There is just about nothing as stunning as autumn in North Carolina, is there? When the leaves are in full color, it's breathtakingly beautiful. We are so fortunate to have four real seasons here in the Piedmont Triad. We're also lucky to be within a short drive of some of the state's prettiest parks, where you can hike to your heart's content, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the spectacular fall foliage. Our family loves to go for weekend day trips to hiking spots - there's something so therapeutic about getting away from home and out into nature. These are some of the parks we like and/or others have recommended to us. Comment below about your favorites: We'd love to learn your secrets!
Pilot Mountain State Park
1792 Pilot Knob Park Road, Pinnacle, NC 27043
A little more than an hour away from Greensboro and just a half-hour from Winston-Salem, Pilot Mountain is a popular day trip and weekend camping destination for Triad residents. With miles of hiking trails, Pilot Mountain offers great scenic views and a variety of activities to suit just about anyone. The park has two sections—one around the pinnacle and one along the Yadkin River—which are connected by a six-mile woodland corridor. Trails range from easy half-mile walks to strenuous, multi-mile sloped hikes.
5920 Hagan-Stone Park Road, Pleasant Garden, NC 27313
The 409-acre Hagan-Stone Park is in Pleasant Garden, just a hop, skip, and jump southeast from Greensboro. This is a large complex where folks RV, camp, and fish—there are four lakes and ponds within the park. Plus, it has about nine miles of unpaved trails that hikers, runners, and bicyclists love. We love the Park Loop Trail, which is a 3.9 mile loop trail rated as moderate, primarily used for hiking, walking, and trail running.
Piedmont Environmental Center
1220 Penny Road, High Point, NC 27265
The 11 miles of foot trails pass through over 376 acres of beautiful hardwood, pine forests, and breathtaking lakeside habitats at the Piedmont Environmental Center, which also has an education building and outdoor exhibits. The PEC is the southern end of the Guilford County Bicentennial Greenway, and three miles of the paved Greenway are on PEC property. Asphalt paving like the Greenway makes for easy walks or jogs on some of the trails, while natural trails in other areas offer a moderate challenge.
Uwharrie National Forest: Birkhead Mountains Wilderness
Lassiter Mill Road, Asheboro, NC 27205
The Birkhead Mountains Wilderness is 5,160 acres at the northern end of the Uwharrie National Forest (which covers about 51,000 acres crossing three counties). The ancient Uwharrie mountain range is considered the oldest on the North American Continent. Three trails make a loop in the center of this wilderness, with four spokes providing different trail access points, which makes it easy to choose the length of your hike. Birkhead Mountain Trail is a popular 9.8 mile out and back trail rated moderate that features river views.
Hanging Rock State Park
1790 Hanging Rock Park Road, Danbury, NC 27016
At Hanging Rock Park, you’ll find more than 18 miles of hiking trails that climb to views of mountains, lovely rock outcroppings, and several picturesque waterfalls. Most are moderate or easy, but there are a few strenuous trails for those looking for more of a challenge. This is one of our family favorites for a day trip!
3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap, NC 28668
There are more than 18 miles of moderate and strenuous trails at Stone Mountain State Park. Stone Mountain Loop Trail is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Roaring Gap, North Carolina, which features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Two trailheads both lead to the loop; we’ve heard the upper trailhead provides a better hike.
Mayo River State Park
Mayo River offers a great family expedition with easy, beautiful trails. The park is still under development, and will eventually include the Mayo River corridor from Virginia to the Town of Mayodan. Near the end of the existing trails, you’ll find interesting rock outcroppings that look like they could come alive. Awesome restored pavilion-style picnic shelter designed by renowned architect Antonin Raymond with what a friend recently called “the biggest fireplace you’ve seen in your darn life.” Current trails are a total of around 2 miles, but more are in development.
For More Information
- Our post about Walking Trails in the High Point Area
- Our post about Walking Trails in the Winston-Salem Area
- Our post about Walking Trails in the Greensboro Area
- The NC Division of Parks and Recreation
- The Hiking Upward website
North Carolina is blessed by true mountains to sea environments. From the middle of the state, we're in the ideal location to drive west to Boone and Blowing Rock, Asheville, Brevard, or even East Tennessee; or east to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Goose Creek State Park, or other coastal destinations. Where are some of your favorite places to get outdoors and take a hike (or saunter, or dash, or bike!)? These are just a few of our family's favorites - comment to let us know where else we should explore!
This fall or anytime we can provide you with any assistance related to buying or selling residential property in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Summerfield, Oak Ridge, Jamestown, and other Piedmont Triad areas, call us at (336) 790-5210, email Steve Vincent, and visit our website at greatnest.com for more information. GreatNest is a full-service real estate company serving buyers and sellers that will save you money in buying or selling a home by charging a low set fee instead of a percentage commission. Our experienced real estate professionals are ready to answer your questions or get started looking for the property that suits your taste and budget.