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.

 
Hike to Black Balsam Knob, catching stunning views from a grassy mountaintop on the Art Loeb Trail near Asheville, NC

Black Balsam Knob on the Art Loeb Trail

Hike to the view-packed Black Balsam Knob summit on the Art Loeb Trail, exploring a grassy, wildflower-covered mountain with 360-degree vistas, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville.

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Hike the Graveyard Fields Loop to beautiful views from Graveyard Ridge and the Graveyard Fields waterfalls in western NC

Graveyard Fields Loop: hiking to waterfalls and views on the Graveyard Ridge Trail

Hike the Graveyard Fields Loop to explore tumbling waterfalls, views from the Graveyard Ridge Trail, and fields of wildflowers, blueberries, and blackberries just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Rough Ridge Trail: hiking the Tanahwha Trail at Grandfather Mountain near Boone, NC

Rough Ridge: hiking the Tanahwha Trail at Grandfather Mountain

Hike the Tanawha Trail at Rough Ridge, a rocky, angular precipice that offers exceptional summit views of Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC.

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Graveyard Fields Trail: top waterfall hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

Graveyard Fields Trail

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

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Hike the Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, NC, exploring the French Broad River and gorgeous views at Lovers Leap

Appalachian Trail: Hot Springs, NC to Lovers Leap

Hike the Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs, North Carolina, climbing to beautiful views from Lovers Leap and exploring the wide, whitewater-filled French Broad River.

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

DuPont State Forest waterfalls hike: three falls (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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Cedar Rock Mountain: hiking the Big Rock Trail at DuPont State Forest in NC

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

Hike to the mossy, rocky summit of Cedar Rock Mountain on the Big Rock Trail, scoring some beautiful summit views into North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreational Forest.

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Hike the Sam Knob Trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western NC

Sam Knob Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Sam Knob Trail, catching sweeping summit views and hiking through a wide, wildflower-filled meadow just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western NC.

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Hike to Rainbow Falls, NC, and visit Turtleback Falls, on the Rainbow Falls Trail in Gorges State Park

Rainbow Falls NC at Gorges State Park

Hike to the towering 150-foot Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls and Drift Falls through a wildflower-filled forest in North Carolina’s Gorges State Park.

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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

Hike the Deep Gap Trail (aka the Black Mountain Crest 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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Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap

Siler Bald: hiking the Appalachian Trail from Wayah Gap

Hike the Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald near Franklin, NC, and score some exceptional, 360-degree views from a sun-drenched, grassy summit.

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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, climbing to exceptionally beautiful panoramic views from Tellico Gap near Franklin, NC.

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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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Roan Mountain: hiking the Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald

Roan Mountain, Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald from Carvers Gap

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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Roan Mountain: winter hike on the Appalachian Trail from Carvers Gap

Roan Mountain: winter hike on the Appalachian Trail

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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Crabtree Falls NC: top waterfall hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Crabtree Falls Trail to one of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville.

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

Pickens Nose Trail

Hike the Pickens Nose Trail through a beautiful rhododendron forest to exceptional views from a craggy summit near the Appalachian Trail and Franklin, NC.

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

Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hike the Fryingpan Mountain Tower Trail to stunning summit views from a historic steel fire tower just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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Whiteside Mountain Trail: top hikes near Highlands, NC

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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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 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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Mountains to Sea Trail: hiking from Devils Courthouse to Black Balsam Knob in Western NC

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

Hike the Mountains to Sea Trail to stunning vistas at Devil’s Courthouse, climbing high above the Blue Ridge Parkway to Black Balsam Knob.

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Devils Courthouse Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Devil’s Courthouse Trail

Hike the Devils Courthouse Trail to exceptional views from the summit of this jagged, rocky, towering mountain. The mountain’s views are easily some of the best off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

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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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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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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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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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Let’s hit the trail, Asheville!   #ashevilletrails

Western North Carolina's beauty is simply stunning. From Asheville's urban biking and running trails to the curvy meanders of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the towering heights of Mount Mitchell to the shady, cool, waterfall-filled valleys of the Pisgah National Forest, there's a whole lot of outdoor beauty to be seen in Western NC.

Snap a selfie from a hike to your favorite mountain summit, a group shot of your favorite hiking buddies, or a morning sunrise from your trail run off the Blue Ridge Parkway... we'd love to see your adventures! Share your photos with us! Tag them #ashevilletrails on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We'll share our favorites, as well as our own favorite shots!