The Best Moderate Hikes in Western North Carolina

Hikes by Difficulty: Easy | Moderate | More Difficult | Most Difficult | All

This page includes all hikes rated Moderate in difficulty.

A hike rated Moderate has some climbs and descents with a few obstacles on the trail surface. It may contain water crossing that are not overly difficult and occasional exposure to drop-offs beside the trail that aren't too risky. Most people with some experience hiking including older children should be able to complete these.

Each hike has its own printable guide page with all the information and links, including (where available):

  • directions to the starting point
  • length
  • difficulty
  • elevation change
  • an interactive topo map
  • photos from along the way
  • a detailed description and trail directions, and
  • a place to leave comments about your experiences

Moderate Hikes

Cove Creek and Caney Bottom Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Beautiful Pisgah scenery abounds on this classic loop hike, which travels past several nice waterfalls, through some flats above the Davidson River valley, and around seepage bogs and open, fern-filled woods. It's moderate overall; some of the...
  • 4.2mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Crabtree Falls Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This popular, short loop descends on a moderate path to a majestic 70 ft waterfall, which is widely touted as one of the most photogenic in the area. You'll climb steeply up the opposite ridge for a short distance, then hike a wide, smooth trail...
  • 3mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Craggy Pinnacle Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This popular trail climbs a short distance from a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook to a high, rocky peak with commanding views of the Craggy Gardens area. Blooming rhododendrons put on a fantastic display along this trail in late June. Twisted trees grow...
  • 1.4mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Devil's Courthouse Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This hike takes you to the summit of Devil's Courthouse, a high-elevation rocky summit with a fantastic cliff-top overlook. But this isn't the usual route used by most casual tourists, which is a paved trail starting at a Parkway overlook. Rather,...
  • 4.3mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Douglas Falls (Lower Approach) Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This spectacular, 70 ft. falls is located in an old-growth forest. The lower approach to the falls is a walk on a gently sloped trail to its base. The hike is markedly changed from years past; though the hemlocks in the area are dead, you'll travel...
  • 1mi, Climbs Gently
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Firescald Knob Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Comprising one of the easier destination hikes in North Carolina's Shelton Laurel area of Pisgah National Forest (and winding into Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest as well), a portion of the Appalachian Trail near Camp Creek Bald invites day...
  • 4.5mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Flat Laurel Creek Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This loop takes you around the headwaters basin of Flat Laurel Creek, which starts in a unique, high-elevation valley surrounded by sharp peaks, grassy balds, and cool, dark, spruce-fir forests. Its elevation is over 5300 ft at the bottom, and it...
  • 2.5mi, Climbs Gently
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Glen Falls Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This trail takes the hiker through a pleasant forest of hardwoods and pines to one of the spectacular waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. As Overflow Creek plunges over the ledge below one of the East's highest towns, you really get two falls in...
  • 1.1mi, Climbs Steeply
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Graveyard Fields Hike

Moderate Hike
  • A unique loop trail winds through this high-elevation, flat valley. Two spurs lead to some of the most photographed and enjoyed waterfalls in the state! You'll pass through open areas, stands of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron, and young northern...
  • 3.2mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Linville Falls - Erwin's View Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Linville Falls has two main trails: Erwin's view and Plunge Basin. Erwin's view is the easier of the two, and stops at three main overlooks: Upper Falls, Chimney View, and the eponymous Erwin's View. This trail passes through a majestic forest of...
  • 1.5mi, Few Hills
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Linville Falls - Plunge Basin Hike

Moderate Hike
  • A short but rugged trail takes you to the base of this impressive falls; the roughness is mitigated somewhat since it's short. Stare up at the gorge walls and marvel at the water churning through a narrow chasm before plunging into the deep pool at...
  • 1.4 - 1.8mi, Climbs Steeply
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Mount Pisgah Hike

Moderate Hike
  • A classic Blue Ridge Parkway hike, this trail continues onto National Forest land to climb to the summit of one of the area's most well-known peaks, which lends its name to numerous other things throughout the region. Mount Pisgah is part of the...
  • 3mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Pink Beds Loop Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This relatively flat loop hike - which features a shortcut option - is all about water. You'll see rare mountain bogs, including glimpses of some rare and endangered species of plants if you're lucky. You'll pass through a forest in transition, as...
  • 5.1mi, Few Hills
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Potato Knob Fields Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Potato Knob is a rocky, prominent peak visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, many points in the foothills region, and along I-40. It is a well-known area landmark. This hike takes you on a spectacular section of the Mountains to Sea Trail below the...
  • 2mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Rainbow Falls Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Rainbow Falls is one of the biggest and most scenic falls in the region. An excellent 3-mile round trip hike takes you there, accessible from the newly expanded Gorges State Park access area. Several more smaller falls and some more scenery are...
  • 3.0 - 4.0mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Rattlesnake Lodge Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This pleasant hike takes you to the ruins of a historic private lodge along a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail. It's close to the City of Asheville, making it a nice option if you're in the area and don't have a lot of drive time. A...
  • 2.8mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Sam Knob Hike

Moderate Hike
  • At the top of an imposing mountain peak located at the edge of the Shining Rock Wilderness, spectacular views await! A surprisingly nice, easy trail wraps around this mountain to its grassy, partly bald summit. Hike in the late summer and enjoy a...
  • 2.2mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Skinny Dip Falls Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This moderate, short hike takes you to an appealing waterfall and swimming hole on the Yellowstone Prong of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. It makes a great summer swimming destination, a great way to stretch your legs if you're traveling the...
  • 0.8mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Skyline-Cliff Trail Hike

Moderate Hike
  • **Note:** This hike is currently closed, and according to the recently released Master Plan for Chimney Rock Park, it will not reopen. [Get more information here](http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/chro/trails.php) This more difficult hike starts at...
  • 1.5mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Snowball Hike

Moderate Hike
  • Not to be confused with Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge, Hawkbill Rock is an outcrop along the ridge between Snowball and Little Snowball Mountains in the Great Craggy Mountains range which makes a great destination for a day hike. The...
  • 2.75mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Summit and Rhododendron Trail Loop Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This mountaintop self-guiding nature trail, which is also a Kids In Parks TRACK trail, is a gem in North Carolina's northwest corner. You'll see virgin Northern Red Oak forests at an elevation near 5000 ft., as you stroll through an understory of...
  • 1.5mi, Few Hills
  • Tread Condition: Some Obstacles

Table Rock Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This trail climbs steeply to the top of a knife ridge, which from afar looks flat, giving the mountain its name. Though the rugged peak won't seem much like the surface of a table when you're standing on it, the views are unparalleled and worth the...
  • 2.0mi, Climbs Moderately
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough

Whiteside Mountain Hike

Moderate Hike
  • This excellent loop, designated a National Recreation Trail, climbs to the top of Whiteside Mountain, with its spectacular 700 ft high cliff walls lofting the hiker for amazing views. Take a camera, as the cliff-top views are lined with beautiful...
  • 2.5mi, Hilly
  • Tread Condition: Moderately Rough