Western North Carolina Trailheads

Looking for a place to start exploring the outdoors in WNC? Look no further than our Trailheads.

What's a Trailhead?

HikeWNC's Trailheads are hubs, or areas, where several trails are convenient to one another or joined in a network.

More than Wikipedia's definition of a Trailhead as "the point at which a trail starts", a Trailhead here could be a campground, a parking area where several trails start, a stream basin, an isolated park, a town, or simply an area with a group of trails convenient to one another. Historically, cities located near the starting point for major paths were also called Trailheads.

The US Forest Service has been referring to these as Trail Complexes in its recent Trail Strategy process.

For this site, a Trailhead can be any of these, but represents a way for us to group information about a place where you can spend a day or more exploring hiking trails without having to drive too far - or at all!

Choose a Trailhead from the list or map below to see all the details that we have on each one.

Map of Trailheads

Here's a map of the trailhead areas we cover. Roll over a "TH" symbol to see its name, zoom in near one to see the area's outline, and click or tap for more information about that trailhead area.

Map Information

Download GPS Data

Click on a route, trail, or point on the map and select the GPS Data tab to download its data.

Data Formats

KML (Google Earth)

KML is the main file type used by Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, clicking the KML link should open the trail or point directly in Google Earth for viewing. This is the native file format used by Google Earth, but many other map applications can use and understand KML as well, so if you're not sure which one to download, KML is a good bet.


The GPX format stands for GPS Exchange - a free, open, XML format for exchanging GPS and map data. GPX is compatible with Google Earth, many other mapping programs, and most GPS devices (such as Garmin). Load the file directly into your GPS to help find your way on your next trip!


GeoJSON is a newer, lightweight data exchange format which can be used to quickly share map data and may have a smaller size than KML or GPX. Many professional mapping and GIS applications support the GeoJSON format.

About the Map


Base Layers

Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.

WNCOutdoors Base Layer

The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by WNCOutdoors.info. It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

Trail and Marker Overlays

Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).


  • Hover over a trail to see it highlighted. Helps to see start and end points for an individual trail.
  • Scroll and zoom the map before printing, and that view will persist into the printed image.
  • Click a trail for more details and to download it individually.

List of Trailheads

Here's a list of the trailhead areas we cover, grouped by the type of ownership over the lands: Federal, State, City/County (and other public lands), and private property open to visitors.

Triple Falls
Triple Falls
Steep Trail in Shope Creek
Steep Trail in Shope Creek
Hickory Nut Falls in late summer
Hickory Nut Falls in late summer

Federal Lands

State Lands

City/County Lands

Private Lands

Long Distance Trails

These trails may span multiple landowners, districts, or even multiple states.