Come summer, with its 90/90 days (heat/humidity) the last thing on most of our minds is a long hike in the woods. Oceans of sweat, acres of trail-clogging cobwebs, no hydration pack big enough to sate your insatiable thirst. Very understandable, this hike aversion — if you don’t know where to go. For if you do, there are plenty of trails — from North Carolina’s steamy coast, to the stuffy Piedmont to the sun-drenched high country — ideal for summer exploring.
At the coast, you’re wise to incorporate a really large body of saline water in your hike plan. Water is likewise a key ingredient in the Piedmont, though the occasional alpine anomaly also offers relief. In the Appalachians, refreshing waterfalls and elevation combine to offer escape.
We’ve compiled a list of 25 hikes that are especially well-suited to a North Carolina summer, five at the coast, 10 each in the Piedmont and the high country. You can find additional information on each at the links provided and in the references mentioned, “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina” and “Backpacking North Carolina.”
Let your summer hiking adventure begin here.