings (there were 5 of these). The trail is in great shape and clean. We only saw two other couples so we essentially had it to ourselves. There was lots of shade, but no vistas other than the gorgeous forest and creeks. No fallen trees are blocking the path, probably the forest service has been out recently to take care of the downed trees mentioned in previous reviews. This is an excellent trail for a hot summer day when you want to be in the shade, but it'd be challenging in the colder months unless you bring waders. There doesn't appear to be any (established) campsites from what I could tell, although it could be done with some creativity (but not sure if allowed in this part of the park).

Beautiful day to hike! lots of butterfly, wildflowers blooming, mountain laural looking spectacular. Hiking along the river is just sublime. A great way to get away from the humidity as well as the hustle & bustle of everyday living. This is my happy place! Great trail!

Great trail! Went to the top then to the plane crash. Trail to the plane crash was a little rough but totally worth it!

Did 2/3 of the trail going clockwise before reversing the route to avoid the high water crossings so I ended up going about ten miles by the time I got back to the campground. After talking to another hiker who I passed when I turned around (who did the full loop and wading through four water crossings), we ended up taking the same amount of time. This hike was done in April 2018. Nice adventure.

Wide and flat trail, although you'll feel the constant gradual climb to the falls and beyond. Arrived just before noon and got the last of 20 or so parking spots. I think the parking area is shared with campers. No entrance fee and there are restrooms at the trailhead. Midnight Hole (wading area) is 1.5 miles up the trail and the falls appear at the 2 mile point. .2 miles up from the falls is a bridge that takes you to the other side of the creek, and we saw folks in the water there as well. The trail continues for another 3 miles where it meets Swallow Fork Trail and Campsite 37. A perfect trail for all ages.

Definitely recommend this hike. Beautiful drive to the trailhead and not too difficult to Waterrock Knob. There is a unofficial trail from Waterrock Knob to Browning Knob called the Balsam Traverse. Very Beautiful ridgeline hike but dont attempt unless your an experienced hiker. Also easy to get lost so look for the blazes on the trees if you do this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great loop, started thunder storming about 2/3 of the way through. Going clockwise the the trail climbs a decent bit before coming down and remaining level. Had to ford the creek 7 times, once by choice because the bridge looked more dangerous. Plan to go on a dry day after a couple more dry days or the water will be quick and high. My only complaint is a lack of viewing spots, you're in dense trees the entire time.

Loved it. Went 3 times.

Wonderful views! A great short, little hike. The uphill is definitely a little challenging, but once you get to the top, it's worth it! Towards the top it becomes a little rocky with some really big steps, so take your time and wear good hiking shoes. My little dog enjoyed the walk too, but he was more excited for the downhill part. We went on a rainy day and got to see fog and rain on the other mountain tops, it was mesmerizing!

Was a fun hike. Plane is easy to find. Follow the trail to the left of the big steps leading to waterrock knob. Follow the yellow dots on the trees to the top of the mountain top. You will know it when you reach it. It’s the highest point. Take a trail from the top to the left down about 100 yards. There lies the plane !!

on Baxter Creek Trail

1 month ago

This is my favorite climb in the GSMNP. It's tough and then when you get to the top you have to hike back down a hundred feet or more for water.

walking
1 month ago

View from the top equal too or surpasses Max Patch. Fewer people. (None when I was there.) Beautiful wild flowers. Saw a bear on the way up. Easy walk though uphill.

Very steep trail, but so beautiful. Our dog loved it as well... would definitely hike this again.

Beautiful waterfall and gorgeous swimming hole. The walk will take a while, especially if you have little ones, but is totally worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! Stroll along the river in the lush green forest. Went for a Sunday hike in June. Went about 1/2 way due to time constraints but will definitely be back!

So it’s extremely beautiful and yes the hike uphill is challenging but well worth it. I also ventured out a couple of miles looking for that plane that’s crashed but I had no luck finding it but I caught the best views along the way. I wouldn’t call the trail up to mount Lowry I think it’s called easy but it’s doable. Lol. I am now resting for the rest of the day after trying to find that plane idk if I’d even recommend going to look for it.

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