Live Oak Trail

North Carolina State Park & Forest Hikes

I have quickly, and to my immense pleasure, found that North Carolina's State Parks and Forests contain natural wonders to rival and even surpass their more well-known Federal counterparts.  These parks are also amazingly diverse.  By now I've pretty much come to the realization that I'd like to eventually visit each and every one...

Adventure Log:  318.4 miles

Most of the galleries below have two numbers in parenthesis alongside their name. The first is the TOTAL MILEAGE of the route, the second is what I’m calling the “Petzoldt Rating” of DIFFICULTY. Developed by Paul Petzoldt, founder of NOLS, this rating system is the best I’ve found for standardizing the difficulty of hikes. It works as follows: One ‘energy unit’ is given for very mile travelled on flat terrain. You then add one more ‘energy unit’ for every 500-feet of elevation gain. For example, a one mile hike with 1,000-feet of gain would give you a rating of 3.00. Consequently a two mile hike with only 500-feet of gain would also give you a rating of 3.00. Please note, however, these ratings do not take into account weather, rough terrain, fitness level, etc. I’ve divided levels of difficulty into five levels, based on the following Petzoldt difficulty ranges:





10.00-12.49=VERY HARD;

12.50 & up=EXTREME

CLICK HERE for a Google map of hikes in these albums...


NC State Parks & Forests Hikes by Difficulty Rating

Dismal Swamp State Park  (17.04)

Hanging Rock State Park  (15.70)

Crowders Mountain State Park  (13.02)

Headwaters State Forest - Bigspring Lollipop & Dolves Mountain  (12.40)

Headwaters State Forest - Whiteoak/Sassafras Mountain Loop  (12.20)

Grandfather Mountain State Park - Profile Trail  (11.33)

Headwaters State Forest - Bursted Rock Lollipop w/ Hickory Flat Creek Cascades  (11.10)

Headwaters State Forest - Dolves Mountain & Bursted Rock  (10.90)

Gorges State Park - Wintergreen & Chub Line Falls  (10.20)

South Mountains State Park  (10.20)

Goose Creek State Park  (10.10)

Morrow Mountain State Park  (9.74)

Grandfather Mountain State Park  (9.70)

Stone Mountain State Park  (9.40)

Headwaters State Forest - Pickens Mountain Trail & East Fork Falls  (9.20)

Gorges State Park  (9.00)

Mount Mitchell State Park - Big Tom Gap Loop  (8.80)

Mount Mitchell State Park  (8.80)

Grandfather Mountain State Park - Grandfather Trail  (8.36)

Fonta Flora State Trail  (8.04)

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area  (8.00)

Gorges State Park - Maple Spring Branch & Auger Hole Falls  (7.70)

Gorges State Park - Windy Falls  (7.40)

Gorges State Park - Paw Paw Waterfalls  (7.10)

Headwaters State Forest - Reece Place Falls  (7.10)

Chimney Rock State Park  (7.06)

Pettigrew State Park  (6.60)

Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest  (6.40)

Haw River State Park  (6.36)

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area - New Hope Overlook Loop  (6.30)

Gorges State Park - Rainbow Falls Trail  (6.20)

Lake Waccamaw State Park  (6.06)

Lake Norman State Park - Lakeshore Loop Trail  (5.72)

Elk Knob State Park  (5.64)

Gorges State Park - Lower Bearwallow Falls & the Auger Hole  (5.40)

Gorges State Park - Stairway & Sidepocket Falls  (5.40)

Holmes Educational State Forest  (5.30)

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park  (4.98)

Eno River State Park  (4.90)

Pilot Mountain State Park  (4.72)

Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve  (4.34)

Headwaters State Forest - Gordon Mountain & Graveley Falls  (4.30)

Lake James State Park  (4.16)

Carolina Beach State Park  (4.13)

New River State Park - Alleghany County Access  (3.90)

Headwaters State Forest - Reece Place Lollipop  (3.80)

New River State Park - US221 Access  (3.50)

Raven Rock State Park  (3.20)

Goose Creek State Park - East Loop  (3.03)

Jockey's Ridge State Park  (2.80)

Gorges State Park - Bearwallow Valley & Falls Trails  (2.70)

Chimney Rock State Park - World's Edge  (2.60)

Mayo River State Park  (2.42)

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area  (2.21)

Carvers Creek State Park  (2.10)

Headwaters State Forest - Graveley Falls  (1.46)

Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve - Boyd Tract  (1.40)