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The Ultimate Guide to the Top 11 Hiking Paths in the Blue Ridge Mountains




Standing as a testament to their name, the Blue Ridge Mountains exude a majestic aura that captivates all who behold them, donning the hues of blue that lend them their identity. These mountains, a true marvel, beckon adventurers to embark on an extraordinary journey through their diverse landscapes, no matter the season. Venturing into the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains becomes an unparalleled experience when you set foot upon the extensive network of pristine hiking trails that weave through the region.


This natural haven offers a spectrum of trails catering to all preferences and abilities, ensuring that every enthusiast finds their perfect path. Whether your heart desires a leisurely stroll amidst nature's embrace or a demanding trek that tests your mettle, the Blue Ridge Mountains are primed to accommodate. Notably, the Blue Ridge Parkway serves as a gateway to numerous trailheads, ensuring convenient access to these breathtaking routes.


Prepare to immerse yourself in the untouched splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains as you traverse these trails. Each step unveils a new facet of their beauty, from the gentle rustle of leaves in the breeze to the awe-inspiring vistas that stretch beyond the horizon. Embrace the opportunity to unravel the secrets these trails hold and forge a connection with nature that only such an expedition can provide.


1. Experience the Beauty of Black Balsam Knob Trails


Embark on an Expedition to the Scenic Summit of Black Balsam Knob via the Art Loeb Trail
Embark on an Expedition to the Scenic Summit of Black Balsam Knob via the Art Loeb Trail

Nestled within the picturesque Pisgah National Forest, Black Balsam Knob beckons as an alluring haven for hiking enthusiasts. Revered for its undulating open peaks and awe-inspiring vistas that stretch across the encompassing expanse of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this destination promises a trekking escapade like no other.


Venturing forth, you'll be greeted with an array of trails catering to all levels of hikers, ensuring a gratifying experience for both the leisurely wanderer and the ardent adventurer. Choose your path wisely as you embark on a journey that suits your desires, whether it's a tranquil saunter through nature's splendor or a rigorous ascent that tests your mettle.


Among the selection of routes, the illustrious Art Loeb Trail and the renowned Mountains-to-Sea Trail stand out, each paving the way to the zenith of Black Balsam Knob. Upon reaching the summit, a breathtaking panorama unfurls before your eyes, rewarding your efforts with sweeping views that encapsulate the very essence of the landscape. It's a moment to savor—the culmination of a trail that weaves through foliage and terrain, leading you to this pinnacle of natural grandeur.



2. Discover the Enchanting Grayson Highlands Trails


Discover the Enchanting Grayson Highlands Trails


Nestled in the heart of Grayson County, Virginia, the Grayson Highlands State Park stands as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, a realm where captivating hiking trails, breathtaking vistas, and a rich tapestry of wildlife converge. Within this pristine sanctuary, a network of trails meanders through an array of landscapes, from tranquil forests to expansive meadows, and along rugged ridges that unveil awe-inspiring panoramas of the encircling mountains and valleys. But this is not the only wonder that adorns the park's landscape; its charm is further elevated by the presence of wild ponies, which gracefully roam amidst the open meadows and traverse the trails, weaving an element of untamed beauty into the already picturesque terrain.


A true jewel among these trails is the renowned Wilson Creek Trail, a pathway that guides explorers to an exquisite waterfall hidden within the natural tapestry. Meanwhile, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area presents intrepid adventurers with an opportunity to feast their eyes upon the regal Mount Rogers, the tallest peak that graces Virginia's expanse. Whether embarking on solitary expeditions or opting for guided tours, each step unveils a chapter of history, geology, and the vibrant wildlife that call this land home.


Beyond the trails, the park beckons visitors with more delights. A scenic drive invites leisurely exploration, weaving through the heart of the park's splendor. Thoughtfully placed picnic areas provide the perfect respite for those seeking to savor the serenity of the surroundings. And for those who wish to extend their communion with nature, a welcoming campground awaits, offering a chance to immerse oneself in the rhythm of the wild.


Grayson Highlands State Park stands as a testament to nature's grandeur, an invitation to embrace the wonders of the outdoors in a realm where trails and tales unfold amidst a backdrop of mountains, meadows, and memories waiting to be etched.



3. Discover the Allure of Old Rag Mountain Loop


Discover the Allure of Old Rag Mountain Loop

Nestled within the captivating expanse of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the Old Rag Mountain Loop beckons to adventurers seeking an unforgettable hiking escapade. This renowned trail complex has established itself as a beloved destination, celebrated not only for its natural grandeur but also for the exhilarating challenge it presents to those who dare to tread its paths.


At the heart of this wilderness oasis lies the formidable Old Rag Mountain, a pinnacle of rugged beauty that has captured the imagination of outdoor enthusiasts for generations. Renowned for its testing trails and breathtaking panoramas, Old Rag Mountain promises an experience like no other. As you ascend, the trail unveils an ever-changing canvas of vistas, each a masterpiece composed of undulating wilderness and the rolling Shenandoah Valley.


Conquering the summit of Old Rag Mountain is no ordinary feat – it's a triumphant journey that requires both determination and skill. The trail, spanning a nine-mile loop, is heralded as one of the most challenging in the entire state. As you navigate its twists and turns, you'll find yourself negotiating over rocky outcrops and boulders, an engaging dance with the landscape that demands both physical prowess and mental fortitude.


Despite its demanding nature, Old Rag Mountain casts an irresistible allure upon hikers, rock climbers, and nature enthusiasts alike. The attraction lies not only in the trail's invigorating difficulties but also in the pure, unspoiled beauty that graces its every corner. From the verdant valleys to the sweeping vistas atop the summit, every step offers a glimpse into the majesty of the natural world.


Whether you're a seasoned hiker seeking an epic challenge or a nature lover craving a rendezvous with awe-inspiring scenery, the Old Rag Mountain Loop is an experience that promises to leave an indelible mark on your soul. Embark on this journey, where the untamed spirit of the Blue Ridge Mountains welcomes you to embrace the thrill of adventure and the serenity of the great outdoors.



4. Embark on an Adventurous Journey Along the Appalachian Trail




Traversing the picturesque expanse of North Carolina, the legendary Appalachian Trail weaves its way through the very essence of the Southern Appalachians, presenting a panorama of awe-inspiring vistas and a tapestry of diverse landscapes that are sure to leave an indelible mark on every hiker's memory.


This trail serves as a conduit to a world of natural wonders, allowing intrepid adventurers to immerse themselves in the undulating beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, where rolling hills paint a serene backdrop and lush forests envelop the path in a vibrant tapestry of greens. The journey doesn't stop there – the trail takes an audacious turn as it delves into the rugged embrace of the Nantahala National Forest, unveiling a terrain that tests the mettle of even the most seasoned hikers.


But it's not just about the landscape – it's about the symphony of water and stone that whispers through the woods. Along this path, hikers are treated to a spectacle of cascading waterfalls that seem to defy gravity, their crystal-clear waters tumbling and sparkling as they dance downward, creating a melody of nature that resonates deep within the soul. And for those moments of quiet reflection, there are the dramatic scenic overlooks that punctuate the trail, inviting hikers to pause and witness the world from a vantage point that feels almost ethereal.


A journey through the Appalachian Trail is a rendezvous with the wild. As you traverse its hallowed path, you may find yourself sharing a silent moment with a deer that pauses to meet your gaze, or marveling at the playful antics of a squirrel that dashes across the trail. This is a place where the boundaries between humanity and the natural world blur, where encounters with unique and mesmerizing wildlife become the norm, a reminder that you are a guest in their realm.


Stretching across a distance of approximately 100 miles, this section of the Appalachian Trail isn't for the faint of heart. It beckons to those who crave a challenge, who yearn for a transformative experience that demands both physical endurance and mental fortitude. The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina isn't merely a hike; it's an odyssey through the very essence of nature's artistry, a test of your limits, and a reward beyond measure for those who dare to heed the call of the wild.


Embark on an Adventurous Journey Along the Appalachian Trail


5. Introducing the Green Knob Trail


Green Knob Trail - Julian Price Park

Nestled within the scenic embrace of Julian Price Park, the Green Knob Trail beckons adventurers to immerse themselves in nature's embrace. Embarking from the Sim’s Pond Parking Area at milepost 295.9, this enchanting trail unveils a captivating 2.3-mile loop that traces the meandering course of Sim’s Creek, leading intrepid hikers through the heart of a verdant and densely wooded forest.


Upon ascending to the trail's zenith, a splendid reward awaits: an awe-inspiring vista that stretches to encompass both the glistening expanse of Price Lake and the majestic silhouette of Grandfather Mountain. While Green Knob Trail might not unveil the sweeping panoramic views synonymous with other routes, its allure lies in the tranquility and seclusion it offers – an oasis of calm where weary souls can elude the clamor of crowds often drawn to the Blue Ridge Mountains.


The trail's terrain, relatively level and accommodating, renders it an inviting playground for not just hikers, but also trail runners seeking an invigorating challenge. The rhythmic cadence of footsteps and the symphony of rustling leaves create a harmonious soundtrack, adding to the symphony of nature that envelops every step along the way.


Step onto the Green Knob Trail and find solace in the embrace of ancient trees, the babbling companionship of Sim’s Creek, and the whispered secrets of the forest. This trail is a testament to the notion that adventure need not always yield sweeping vistas, for within its embrace, a quieter, more intimate connection with nature awaits.



6. Embark on the Enchanting Boone Fork Trail Adventure


Embark on the Enchanting Boone Fork Trail Adventure

If you're seeking a more extensive hiking experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Boone Fork Trail awaits your discovery. Spanning a satisfying 5.5-mile loop, this trail nestles itself within the picturesque landscapes of the Boone and Blowing Rock region – a duo of splendid towns that stand as prime destinations within the mountain range.


To commence your Boone Fork journey, make your way to the Julian Price Park Picnic Area, precisely at milepost 296.4. This well-marked trailhead initiates an expedition that leads you to an awe-inspiring natural wonder – the mesmerizing Boone Fork Falls. Cascading gracefully from a height of 25 feet, the falls greet you with their captivating allure, set against a backdrop of grandiose boulders that gracefully ornament the waterfall's base.


It's worth noting that the Boone Fork hike caters to seasoned hikers who relish a challenge. This trail presents a moderate to strenuous rating, offering both an invigorating trek and a chance to immerse oneself in the surrounding natural beauty.


As you navigate the trail's twists and turns, you'll find yourself in the company of the Boone Fork river. This waterway adds a captivating dimension to your journey, morphing in character with every encounter. At some stretches, the river meanders serenely, its gentle demeanor reflecting the tranquility of the surroundings. Yet, in other segments, the rush of the water crescendos into a sonorous symphony, filling the mountain air with its invigorating melody.


The Boone Fork Trail is more than just a hike; it's an odyssey through varied landscapes and experiences. So, lace up your hiking boots, gather your gear, and set forth on a voyage that promises not only the thrill of conquering a challenging trail but also the profound connection with the untamed beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Embark on the Enchanting Boone Fork Trail Adventure


If you're seeking a more extensive hiking experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Boone Fork Trail awaits your discovery. Spanning a satisfying 5.5-mile loop, this trail nestles itself within the picturesque landscapes of the Boone and Blowing Rock region – a duo of splendid towns that stand as prime destinations within the mountain range.


To commence your Boone Fork journey, make your way to the Julian Price Park Picnic Area, precisely at milepost 296.4. This well-marked trailhead initiates an expedition that leads you to an awe-inspiring natural wonder – the mesmerizing Boone Fork Falls. Cascading gracefully from a height of 25 feet, the falls greet you with their captivating allure, set against a backdrop of grandiose boulders that gracefully ornament the waterfall's base.


It's worth noting that the Boone Fork hike caters to seasoned hikers who relish a challenge. This trail presents a moderate to strenuous rating, offering both an invigorating trek and a chance to immerse oneself in the surrounding natural beauty.


As you navigate the trail's twists and turns, you'll find yourself in the company of the Boone Fork river. This waterway adds a captivating dimension to your journey, morphing in character with every encounter. At some stretches, the river meanders serenely, its gentle demeanor reflecting the tranquility of the surroundings. Yet, in other segments, the rush of the water crescendos into a sonorous symphony, filling the mountain air with its invigorating melody.


The Boone Fork Trail is more than just a hike; it's an odyssey through varied landscapes and experiences. So, lace up your hiking boots, gather your gear, and set forth on a voyage that promises not only the thrill of conquering a challenging trail but also the profound connection with the untamed beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

If you're seeking a more extensive hiking experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Boone Fork Trail awaits your discovery. Spanning a satisfying 5.5-mile loop, this trail nestles itself within the picturesque landscapes of the Boone and Blowing Rock region – a duo of splendid towns that stand as prime destinations within the mountain range.


To commence your Boone Fork journey, make your way to the Julian Price Park Picnic Area, precisely at milepost 296.4. This well-marked trailhead initiates an expedition that leads you to an awe-inspiring natural wonder – the mesmerizing Boone Fork Falls. Cascading gracefully from a height of 25 feet, the falls greet you with their captivating allure, set against a backdrop of grandiose boulders that gracefully ornament the waterfall's base.


It's worth noting that the Boone Fork hike caters to seasoned hikers who relish a challenge. This trail presents a moderate to strenuous rating, offering both an invigorating trek and a chance to immerse oneself in the surrounding natural beauty.


As you navigate the trail's twists and turns, you'll find yourself in the company of the Boone Fork river. This waterway adds a captivating dimension to your journey, morphing in character with every encounter. At some stretches, the river meanders serenely, its gentle demeanor reflecting the tranquility of the surroundings. Yet, in other segments, the rush of the water crescendos into a sonorous symphony, filling the mountain air with its invigorating melody.


The Boone Fork Trail is more than just a hike; it's an odyssey through varied landscapes and experiences. So, lace up your hiking boots, gather your gear, and set forth on a voyage that promises not only the thrill of conquering a challenging trail but also the profound connection with the untamed beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Hiking The Boone Fork Trail | Blowing Rock, NC



7. Embarking on the Journey of Graveyard Fields Hiking Trail





Venturing approximately an hour to the south of Asheville, nestled at milepost 418.8, lies the enchanting Graveyard Fields hiking loop. Don't let its somewhat unsettling name deter you, for this captivating three-mile trail unveils a breathtaking tapestry of natural wonders, including meandering rivers, babbling streams, and cascading waterfalls, all set against the backdrop of the region's scenic splendor.


As you set foot upon this trail, prepare to be captivated by the allure of nature's masterpiece. Behold the enchanting spectacle of Upper Falls and Second Falls, where water dances in graceful descent, forming multi-tiered cascades adorned with the charm of rugged boulders at their base. Feel free to pause and indulge in a well-deserved moment of reprieve, relishing a delightful snack or partaking in a leisurely picnic before embarking on the next leg of your trail-bound odyssey.


While traversing the expanse of this trail, the landscape unfolds in a symphony of sights and scents. Traverse the gentle undulations of the valley floor, where a verdant tapestry of mountain laurel and rhododendron elegantly lines your path, painting the scene with their vibrant hues. And during the embrace of the summer months, you'll be greeted by a delightful array of berries, nature's jewels, dotting the landscape. Blackberries, blueberries, and gooseberries beckon the adventurous forager, adding a touch of edible wonder to your journey.


In the heart of Graveyard Fields, you'll find not only a trail but a gateway to an experience that immerses you in the harmonious dance of nature's elements. Let each step be a testament to the captivating beauty that awaits, as you forge a connection with the land and its bountiful offerings.

Embarking on the Journey of Graveyard Fields Hiking Trail


8. Craggy Pinnacle and Gardens Hiking Trails


Craggy Pinnacle and Gardens Hiking Trails

Embark on a captivating journey along the Craggy Pinnacle and Gardens hiking trails, where nature's splendor unfolds before your eyes. Craggy Pinnacle Trail invites you to traverse its path, guiding you toward an awe-inspiring vantage point that offers an almost panoramic 360-degree spectacle of the enchanting Blue Ridge Mountains. As you set foot on this trail, especially during the early summer months, a delicate symphony of fragrances fills the air – the gentle perfume of wildflowers, the sweet embrace of mountain laurel, and the tantalizing allure of wild blueberries, harmonizing to create an olfactory tapestry that enriches your hiking experience.


While the trail spans a mere 1.4 miles roundtrip, its brevity in no way diminishes its allure. In fact, it serves as a perfect introduction for those new to hiking, providing a manageable and rewarding venture into the heart of this natural wonderland. The Craggy Pinnacle Trail beckons to novice hikers, offering a taste of the remarkable beauty that awaits within the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Once you've savored the sweeping vistas from Craggy Pinnacle, a continuation of the adventure awaits as you transition seamlessly to the Craggy Gardens trail. This interconnected pathway extends your journey, encompassing an additional 1.6-mile roundtrip of exploration. The allure of the Craggy Gardens trail lies in its unique offerings – a haven for bird enthusiasts, a gallery of vibrant wildflowers that paint the landscape with their hues, and breathtaking panoramic viewpoints that seem to exist solely to inspire awe.


As the trail ascends, nature's symphony serenades you, accompanied by the fluttering melodies of avian companions. Each step unveils a new canvas of colors, as wildflowers line the path, enhancing the natural beauty that envelops you. Reaching the trail's zenith, a scene of tranquility unfolds – covered patios and welcoming benches await, inviting you to pause, reflect, and bask in the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains.



9. Discover the Splendor of Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains


Discover the Splendor of Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Nestled at milepost 316.4 within the breathtaking expanse of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Linville Falls stands as an enduring testament to the natural beauty of this region. Revered as one of the most iconic waterfalls in the area, Linville Falls invites adventurers to embark on an unforgettable journey of exploration. The starting point for both hiking trails is the visitors center, serving as a gateway to the enchanting world of cascading waters and panoramic vistas.


Embark upon the Erwins View Trail, a 1.6-mile round-trip trek that unveils the falls from a series of unique vantage points. The trail's gentle incline ensures a leisurely yet invigorating experience, ideal for all levels of hikers. Along the way, the path reveals its treasures, granting hikers the chance to pause and soak in the awe-inspiring scenery.


The journey to Linville Falls unfolds gradually, offering glimpses of nature's artistry at each turn. The first captivating stop is Upper Falls, where a stunning tableau unfolds—a cascade of water plunging into a serene pool, framed by the verdant landscape. Further along, Chimney View emerges, presenting a panoramic vista that unveils the falls in all their majestic splendor. Yet the crown jewel of this trail lies ahead: Erwin’s View Overlook. Perched at an elevation of 3,330 feet, this vantage point offers not one, but two breathtaking perspectives. Here, like a bird in flight, you can marvel at the falls' intricate dance with the surrounding terrain.


For those seeking a more immersive encounter, the Linville Gorge hiking trail beckons. While slightly more demanding, this path offers an intimate experience with Linville Falls. The reward for your effort is a chance to stand at the base of the falls, an experience that leaves you humbled by the sheer force of nature's masterpiece. The rugged terrain grants you access to the very heart of the cascade, where you can find solace on the smooth boulders that line the river's edge. The setting is so picturesque that it invites you to linger, inviting you to savor the moment and perhaps indulge in a leisurely picnic by the tranquil waters.


In the embrace of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Linville Falls stands as an emblem of nature's grandeur. Whether you choose the gentle path of the Erwins View Trail or the more challenging embrace of the Linville Gorge trail, one thing is certain: the journey to these falls is a journey to the heart of beauty, tranquility, and the raw power of water's eternal dance.


The gorge on the Plunge Basin Trail.
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.


10. Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail


Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail

Embark on the Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail, a captivating journey that strikes a balance between moderate exertion and rewarding beauty. This engaging hike spans approximately two hours, leading avid explorers through a verdant forest and along a challenging ascent over rugged terrain. The ultimate destination? The awe-inspiring base of the 60-foot cascade that is Crabtree Falls.


As you venture deeper into this woodland sanctuary, a world of natural wonders unfolds before you. The uphill climb, though demanding, presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of the forest. The path itself, laden with twists and turns, weaves through a tapestry of ancient trees and vibrant undergrowth, creating an enchanting backdrop for your journey.


Upon reaching the heart of the trail, a mesmerizing sight awaits—the impressive 60-foot waterfall, a testament to the grandeur of nature's handiwork. Here, you'll find yourself enveloped in a gentle mist that has nurtured a thriving community of wild flora. Delicate ferns and an array of colorful wildflowers flourish in this mist-kissed microclimate, adding an extra layer of magic to your experience.


The Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail extends approximately three miles in total, a roundtrip that offers a harmonious blend of challenge and serenity. As you wrap up your time by the falls, the journey continues. Two distinct paths beckon you for the return leg of your adventure. One option involves retracing your initial steps, allowing you to relive the captivating journey in reverse, savoring each moment from a fresh perspective.


Alternatively, an enticing alternative route awaits those who seek to extend their exploration. A longer yet more gradual trail meanders through the landscape, gifting you a second opportunity to witness the majesty of the falls. This trail not only provides a novel viewpoint but also grants a more leisurely way back, allowing you to savor the tranquility of the surroundings at your own pace.


In summation, the Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail is a multi-faceted escapade that offers nature enthusiasts an invigorating workout, a glimpse into an ecosystem brimming with life, and an encounter with a breathtaking natural wonder. So lace up your hiking boots, embrace the challenge, and let the allure of Crabtree Falls guide you through a memorable expedition that seamlessly merges exertion and exploration.



11. Discover the Enchanting Mount Pisgah Hiking Trail


Discover the Enchanting Mount Pisgah Hiking Trail

Nestled to the south of Asheville, the Mount Pisgah hiking trail emerges as an undoubted highlight within the region's vast tapestry of outdoor adventures. As you ascend to the mountain's pinnacle, a profound realization of its allure will sweep over you, leaving you awe-inspired by nature's majesty. This trail commences its journey at milepost 407.6 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, beckoning adventurers to embark on a captivating 2.3-mile expedition that culminates in a rewarding round trip.


The trail, though short in distance, presents a formidable rocky terrain, providing hikers with an invigorating challenge that adds an extra layer of excitement to their trek. Each step fuels a sense of accomplishment, as the path winds its way towards the summit, promising an experience that tests both stamina and determination. Yet, the true magnificence of this endeavor unveils itself at the apex of Mount Pisgah.


At the zenith, an exquisitely designed observation deck stands as a testament to the harmony between human engineering and natural grandeur. This vantage point serves as a front-row seat to nature's masterpiece, offering panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can behold. The scenic reward at the end of the arduous ascent transforms the challenging hike into an unquestionably worthwhile endeavor.


Gaze out over sweeping landscapes adorned with undulating peaks and lush valleys, all drenched in the hues of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The interplay of light and shadow paints a mesmerizing portrait, rendering the observer humbled by the vastness of the world below. From this elevated vantage, the connection between Earth and sky feels tangible, a reminder of the profound beauty that exists beyond the confines of our daily lives.



Named after the 5,000 foot High Mountain at the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forests is known for the tremendous mountain bikes trails in North Carolina and hikes near Asheville NC
Named after the 5,000 foot High Mountain at the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forests is known for the tremendous mountain bikes trails in North Carolina and hikes near Asheville NC



Essential Advice for Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains


Essential Advice for Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains