Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

2 hours ago

Beautiful hike! Little hump and Big hump were tough but not impossible. Springs were easily marked at Overmountain Shelter, between little hump and big hump, and at Doll Flats (11ish mi).

Nice trail with some pretty views. Moderately challenging with one pretty steep uphill on the white loop. Make it longer by doing the blue offshoot trail near the stream.

Loved seeing the bald eagles nest! Went back with binoculars and saw a baby in the nest. So neat. The turtles sunning in the Yadkin was neat. Easy to do.

An easy hike through the woods.

No traffic past the waterfalls. An easy hike until the end if you start at Park. Coming back up those steps challenges you.

We drove up and there were trees across the road, so we had to walk the last 1/2 mile to the parking area. Some corrections to the description. From the parking area to the summit is 2 miles exactly. I measured it with a Garmin Hikers MAP75 GPS, and using MAPMYRUN on my Iphone. They both show the same distance, going up, and then again coming down. The "Trail" is a no longer used road. You can't not follow it. The steepest section is hard, very steep, and very washed from rains. I went just after Florewnce, but they really didn't get that much rain.There are 2, maybe 2 waterfalls that are quite nice. Good looking water if you are prepared for drinking that. I brought my 5 month old shepherd, he had a ball !! Though he is still skittish of everything black. The view from the top was about 5ft in front of my face.... due to the fog. Not the best day to climb a open top mountain, but it was still fun. It took this old man an hour and 10minutes to get to the top, and 50minutes to get back down. It is much harder on the knees coming down, and the rocks tend to move when you step on them going down, not up. Its a great workout, I'll be back when I'm a little younger ! Video of the hike https://www.youtube.com/ricks41at

Great trail! River pools to swim in and multiple river crossings. One of our favorites!

We had intended to do the raiders camp portion but decided to stay on harpers creek to connect with yellow buck mainly because of the amount of creek crossings. Harpers creek has 8+ significant creek crossings. Not a hop and a skip. More like “time to break the water shoes...again...” I love playing in the water and a major crossing here and there is fine, but hiking a quarter mile and changing shoes again and again gets old fast. Yellow buck kicked our butts! Granted everything was still in a state of disarray due to hurricane Florence the week prior, the trail had been cut into deeply by the water from the storm. Taking 2-3’ high steps on an already intense incline was simply not enjoyable. Personally I’d stick with hiking around harpers creek. Plenty of views and TONS of great camping sites.

It took me about 50 minutes to hike up to the summit, I’m not a hiker but I’m a healthy and active person. I went slow but I only stopped a few times for less than a minute each to take pictures and catch my breath. Some parts of the trail were rocky and steep and a little slippery. I started around 7:20am and saw only one couple with their dogs ahead of me. I had the summit all to myself for a few minutes and the view was very nice, although the view from the Buck Springs Gap overlook near the trail entrance was much more spectacular than the one at the summit.

Easy hike for a 360 degree gorgeous view of the Appalachian Mountains. Perfect spot to pitch a tent and watch the sunrise.

1 day ago

was super stoked to hike this trail today
the view from the top made it worth it for sure

*rocks on the trail were a little slippery and muddy but nothing too bad!

Great for kids!!!

1 day ago

Great hike and beautiful seeing the sunrise. Just watch out for your early morning crazies. Went out before sunrise and heard a blood curdling scream. 3 people eventually emerged after the fact and told us they were "screaming at God." As far as I know no human sacrifices were made as we later found no bodies. Either way, mega creepy. Trail itself is beautiful

There’s no trail. Just a road.

Amazing view

Trail is washed out/flooded at 1.5 miles in from the gravel parking lot. Not very scenic and no view -can’t get to Falls Lake because of the high water. Quiet and no traffic tho - perfect if you want to get out and off the high trafficked trails

Beautiful trail. Great views along the ridge line at the top. This is a moderate hike, so prepare to be a little challenged, even though it is short.

2 days ago

My favorite trail to hike year round. Beautiful scenery and well marked

Awesome, awesome hike!! Although the mileage seems low, it is a very strenuous and technical hike. There are lots of ladders, cables, and big rocks that you have to climb up and over using your hands and feet (these were all reasons why I loved this hike, but maybe it's not for everyone!). The grandfather trail is an awesome mix of woods and walking along exposed rock faces which makes for a very dynamic hike and incredible views along the way! When I went (mid-late Sept) the leaves were just starting to change, but I bet in a few weeks (mid October) the colors will be amazing up there. Good hiking shoes with good traction are absolutely necessary - many spots of the trail were very wet/muddy when I hiked it yesterday (partly due to the hurricane, but regardless...) the steep/smooth rock faces can be very dangerous when wet, so the more traction the better. I saw a few people slip pretty bad wearing sneakers. I am a 23 year old in good shape, and a pretty experienced hiker. I hiked all the way to Calloway Peak (stopped for a bit to enjoy the amazing views at McRae peak on my way) and completed the full thing in 4 hours (this included a couple snack/water breaks and picture taking). The men at the gift shop said the hike to Calloway and back is usually completed in 5 hr for the average hiker (3 hr if just going to McRae and back). The $20 entree fee is of course a bummer, but in my opinion very worth it and they do a great job maintaining the trail (the ladders/cables are in great shape). If you are hiking on a weekend (I was there on a Saturday morning) be sure to get there early before they open (9 am) so join the line of cars that will already be forming. The parking lot all the way at the top that you will park at is right below the mile-high swinging bridge, so be sure to check that out once you finish your hike!

Great hike. Bit of a drive to trail head, but worth it. I'm a casual hiker and made it to top in 40 min. Hope to camp up there soon.

Beautiful but heavily trafficked

2 days ago

Easy beautiful trail

I really enjoyed Art Loeb to Black Balsam and Tennett. Just past Tennett there is a grassy meadow valley. From there you follow Flower Gap to continue to Shining Rock. I would have been happy turning around at the cove.
The trail until then was open and airy. Great views. But it far into the Flower Gap portion it was cramped. The trail was narrow and the vegetation was dense. There were a few cool trees along the way.
I wasn’t super impressed with Shining Rock. It was a bunch of giant boulders. You can climb on them if that’s your thing but be careful to come back down the way you care. Surrounding the boulders are those curvy wavy trees/ bushes (not sure what they are called but they look like an enchanted forest) so it’s hard to get your bearings.
Ivestor back is much easier trail wise. A few great views but mostly just trudging back to your car.

Solid climb with nice lookouts and a waterfall.

Absolutely beautiful view at the end! Trail is uphill on the way back as well, but nothing too strenuous! We were lucky enough to see a pair of Peregrine falcons as well while up there. Great place to pack a snack and sit on the rocks while enjoying the scenery.

2 days ago

The views awaiting you at the top are spectacular!!

A great trail for a run. Nice and quiet.

A quick and simple trail to enjoy

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