One of my absolutely favorite things about our location is that if you get in the car and drive any direction, you'll run into an amazing hike. Below is our list of our 10 favorite hikes within an hour of camp. Ever hiked to see feral cows? There's one on the list. A waterfall fanatic? We've got you covered! Looking for that perfect sunset view - yep, that's on there too!
Tom’s Creek Falls - a very easy round-trip hike to a beautiful 80-foot waterfall. Great for a family hike and perfect for kids and dogs!
Length: 1.5 miles out-and-back
Highlights: Waterfall, Relatively Flat
Pro-Tip: If you continue to the right, you can hike along the edge of the falls and reach the top. (We do not officially recommend this, hike at your own risk!)
Lookout Trail - In Montreat, near Black Mountain - fun hike with a bit of easy "bouldering". A short, but moderately difficult because it's mostly uphill, 45-minute round trip hike. **Don't miss walking around the town of Black Mountain afterwards, it's absolutely adorable!** (If you have little ones, definitely swing by Robert Lake Park in Montreat, it's shaded and on the river - absolutely adorable!). All Trails Link: click here
Length: 1.5 miles out-and-back
Highlights: Views of the Black Mountains, a fun rock "scramble" near the top
Pro-Tip: Parking can be tight, if you drive past the first two small lots on the right, it opens up to a larger lot along the left of the road. You'll just have to walk back toward the trailhead a bit.
Hawksbill Mountain - 45 minutes from campground. Part of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. A personal favorite with expansive views of the Gorge!
All Trails Link: click here
Length: 2.8 mile loop (you can also hike to the view and back to parking lot, about 1.5 miles
Highlights: Stunning views of Linville Gorge.
Pro-Tip: If you make the loop it can be easy to lose. "Once you leave the main trail to do the Ledge Trail loop, the first quarter mile or so is overgrown and off-trail through some brush and brambles. Keep the Ledge on your left close and you will find the trail again." -Emerson, All Trails review
Bonus!!!: This is great for both a sunrise or a sunset hike!
Chimney Rock State Park - Just over 40-minutes, this renowned NC State Park sits in the center of Chimney Rock and the Lake Lure area. Admission is $17/adult $8/youth. Here is a great article by Only In Your State highlighting the best features of Chimney Rock State Park.
Length: That's a loaded question. It depends! To view all 7 trail lengths and difficulty levels,
Highlights: Just rated the best State Park in NC by Travel + Leisure
Pro-Tip: Check out their events calendar for special events, they often have fun exhibits and special visitors attending the park.
Crabtree Falls - 45 minutes away, but you'll drive through Little Switzerland and on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a minute, so it's a beautiful drive on the way! It's a strenuous 2.5 mile hike.
Length: 2.5 miles loop
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Pro-Tip: Read some tips on how to find the falls on NCTripping
Bonus!!!: Grassy Greek Falls - While you're in the area, check out this
hike as well! A two-tiered, 25-foot tall waterfall - scramble to
the bottom and hike behind the falls, if you so dare.
Roaring Fork Falls - An easy, well marked hike to expansive 100-foot cascading falls. Roaring Fork sits at the base of Mount Mitchell, the largest peak east of the Mississippi.You can stop at the base of the falls and enjoy a dip in the water or continue the path to the top of the falls. Read about a trip on NCTripping.
Length: 1-1.3 miles out-and-back
Highlights: Waterfall, Kid-friendly, dog friendly
Pro-Tip: From camp, pair a trip to the falls with a stop at Buck Creek Trout Farm - you'll pass it on the way home. Catch dinner and bring it back to grill! (P.s. be sure to grab their homemade trout seasoning, it's delishhhhh!)
Bonus!!!: It'll push the hour mark, but if you're chasing waterfalls continue past Roaring Fork another 13 minutes to Setrock Creek Falls. It's one of NC's most beautiful falls and is another easy trail along the Mountain-to-Sea trail. Read more about it on NCTripping.
Lake James State Park - With a variety of trails ranging in length and difficulty, Lake James State Park is a great options for waterfront walks. Less of a "mountain vibe" here, but if you need to cool off after your hike, there are two swimming beaches within the park, making it a great option for a full day. Check out the trails list on the NC Parks and Rec website here.
Bearwallow Mountain - Okay, technicalllly this may be 1 hour and 1 minute, but I didn't want you to miss it just because it's a minute over. This is a fun and moderate hike for all ages, but the real treat is when you reach the top. The views are expansive and 360 but not what you're thinking. The views also include a visit with dozens of cows at the top. Read about a trip on Uncorked Asheville and see honest reviews, like one that called this hike, "reminiscent of a scene from the sound of music" on TripAdvisor.
Length: 2 miles out-and-back
Pro-Tip: Bring a picnic - the meadow at the top is flat and expansive, there's room to roam and relax, especially if you're hiking with little kids.
The Golden Loop - A nice stroll through the woods will give you a closer look into the history that surrounds the Second Broad River. There's a very nice loop trail just two miles down the road, park at the old stamp mill across from Luck Strike Gold + Gem Mine. If you need help finding it, swing into Lucky Strike for a burger (they are super delish!) and ask them to point you in the right direction!
Length: 5.5 miles out-and-back
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging (a lot of uphill to start)
Pro-Tip: This is best in the winter - it's nearly in full sun, but there's lots of evergreens so it's still lively in the winter!
Some other honorable mentions, on the off-chance you're in the area anyway, here are some of our other absolute favs:
To Date, my personal favorite hike in NC! This is the most reminiscent hike of an international trail that I have seen. Be sure to check the weather, the elevation is higher and it's often much cooler than the foothills.
Easy drive from camp. This would make our top list except that it's SO BUSY during weekends.
You can make a great and very full day of a trip to Linville Falls. Check out Linville Caverns, swing through Linville Falls Winery on the way home (live music on most Fridays-Sundays), or Banks Creek Barn for Craft Beer and Trout Fishing. Finish the day with a little Antiquing in the North Cove area of Marion, NC.
Mount Mitchell State Part
The highest peak east of the Mississippi.
If you're looking for a family friendly camping or glamping vacation, look no further than Gold River camp + cabins. Located in Marion, NC, at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just 40-minutes from Asheville, we are not short of activities. If you need additional suggestions, don't hesitate to reach out, in addition to hiking trails, I have activities to recommend in Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, Hendersonville, Burnsville, Asheville, Morganton and Hickory - all within an hours drive!