Explore Hiking in
Western North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, national forests and scenic peaks—Western NC is full of truly stunning natural areas to explore. Here, you can discover crystal clear and cool mountain streams, scenic lookout points perched thousands of feet above the ground, and thundering waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. With so many breathtaking sights, Western NC brings in visitors from all over the country—and even the world. One of the best ways to see it all? The many hiking trails that meander through the parks and over the creeks.
Use this page as your guide to hiking in the Western North Carolina area, from the top trails to the best shops for gear. Looking to make a move or pay a visit to the area? Explore a few of the other resources we have to offer, and give us a call to get started!
Top Hiking Trails around Western NC
Hickory Nut Falls Trail
A shorter and milder trail, the Hickory Nut Falls Trail stretches for just 3/4 of a mile but leads to one of the most scenic waterfalls in the area. The 404-foot waterfall and surrounding hardwood forest was even used as the setting for the movie Last of the Mohicans! If you're looking for a quick and easy hike that still offers stunning views, this is a great choice.
Linville Falls, Plunge Basin
Another relatively short trail, the Plunge Basin section of Linville Falls is around 1.8 miles round trip, but the terrain has a few steep climbs that make it moderately difficult. The hike winds through hardwood forests, gorges, and cliffs, until it eventually reaches the basin at the bottom of the waterfall. While you can't swim near the waterfall, the deep blue pool will have you ready to find the nearest swimming hole—which you'll find plenty of in Linville Falls.
Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail
A 2.5 mile loop trail, the Crabtree Falls Trail is moderate in difficulty due to steep climbs and patches of rocky terrain, but offers views of the stunning 60-foot waterfall and the stream that it feeds into. If you're looking for a hike that'll get your heart rate up and make for a good photo op, Crabtree Falls is a fantastic option.
Panthertown Valley Tour
The longest and toughest hike on the list and a favorite in the area, the Panthertown Valley Tour hike stretches anywhere from 8 – 10 miles round-trip. Along the way, you'll meander through trickling streams, across scenic footbridges, and through dense hardwood forests, even hitting several waterfalls as you make the trek. While the hike is more difficult, the streams along the way offer plenty of places to cool off.
Weed Patch Mountain Trail
A brand new trail that offers 8.6 miles of opportunity for hikers, bikers, and climbers in the backcountry, the Weed Patch Mountain Trail in Buffalo Creek Park winds through scenic mountainous terrain and forested areas. Along the way, you can expect views of cool, serene mountain streams, towering trees, and stunning rock formations. The path is a little strenuous, so it's recommended for hikers and bikers with some experience.
Need Some Hiking Gear?
With so many trails to choose from, you're going to get a lot of use out of your gear—and you may even need to add to your collection. From tents to boots to fishing poles, here are a few of our favorite local gear shops.
Our Top Picks
Frugal Backpacker takes advantage of their connections to provide great deals on top outdoor brands. From boots to poles to sandals to snacks, you'll find everything here—and at a great price.
A full-service outdoor outfitter, Black Dome has everything you'll need for an unforgettable hike. Plus, they recently added a bar on-location, so you can enjoy a refreshing pint after you shop!
Footsloogers has been around since the 1970s and has two locations in Western NC. They are huge proponents of local causes and sustainability and can answer any and all of your questions about the area.
Explore the Great Outdoors in Western NC
Western NC is full of beautiful places to explore, unique communities, and stunning homes. Whether you're buying, selling, renting, or investing around the Western North Carolina area, our team is here to help. Take a look at our resources, and give us a call when you're ready to get started.