Trails in the South Mountains State Park Trailhead Area

Here is a list of all trails in the South Mountains State Park Trailhead area.

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

  • directions to the starting point
  • difficulty
  • length
  • elevation change
  • a map
  • photos from along the way, and
  • a detailed description and trail directions.

For general information about the South Mountains State Park trailhead, see the South Mountains State Park Trailhead page.

Need to find trails by another method? Go back to Trails.

Benn Knob Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Lower CCC Trail to Raven Rock Trail. Closest access is 5 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail serves as a boundary between North Carolina gamelands and the park. Benn Knob Peak is a restricted area. Benn Knob is one of the highest...
  • 3mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough

Chestnut Knob Trail

More Difficult
  • Starts off of High Shoals Falls Loop Trail, 0.2 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail ascends one mile to a scenic view of High Shoals Falls. It continues another mile up to Chestnut Knob. This rock outcropping offers a beautiful view of the...
  • 2.1mi, Level, Moderately Rough

Clear Creek Trail

More Difficult
  • Starts at the Clear Creek Dam. Clear Creek Trail is the only trail on the western side of the park at present. This “out and back” trail starts at the Clear Creek Dam and ascends into the Clear Creek Watershed for a quiet, reflective retreat into...
  • 2.0mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough

Dogwood Trail

Easy
  • 2.6mi, Level, Few Obstacles

Fox Trail

More Difficult
  • Connects Lower CCC Trail to Raven Rock Trail. Closest access is 4.1 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. This remote trail has an expansive vista of the Blue Ridge at the eastern end of the trail. It descends to Nettle Branch and then winds around...
  • 3.7mi, Level, Moderately Rough

Headquarters Trail

More Difficult
  • Starts at the Shinny Creek picnic area, 0.5 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail provides access to Shinny Creek Trail, the Shinny Creek Backcountry Campsite and the Upper Falls Trail. One of the main artery trails which provides access to...
  • 1.9mi, Climbs Moderately, Moderately Rough

Hemlock Nature Trail

Easy
  • This easy, accessible trail follows the beautiful Jacob Fork River. There are many interpretive signs along the way, explaining various aspects of the geology, flora and fauna of the area. You'll also pass the amphitheater where interpretive programs...
  • 0.3mi, Climbs Gently, Few Obstacles

High Shoals Falls Loop Trail

More Difficult
  • This short, but steep, and very popular trail takes hikers about a mile to High Shoals Falls. All junctions are signed and the tail is well blazed. Starts at the Jacob Fork parking area on an old road to the right of the picnic area. (You can also...
  • 2.7mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Horseridge Trail

More Difficult
  • Connects Lower CCC to Upper CCC. Closest access is 4.8 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. This is a remote strenuous ridgeline trail that offers views west to Walker Top Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Views of the Black Mountains, Table...
  • 3.3mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough

H.Q. Trail

Easy
  • 4.3mi, Level, Few Obstacles

Jacob Branch Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Upper Falls Trail to Fox Trail. Closest access is 3 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. This moderate foot trail crosses Jacob Branch and ascends southwest to Fox Trail. Walk along the riparian area of Jacob Branch.
  • 1.1mi, Level, Moderately Rough

Jacob Fork River Trail

Easy
  • 0.5mi, Level, Few Obstacles

Little River Trail

Moderate
  • Starts at the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail crosses Little River and connects to the Upper CCC Trail. Horseback riders share part of this trail with hikers. Views of the Little River.
  • 2.1mi, Climbs Moderately, Some Obstacles

Lower CCC Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Benn Knob Trail to Horseridge Trail. Closest access is 4.3 miles from the Jacob Fork parking area. The Lower CCC Trail was named for the Camp Dyer Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The trail follows a ridgeline that separates the Henry Fork...
  • 2.5mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough

Possum Trail

More Difficult
  • Can be reached via Shinny Trail. Closest access is 1.6 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail can be combined with Chestnut Knob Trail to make a 7.7 mile loop that is one of the most popular extended hikes in the park. Leaves the Shinny Creek...
  • 1.4mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

Raven Rock Trail

More Difficult
  • Closest access is 0.2 miles from the Cicero parking area. Raven Rock Trail crosses the park road and Jacob Fork River then ascends steeply to a paved road shared by the park and Pine Mountain Golf Resort. There is a winter view of High Shoals Falls....
  • 5.2mi, Climbs Steeply, Moderately Rough

River Trail

Easy
  • Starts at the Jacob Fork parking area and ends at the Cicero Branch parking area near the Family Campground. River Trail is an easy foot trail along Jacob Fork River. The Kid's Track Trail kiosk is located at the east end of River Trail with...
  • 0.5mi, Climbs Gently, Some Obstacles

Saddleback Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Turkey Ridge Trail to Raven Rock Trail. Closest access is .3 mi from the equestrian day-use parking area. The trail crosses the Jacob Fork River and ascends to Raven Rock Trail. This narrow trail is single track for horseback riders. One of...
  • 3.2mi, Climbs Gently, Some Obstacles

Sawtooth Trail

More Difficult
  • Connects Upper CCC Trail to Horseridge Trail. Closest access is 2.5 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. Sawtooth Trail crosses Little River at the top of a waterfall. The trail follows a ridgeline that climbs to a view south into the Jacob Fork...
  • 2.2mi, Hilly, Moderately Rough

Shinny Trail

More Difficult
  • Starts at the Shinny Creek Backcountry Campsite, which is 1.2 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. Be prepared to cross the creek twice and navigate a log foot bridge. The foot trail ascends steeply to Upper Falls Trail. Shinny Creek and Shinny Creek...
  • 2.6mi, Climbs Steeply, Some Obstacles

Short Trail

Easy
  • 0.7mi, Level, Few Obstacles

Turkey Ridge Trail

Moderate
  • Starts at the equestrian parking lot. Main artery for the equestrian trails. The trail provides access to Saddleback Trail. Turkey Ridge Trail crosses the park road and ascends to Little River Trail. Horses and hikers share this trail.
  • 1.7mi, Climbs Moderately, Some Obstacles

Upper CCC Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Little River Trail to Horseridge Trail. Closest access is 2.1 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The Upper CCC Trail was named for the Camp Dyer CCC. The trail has views north into the Little River Watershed. Horses and hikers share this...
  • 1.6mi, Climbs Gently, Some Obstacles

Upper Falls Trail

Moderate
  • Connects Raven Rock Trail to Lower CCC Trail. Closest access is 1.1 mi from the Jacob Fork parking area. The trail divides the park north and south. It crosses the Jacob Fork River above High Shoals Falls. Be prepared for a stream crossing. The trail...
  • 3.8mi, Hilly, Some Obstacles