Take a Hike: Best Trails in the Carolinas

The Carolinas have hundreds of beautiful hiking trails to explore with everything from scenic walks to strenuous treks. From the mountains to the lowlands, there are hiking trails for every skill level. If you’ve been chomping at the bit to hit the trails, check out these beautiful hiking trails in the Carolinas.


Located near Albemarle, North Carolina in Morrow Mountain State Park, the Morrow and Sugarloaf Mountains are part of an elaborate 30-mile trail system. With forested summits and quiet solidarity, enjoy the views as well as the exciting trails, including Hattaway Mountain Trail, Quarry Trail, Fall Mountain Trail, Three Rivers Trail, Mountain Loop Trail, and Rocks Trail. Artifacts discovered in this area attest to the presence of Native Americans at least 12,000 years before European settlement. 


Walk along the section of the historic Appalachian Trail in Asheville, and you’ll join the millions of others who have walked the 2,174-mile trail that spans 14 states. With hikes for all fitness levels, get your daily exercise while enjoying the unparalleled beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you need a place to rest and restock, head to Nantahala Outdoor Center at mile marker 133.9 for fresh supplies and a relaxing meal at River's End Restaurant. AAA Members receive $5 savings per person on an activity.


For the true nature lover, the Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve near Kershaw, South Carolina contains a variety of plants and wildlife. The preserve spans 2,267 acres, and the rock itself takes up 14 acres. Botanists and naturalists will marvel at the massive granite flat rock which provides a natural habitat for distinct wildflowers like the elf orpine and the endangered pool sprite. 


With a 75-mile trail that includes the Blue Ridge Escarpment, hikers at the Foothills Trail in Oconee County, South Carolina should be prepared to see black bear, white-tailed deer, and even bald eagles. This 82-mile trail travels from Caesars Head State Park to Oconee State Park along the North Carolina border. With rare foliage and incredible views of the Upper Whitewater Falls, you won’t want to miss this one.


Located a mile south of the junction of U.S. 221 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain in Banner Elk, North Carolina, has a 5,946-foot peak that some say resembles a bearded grandfather looking toward the sky when viewed from the north. Grandfather offers over 12 miles of the South's best alpine trails, the mile-high swinging bridge, and many opportunities to learn about native wildlife. AAA members receive $2 off adult tickets and $1 off child tickets.


Enjoy the fresh air, hiking trails, lakes, and waterfalls at Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock, North Carolina. Climb to the top to see the spectacular 75-mile view of Chimney Rock and end the day with a trip to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, the second highest waterfall of its kind east of the Mississippi River. AAA members save $2 on regular adult rates and $1 on regular youth rates on admission.

Before you begin your adventures, visit your local AAA Car Care location for all of your car maintenance needs, including battery checks. If you plan to stay overnight, visit your local AAA travel agent to help make your trip planning easy with hotel discounts, reservations, and TripTiks, AAA's exclusive travel planner. A road trip is always a good time to make sure your insurance is updated, so call your local AAA insurance agent and they can walk you through the best options. You can easily manage your AAA Membership online or call 1-866-593-8626 while on the road.

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