North Carolina Hiking & Running Trails: Moderate

Adventure ahead! These hikes and runs climb some moderate elevations and span middle distances, trailing to some of western North Carolina’s most beautiful, scenic landscapes.

 
Linville Falls Trail: hiking Linville Gorge waterfalls near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls Trail at Linville Gorge

Hike to epic views of Linville Gorge’s enormous waterfalls on this Linville Falls Trail two miler. It’s north of Asheville, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway – and easily one of North Carolina’s best waterfall hikes.

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Hike to Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain on the Art Loeb Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain loop: hiking the Art Loeb & Ivestor Gap Trails

Hike this double-summit, ultra-scenic five mile loop on the Art Loeb and Ivestor Gap trails, summiting Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain. It’s a sun-drenched, blueberry and blackberry-filled adventure over two bald mountains to some incredible views.

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Hawksbill Trail at Linville Gorge: hiking Hawksbill Mountain

Hawksbill Mountain Trail at Linville Gorge

Hike the Hawksbill Trail at Linville Gorge in western NC, scaling the mountain’s craggy, jagged summit to outstanding mountaintop views and spectacular sunrises.

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Hike the Catawba Falls Trail to beautiful waterfalls on the Catawba River east of Asheville

Catawba Falls Trail

Hike the Catawba Falls Trail east of Asheville, trekking through a mossy, shady forest valley to a beautiful series of waterfalls on the Catawba River.

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Rough Ridge: hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain

Rough Ridge: hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain

Hike the Tanawha Trail to Rough Ridge, a rocky, angular precipice that offers exceptional summit views in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch Mountain to stunning views and endless fields of wildflowers

Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail

Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch, one of North Carolina’s most popular AT hikes, on a grassy, bald mountain that’s covered in wildflowers. Catch a gorgeous sunrise, sunset or afternoon picnic on this moderate two mile loop with stunning 360-degree views and seemingly endless sunshine.

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Hike the Graveyard Fields Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Graveyard Fields Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hiking

Hike the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway to stunning waterfalls, through fields of wildflowers, blackberries and wild blueberries, and to beautiful Pisgah National Forest views.

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Hike the Plunge Basin Trail to Linville Falls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail

Hike the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail to stunning waterfall views, trekking to the base of the falls on the floor of Linville Gorge. It’s one of the undisputedly best, most beautiful waterfall trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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Hike the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain, climbing to gorgeous views at Roan High Bluff

Roan High Bluff: hiking the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain

Hike the Cloudland Trail at Roan Mountain to two overlooks at Roan High Bluff, catching stunning summit views and trailing through a lush, high-elevation forest.

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Hike the Whiteside Mountain Trail near Highlands, NC to exceptional summit views

Whiteside Mountain Trail

Hike Whiteside Mountain near Highlands, NC, climbing to exceptional summit views from the mountain’s sheer, 750-foot, towering rock walls.

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Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail from Devil's Courthouse to Black Balsam Knob near Asheville, NC

Devils Courthouse: hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail to Black Balsam Knob

Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail to stunning vistas, climbing to lofty views at Devil’s Courthouse and above the Blue Ridge Parkway before hiking to Black Balsam Knob.

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Crabtree Falls, North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hiking

Crabtree Falls, North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hiking

Hike the Crabtree Falls Trail to one of the most stunning waterfalls off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC.

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Hike the Pickens Nose Trail to stunning summit views near Franklin, NC

Pickens Nose Trail

Hike through a dense, beautiful rhododendron forest to exceptional views from the rocky summit of Pickens Nose near Franklin, NC.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail in Hot Springs, NC to Lovers Leap on the French Broad River

Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, NC: hiking to Lovers Leap

Hike the Appalachian Trail through Hot Springs, North Carolina, on the banks of the wide French Broad River, climbing to beautiful views from Lovers Leap.

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Roan Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald

Roan Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald

Hike the Appalachian Trail over the rolling Roan Highlands, hiking from Carvers Gap to grassy, wildflower-covered fields and exceptional 360-degree summit views at Round Bald, Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge Bald.

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Linville Falls in Winter: hiking the Linville Falls & Plunge Basin Trails

Linville Falls in winter: hiking the Linville Falls & Plunge Basin Trails

Hike from the winter-access trailhead at Linville Gorge, catching views of the tumbling Linville Falls waterfall from multiple overlooks, and plunging to the base of the gorge on the Plunge Basin Trail.

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Wesser Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Tellico Gap

Wesser Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Tellico Gap

Hike to the Wesser Bald fire tower on the Appalachian Trail from Tellico Gap, climbing to exceptionally beautiful panoramic views near Franklin, NC.

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Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap in NC

Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail via Wayah Gap

Hike the Appalachian Trail near Franklin, NC to the grassy summit of Siler Bald, and grab some exceptional, 360-degree views.

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Hike the Appalachian Trail in Winter at Roan Mountain

Roan Mountain: winter hike on the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Highlands

Stunning year-round, the Roan Highlands are exceptionally beautiful during a Winter sunrise. Hike the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap to Round Bald, Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge for nearly continuous, exceptional wintertime views.

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Hike DuPont State Forest to visit three spectacular waterfalls: Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls

DuPont State Forest waterfalls: Three Falls Hike (Triple Falls, High Falls & Hooker Falls)

Hike to five popular, gorgeous DuPont State Forest waterfalls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, and three waterfalls at Triple Falls, on a 4.5 mile, ultra-scenic hike on the Little River.

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Hike the Deep Gap Trail from Mount Mitchell to Mount Craig and Big Tom Mountain

Mount Mitchell: hiking to Mount Craig on the Deep Gap Trail (aka the Black Mountain Crest Trail)

Hike the Deep Gap Trail at Mount Mitchell State Park, trekking a ridgeline to beautiful views at Mount Craig, the second highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and the neighboring Big Tom Mountain.

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Hike this loop trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Graveyard Fields waterfalls and views from Graveyard Ridge

Graveyard Ridge and Graveyard Fields Loop: hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike a moderate 6-miler to the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields waterfalls just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and ascend Graveyard Ridge to trek through fields of wildflowers, blueberries and blackberries and catch some stunning views.

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Hike the Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam Knob's grassy, wildflower-covered summit near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Black Balsam Knob: hiking the Art Loeb Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Trek this ultra-popular Blue Ridge Parkway hike to exceptional summit views from Black Balsam Knob, a bald wildflower-covered mountain on the Art Loeb Trail.

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Hike the Big Rock Trail to the Cedar Rock Mountain summit at DuPont State Forest

Cedar Rock Mountain: hiking the Big Rock Trail at DuPont State Forest

Dupont State Recreational Forest is well-loved for its waterfalls, but offers some excellent mountaintop trails, too. Hike the Big Rock Trail to the moss and rock-covered summit of Cedar Rock Mountain to score some beautiful DuPont views.

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Hike the Sam Knob Trail to stunning views near the Blue Ridge Parkway at Black Balsam Knob

Sam Knob Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway hiking to stunning summit views

Hike the Sam Knob Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway, catching sweeping views from the Sam Knob summit and hiking through a wide, wildflower-filled meadow.

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Devil’s Courthouse Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway hiking near Asheville

Devil’s Courthouse Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway hiking near Asheville

Hike the Devil’s Courthouse Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway to stunning mountaintop views from this jagged, rocky, towering mountain with sinister-looking features.

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Hike the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville

Fryingpan Mountain Tower: Blue Ridge Parkway hiking near Mt Pisgah

Hike to stunning summit views from a historic steel fire tower just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mt Pisgah on the 1.4 mile (roundtrip) Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail.

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Hike to Rainbow Falls in NC near Gorges State Park

Rainbow Falls NC: Hiking at Gorges State Park

Hike to a trio of beautiful waterfalls near Gorges State Park including the towering Rainbow Falls, a stunning 150-foot single-drop waterfall that tumbles into a wildflower-filled forest.

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