Top Winter Hiking Trails

Winter Hiking provides a unique hiking experience that you can't get any other time of the year.   The benefits of Winter Hiking include:

  • Better views
  • No bugs, and limited wildlife (if you prefer not to see any)
  • Cooler temperatures and no humidity
  • Fewer hikers
  • Possible Snow!

While some of you may disagree on the enjoyment of the last one, hiking in the snow is not only gorgeous, but incredibly quiet and peaceful.   Waterfalls, creeks and streams surrounded by snow and ice are simply gorgeous as well.  If it's cold enough, you might even find some frozen waterfalls along the way, which is a real treat!

If you prefer to not encounter wildlife while hiking, you'll find many creatutres are less active in the winter, such as: Snakes and Bears.

Winter Hiking

Our Picks for Top Winter Hikes

Below are some of our top winter hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains.   You can click on "Learn More" link in each trail, to view our full guide containing photos, directions, details and a walkthrough of the trail.

View By Location:

Big Creek Trail
Big Creek Trail, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one our personal favorite trails. Within a 5.5 mile roundtrip hike, you get to hike through a heavily wooded forest, alongside one of the largest and fastest flowing creeks in the park, visit 2 waterfalls. Learn More »
Boogerman Trail
This is nearly 8 mile roundtrip and moderate - strenuous hike is full of history, creeks, dense old hardwood forest, and some of the largest trees you'll see in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Learn More »
Cove Creek Loop Trail
A really nice remote trail that takes you through some beautiful deep forest and includes a nice waterfall. Located in Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard NC. Learn More »
Deep Creek Loop Trail
This moderate loop trail is a 4.6 mile hike that will take you through the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to three separate waterfalls. An amazing hike, especially in the Spring and Fall. Learn More »
Flat Laurel Creek Trail to Wildcat Falls
Wildcat Falls is located in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. The falls are a short hike from Highway 215 and close to The Blue Ridge Parkway. Very nice easy-moderate hike and waterfall. Great family hike. Learn More »
Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls
Gabes Mountain Trail is an easy to moderate hike that begins at the Cosby Campground in Tennessee and takes you down to the 90 foot tall Hen Wallow Falls. Learn More »
Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch
This 1.5 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail provides stunning and long range 360 degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The grass covered fields at the top provide a wonderful location for picnics, playing, and kite flying. Learn More »
Kephart Prong Trail
Kephart Prong is a very pretty out and back trail that takes you alongside creeks, through an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp, and out to Kephart Shelter. Lots of Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, and wildflowers. Learn More »
Little Bradley Falls
Little Bradley Falls is an exceptionally beautiful 50 foot multi-tiered waterfall near Saluda, North Carolina. This gorgeous waterfall is at the end of an easy and almost two mile roundtrip hike. Learn More »
Little River Trail
Little River Trail, located in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National is a fun trail full of interesting history, and has an optional loop hike, and small waterfall. Learn More »
Lower Bubbling Springs Creek Falls
A nice waterfall, located on a .5 mile roundtrip hike, just off Highway 215 and near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Learn More »
Lower Sam Branch Falls
Lower Sam Branch Falls is located off Highway 215 in NC, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Falls is one of three waterfalls, very close to each other. The hike out is only .5 miles roundtrip. Learn More »
Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove Falls is a beautiful 50' waterfall that you can get in and go behind. The trail to the falls is very nice and short as well. The waterfall is located on Highway 276 in North Carolina, near the popular Looking Glass Falls. Learn More »
Porters Creek Trail
Porters Creek Trail is a 4 mile round trip hike out to Fern Branch Falls and back. The trail is famous for an abundance of wild flowers that literally blanket the forest floor all around the trail in early April. The Trail is easy-moderate and located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Learn More »
Rainbow Falls Trail
Rainbow Falls Trail located in Gorges State Park, NC is a really nice deep woods hike, that begins in Gorges State Park and ends in Pisgah National Forest at either Rainbow Falls or Turtleback Falls. Learn More »
Rough Fork Trail
This 4-mile roundtrip wooded hike in Cataloochee Valley takes you up to the historic Woody House. A very nice easy-moderate trail, that is great for families. Learn More »
Waterfalls Trail - Dupont State Forest
This out and back trail takes you to 4 of the 6 waterfalls in Dupont State Forest if you do the entire 8-mile roundtrip hike. But you can tailor the hike to your needs and adjust the length. This is a very nice hike with beautiful waterfalls, some featured in major motion pictures. Learn More »
Whitewater Falls NC
Whitewater Falls near Sapphire NC is a 411 foot and stunning waterfall. The paved trail to the waterfall is easy and handicap accessible. Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. Learn More »
Pretty Hollow Gap Trail
Pretty Hollow Gap Trail is a 8 mile round trip out and back trail, that follows along side Palmer Creek and Pretty Hollow Creek to Pretty Hollow Gap in Cataloochee Valley. The trail ends and runs into Mount Sterling Ridge Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail, a nearly 300 mile long trail.
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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