I currently live in the Rocky Mountains in the gorgeous state of Montana, but for 26 years I lived in the South Eastern part of North Carolina and have spent a fair amount of time on some really spectacular trails that criss-cross the south. So I have compiled a little list of some of my favorite hikes, I have included some day hikes as well as some overnights as well. So there should be a little something for everyone!
Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina
As a native Tar-heel I feel somewhat obligated to lead in with Grandfather Mountain, which is found just outside of Linville, NC deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of the Appalachians. At this state park, you have access to 11 trails that vary from easy-low impact day hikes through some gorgeous nature, to extended back-country adventures. Grand Father mountain is also home to 16 distinct natural communities and ecosystems that support the lives of 73 rare or endangered species, including 32 that are globally imperiled. So there is plenty to see and experience on these well groomed and maintained trails.
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Ever since I was a little kid I have loved going to Stone Mountain. Of course, its very much made as a tourist trap, but there are quite a few trails there that range from short ¾ mile trail heads up to 5-mile loops through some gorgeous mountains. I love to go there when the seasons change in the fall so you can see all the colors and there are fewer people generally. The trails are well maintained and easy to traverse. It’s a great place to get away from everything for a while and convenient to get to for people living in the area.
Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail, North Carolina
I am not just biased to North Carolina, this is actually one of the coolest trail networks I can think of from the Southeast. We are talking starting off at the highest point in North Carolina and making your way east to largest naturally made sand dune on the East Coast. Going from mountains into the coastal plain brings you a large variety of sights to be seen and it is broken up into sections easy for day hikes, weekend backpacking adventures and for those of us that are willing, the entire 1150 mile trail.
DeSoto State Park, Alabama
This has to be one of the single most gorgeous places on the planet. With 25 miles of trails that take you on an epic journey of beautiful waterfalls and pristine streams. With the vast number of trails with their range in difficulty from easy to expert, there is literally something for everyone. There is no shortage of options that will take you to gorgeous locations but I highly recommend doing at least part of the Scout Trail. I took this hike when I traveled there to visit some friends, and we spent the day doing 4 miles of the 16-mile long trial. I have only seen more waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. Truly a hike you will NOT want to miss.
I have lived around the world, but my heart will always remain in the South. There are many trails all over the south but these are some of the best. I recommend them all and hope to see you out there sometime!