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Blue Ridge Mountains Hiking Trails

Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the most popular and enjoyable outdoor activities you can do when visiting.

If you're looking for an outdoor adventure that combines breathtaking scenery, a rich history, and challenging trails, then hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect choice. 

Fortunately, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia have nearly 5,000 miles of hiking trails with 3,000 of those being in Western North Carolina. The biggest problem is choosing which Blue Ridge Mountain hiking trails to explore!

This guide will help you do that.  Our Blue Ridge Mountains hiking guide will help you find the perfect trails for you to visit and explore.   Each one of our trail guides contains photos, directions, tips, information, and often a video to help you decide which trails are right for you.   

Let's dive in and go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Last Updated: 5/7/2023

What is Hiking?

Hiking is a form of outdoor recreation that involves walking on trails or paths in natural areas. Hiking can range from short, easy walks to multi-day backpacking trips through rugged terrain. Hiking can be done almost anywhere, from local parks to national parks, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

Hiking is usually done for recreational purposes, although it can also be a form of exercise, adventure, or exploration. It is a great way to connect with nature, improve physical fitness, and reduce stress. Hikers may also enjoy the scenery, wildlife, and natural features along the way, and may choose to camp, picnic, or take photographs during their hike.

How to Start Hiking

What is Hiking

If you're new to hiking, getting started can seem a bit overwhelming. But don't worry, with a little bit of preparation, anyone can enjoy hiking.

First, you'll want to choose a trail that's appropriate for your skill level. If you're new to hiking, start with a short, easy trail and work your way up to more challenging hikes as your skills improve. It's also important to consider the distance, elevation gain, and terrain of the trail before setting out.

Beginners will want to begin their hiking journey by Day Hiking first, then progress into more difficult and longer trails over time.  Then move into overnight and multi-day hikes if interested.  All of the hikes covered in this guide are Day Hikes.

Oboz Hiking Boots from the side

Next, make sure you bring essential day hiking gear. Good hiking shoes or boots are essential for comfort and safety on the trail. You'll also want to wear appropriate clothing for the weather and bring along plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled throughout your hike. Other essential gear includes a trail maps, compass, or GPS device, a first aid kit, and a whistle.

Once you're on the trail, it's important to stay safe and respectful of the natural environment. Stick to designated trails and follow Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and avoiding damaging or disturbing plants and wildlife.

Tips for Enjoying Your Hike

Hiking can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, but it's important to take a few precautions to make sure your hike is safe and enjoyable.

First, make sure you're hydrated and fueled up before you start your hike. Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy meal or snack to give you the energy you need to complete your hike.

It's also important to pace yourself and take breaks when needed. Don't push yourself too hard and take breaks as needed to rest and recharge.

Another tip for enjoying your hike is to stay present in the moment and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Take time to enjoy the scenery, listen to the birds chirping, and smell the fresh air.

Finally, always be prepared for the unexpected. Weather conditions can change quickly on the trail, so make sure you're prepared with appropriate hiking essentials

Day Hiking Essentials - What to pack

Bringing the right gear when hiking not only makes for a better and more enjoyable hike, but a safer hike as well.   Check out our Day Hiking Essentials Guide, they just may save you life!

The Best Hiking Trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Max Patch Hiking

The Blue Ridge Mountains, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, are a hiker's paradise, offering some of the best hiking trails on the East Coast. With a variety of terrain and ecosystems.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to countless trails for hikers of all levels to explore.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the best hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, from challenging treks to scenic walks, that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. 

These articles highlight the very best hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains:

Hiking Trails Near You

Max Patch NC

No matter what town you're staying in or staying near in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you're bound to have some hiking and waterfalls nearby.   Here is a selection of our "hiking trails near me" posts to help you find hiking trails ... near you!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hiking Trails

Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vast wilderness area that straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. With over 800 miles of hiking trails, the park offers endless opportunities for hikers to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Here are some of the top hiking trails to check out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails

Mount Pisgah Trail

Photo by: The Wandering Viewfinder Photography

Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina is a mecca for hikers, offering a vast network of trails that wind through some of the most scenic areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

From short, simple walks to challenging overnight hikes, Pisgah National Forest has trails for hikers of all skill levels.

Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking Trails

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a well known scenic road that winds through the upper elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. It's a popular destination for tourists, offering stunning views of the mountains, forests, and valleys of the region.

But the parkway is also home to a a great many hiking trails that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area up close.

Hiking Trails in NC

Rhododendron at Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo by: Making Memories Photography

North Carolina is a hiker's paradise, offering more than 900 miles of stunning hiking trails for all levels of fitness and experience.

From the highest peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the lush forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the region is home to an abundance of beautiful and well maintained hiking trails that attract outdoor enthusiasts from around the world.

Here are some of the best hiking trails in Western NC:

Top Blue Ridge Mountain Hiking Videos

Here are just a few of our top hiking videos from our YouTube Channel!


Hiking Trails in GA

Coming soon!

Hiking Trails in TN

Coming soon!

Hiking Trails in VA

Coming soon!

Blue Ridge Mountains Hiking Trails FAQ

What is the best time of year to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains?

The best time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains depends on your preferences and what you want to experience. Each season offers its own unique charms and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Spring (March to May) is a beautiful time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, with blooming wildflowers and mild temperatures. Hiking trails can be muddy during this time of year, but the waterfalls are at their peak flow and the scenery is breathtaking.

Summer (June to August) is a popular time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, with warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. It's a great time to go hiking, fishing, or camping, and to enjoy the many outdoor festivals and events in the area.

Fall (September to November) is arguably the most beautiful time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, as the leaves change to vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. It's a great time for hiking and enjoying the stunning fall foliage, as well as attending festivals and events celebrating the harvest season.

Winter (December to February) is a quieter time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, with colder temperatures and the possibility of snow. It's a great time for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, as well as enjoying cozy cabins and indoor activities like visiting museums or attending concerts.

How many hiking trails are on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road that runs for 469 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, provides access to a variety of hiking trails along the way. While there is no official count of the number of hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is estimated that there are over 350 miles of hiking trails in total.

These trails vary in length and difficulty, from short walks to longer, more strenuous hikes. Some of the most popular hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway include the Crabtree Falls Trail, the Linville Falls Trail, and the Roan Mountain Trail.

Does Blue Ridge have Waterfalls?

Yes, the Blue Ridge Mountains are home to many beautiful waterfalls. The region's steep terrain and abundant rainfall provide the perfect conditions for waterfalls to form, and many of the hiking trails in the area offer opportunities to see these natural wonders up close.

Some of the most popular waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains include Crabtree Falls, Linville Falls, and Whitewater Falls

Does the Appalachian Trail go through the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Yes, the Appalachian Trail goes through the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, a significant portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains, spanning over 550 miles from Georgia to Virginia. The trail follows the ridgeline of the mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding valleys and peaks.

Hikers on the Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains can expect to encounter a variety of terrain, including rocky outcroppings, lush forests, and open meadows. With its challenging terrain and spectacular scenery, the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Trail is a favorite among hikers from around the world.

To easily hike along a gorgeous portion of the Appalachian Trail, visit Max Patch NC.

Do people hike the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Yes, people hike the Blue Ridge Mountains regularly, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Blue Ridge Mountains offer a wide variety of hiking trails for people of all ages and skill levels. From easy, family-friendly walks to challenging, multi-day hikes, there is something for everyone in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area's stunning natural beauty, including lush forests, sparkling waterfalls, and scenic vistas, attracts hikers and nature enthusiasts from all over the world. 

In addition to hiking, visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, and rock climbing.

Where are the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains?

The Blue Ridge Mountains offer many breathtaking views, and there are several locations where visitors can take in the stunning scenery.

Here are some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains: Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, Craggy Gardens, Max Patch, Chimney Rock State Park, and Mount Mitchell State Park.  See more of our top picks.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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