Hiking & Trails

With vibrant-green landscapes and quartzite cliff panoramas, the NC Triad is awash in wonders that make every step a revelation. When you venture into nature with hiking shoes strapped on, let the sights and sounds of nature lead you to adventure.

Piedmont Legacy Trails

The Piedmont region of North Carolina is rich in rivers. Trail planners and builders have taken advantage of these corridors to create some beautiful and relaxing trails. If you have yet to experience all that these rivers have to offer, here are 21 hikes to get you on your way.

There are a lot of things that make the Triad a wonderful place to live, but at the top of the list is exploring the natural beauty, diverse ecology, and history of our region – all done through some beautiful trails.  Here is our list of the underrated hiking trails that deserve a whole lot more credit.

Unforgettable Day & Weekend-Long Trips 

Spend a day hiking the trails of a local state park or a national forest, welcoming hikers of every skill level to roam and explore. Most offer camping and trailer sites if you wish to stay longer.

Trails at Pilot Mountain State Park allow hikers to circumnavigate the mountain base that makes the park north of Winston-Salem famous. Hiking to the summit of the mountain offers a challenge to the willing and a view of the surrounding region, while through-hikers can continue on to view other natural glories in the Triad via the Mountains-to-Sea or Sauratown hiking trails, linking Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock. 

Hanging Rock State Park has over 20 miles of hiking trails along streams, rivers, and waterfalls. If you want to hike up to the namesake quartzite rock formation and enjoy spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, take the Hanging Rock Trail, which is over a mile one way.

Most massive of all in the NC Triad is the Uwharrie National Forest, offering 163-miles of riverine paths, tree-lined trails, and mountainous climbs for hikers. With multiple trailheads that allow parking and numerous campgrounds spread throughout the reserve, Uwharrie welcomes both day-hikers seeking a challenge and through-hikers looking for a more immersive experience with nature in the NC Triad. The experiences in Uwharrie are every bit as exciting as the trail names paint them to be. Climb Lick Mountain Trail, wind along Dutchman’s Creek Trail, or circle the Badin Lake Trail.

Nature is Never Far 

With several hiking trails near the Triad’s urban centers, a hiker is never short on chances to disappear into nature for a few hours or the entire day. With more than seven miles of hiking path and easy parking and restroom facilities at the northern trailhead, Salem Lake Park offers visitors access to the native wildlife that calls this 365-acre lake home—all without leaving the Winston-Salem city limits.

The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro offers further opportunities to step away from the city and hike into nature. A handicapped-accessible trail that leaves from the zoo’s parking lot makes sure the verdant beauty of the Triad is available to all, while the Mountain Preserve, Middle Mountain, and Purgatory Mountain trails all live up to their name—demanding hikers ready to experience higher elevations. Leashed dogs are welcome, and a sense of wonder is mandatory.

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