Our Playlist of the Hikes with the Best Visual Experiences in WNC

Including Trail Descriptions, Maps and Extensive Photo Galleries

It’s simple – you want to go on a hike. It has to have a great view, be within reasonable driving distance and not be too easy or too difficult. You want to know if the hike is suitable for everyone in your party and you need to know how to get there and navigate the trail. And you don’t have a week to research all the guide books and blogs out there to find a perfect hike!

WNC View Hikes is your tool for quickly searching a database of nearly 50 hikes for those hikes that meet your hiking criteria

This tool builds a list of hike summaries meeting your requirements presented in a compact format with all the critical parameters displayed – area, difficulty, length, total ascent, view type and short description. Included in the hike summary is a link to a page containing all the detailed information that you need to really learn about the hike:

  • Hike statistics – length, total ascent and max elevation
  • Seasonal accessibility
  • GPS coordinates of the trailhead
  • Downloadable GPS track of the hike
  • Link to the trail map on this site
  • Description of the view type, hike profile, trail surface, environment
  • Notes on trail navigation and directions to the trailhead
  • Extensive photo gallery

The photo galleries included with all our hikes are not just a few beauty shots of the featured views on the hike – these galleries walk you through the hike from trailhead to return showing:

  • Trailhead
  • Typical trail sections showing trail surface conditions
  • Navigation waypoints and important turns
  • Major and minor view points along the trail

A note about our hike catalog:

This site is intended for hikers – those people who enjoy a hike through the woods on natural trails complete with climbs and stream crossings.  We love a good workout, but reaching a spectacular view at the end of the hike is what really makes it special.  Since we focus on those views reached by longer hikes over natural trails, we have not included the many great Blue Ridge Parkway view spots and short hikes such as Devil’s Courthouse or Craggy Pinnacle.  Similarly, we have chosen not to include the great waterfall views to be had in Dupont State Forest.

Site Guide

Start Here…..

New to the area or a new hiker?  We suggest that you try hiking in these areas first – they are the best of the best and have something for everyone.  Check the Hiking Calendar for information on when to hike these trails to view the rare or spectacular bloom events, blueberry harvests or fall foliage:

Black Balsam (including Graveyard Fields) – An absolute must see for anyone.  Spectacular 360 degree long range views, waterfalls, blueberries and fall foliage.

Montreat – very family-friendly but can also be very challenging.  Large number of excellent trails of all types in a small area.  Site of the historic Mount Mitchell Toll Road  and railroad.  Featured hike is to the summit of Graybeard Mountain via the west ridge.

Roan Mountain – the Grassy Ridge Bald hike is not to be missed.  A moderate hike over bald knobs famous for abundant Catawba Rhodos, Flame Azaleas and blueberries.

South Pisgah National Forest – this area near the Davidson River is very popular with several interesting hikes to rocky overlooks and waterfalls.  Accessible all year as well.

Panthertown – located in the Nantahala National Forest near Lake Toxaway these hikes feature a large number of different views with easy to moderate trails.

Want to browse our entire catalog of hikes?  Click on Catalog to see a complete list of all our hikes sorted by area.

Looking for hikes in a particular area or hikes with a special view type or trail rating?  Use the following link to our Search page.

Search – enables you to specify the hike name or area(s), view type(s) and trail rating(s) that will be used to build a customized list of hikes from our catalog.

Additional Information…..

Resources/General Hike Information – information on typical trail conditions, notes about the trail statistics and ratings used on this site, information on trail navigation and hazards.

Resources/Flower Guide – introduction to the flowering bushes, trail flowers and fall foliage found in WNC including photo galleries and links to other resources.

Resources/Hunting Seasons – information about hunting seasons in WNC and hiking in hunting areas.

Resources/Equipment Tips – information about appropriate clothing and equipment for hiking in this region including trekking poles, footwear, traction aids, snake protection and photography.

Resources/Information Sources – lists of guide books, group hike organizations, sources for maps and links to important sites for information on trail access closures.

Regional Map – a map of the Western North Carolina region marked with the location of the major hiking areas.

News – current news about the site and a history of the changes to the site.

Comments – use this page to submit non-hike specific comments and suggestions for hikes to be added to site.

Western North Carolina is home to some of the most interesting, diverse hiking venues to be found anywhere.  We are blessed with generally great weather and hiking here is comfortable and safe, assuming reasonable preparation, water, clothing and equipment.  Trailheads are easily accessed and the trails are generally well-used, well-marked and easy to follow.

We hope that you take the opportunity to try some of these hikes and experience the views firsthand.  Please remember to read the general hiking information and enjoy our mountains safely !

About Us

We are day hikers who hike for the pure enjoyment of being outdoors and getting fit at the same time.  We’re not into accomplishments as much as enjoying the journey. We appreciate natural beauty and seek it out in our hikes.  At one time, we were new to this area ourselves and started on a long journey of discovery –  going from area to area seeking out the “best” hikes.  This site is the culmination of 9 years on the trail.  We have no commercial aspirations – our only motivation for presenting this information is to help hikers new to the area, or experienced hikers looking for fresh trails, find and enjoy some of the best natural views this area has to offer.

This list of hikes is far from complete – the journey continues!