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5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains

03.15.18

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5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains

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  • Linville Falls.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Craggy Gardens.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Great views along the Blue Ridge Mountains at Craggy Pinnacle.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • The Appalachian Mountains near the Roan Highlands.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Taking in the Roan Highlands.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • The view from Round Bald.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Roan Mountain is also home to the world's largest natural rhododendron garden!- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • The balds of Roan are beautiful year round, but they become even more incredible in the summer months.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Rhodies, a blue sky, and fluffy clouds will leave you with memories that you'll never forget.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • The light that follows a rain shower on Roan will reveal breathtaking views and possibly even a rainbow or two!- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Just after leaving Carvers Gap you'll pass through a mysterious forest that you'll swear is straight out of a storybook!- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Morning light over the East Rim in the Linville Gorge.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Once you've reached Huckleberry Knob, sit back, relax and enjoy the view.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Butterflies fill the air in the summer on Huckleberry Knob, while the Turk's cap lilies and other wildflowers line the trail.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Bee balms line Huckleberry Knob in the late summer.- 5 Must-Do Hikes in the North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains
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The Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina offer an outdoor oasis away from the East Coast bustle, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are among the prime regions to visit amid this montane geography. They boast the highest peaks on the Eastern Seaboard south of Baffin Island, not to mention the Linville Gorge Wilderness, which contains over 12,000 protected acres in Pisgah National Forest where logging impracticalities preserved virgin old-growth forest. The longest chain of Appalachian Mountain balds offers stunning views and picturesque wildflowers, and among the trees are hideaways accessible to even the faintest of heart. Trail networks are veined with footpaths in search of higher ground, wider views, or quieter corners amid forest burgeoning with rhododendron and broadleaf.

Within this can’t-miss wilderness, try one of these five must-do hikes.

  1. Linville Falls: One of the most recognizable features in the Linville Gorge Wilderness is Linville Falls, a multi-tiered cascade that drops into the gorge. The trail offers great views, interesting geology, and numerous overlooks of the falls and the gorge itself.
  2. Craggy Gardens: The best feature of a quiet forest is the ability to explore, and the trail at Craggy Gardens offers just that—footpaths that lead to trees to climb, overlooks, and an old gazebo. Find them, and while you’re here, explore your way to the beautiful overlook at Craggy Pinnacle.
  3. Among the peaks of the southern Appalachian Mountains are unique geographical areas called “balds,” wide expanses of highland meadow with sparse tree coverage. The Roan Highlands at Carver’s Gap and Grassy Ridge, which encompass the longest stretch of balds in the Appalachians, is one of the highlights of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The typical deciduous forest breaks open into wide highland prairie with staggering views, wildflowers, and a section of the Appalachian Trail.
  4. Huckleberry Knob: Like the balds of the Roan Highlands, Huckleberry Knob offers a tranquil, short trail with camping opportunities, broad views, and wildflowers. Unlike the balds, however, it offers a dose of history: the remnants of an F-51 jet that crashed here in 1952.
  5. East Rim Trail: Lesser traveled and long, the 22 miles of the East Rim Trail showcase the diverse terrain and virgin old-growth of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This unofficial route has been cobbled together from Forest Service roads and official trails, so route finding and independent research is a must. Stick around in one of the backcountry campsites and explore the trail’s many spurs.
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