The Best Hiking Spots Within 2 hours of North Carolina’s Triad

One positive of 2020 has been having the time to explore many more places within our state, and a lot of new hiking spots. Here are some parks and nature preserves we have explored this year, along with some that are still on our to-do list! They are all located within 2 hours (most closer to 1 hour or less) from North Carolina’s Triad area of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point.

  • Mayo River State Park – a short 10 minute hike to the beautiful Fall Creek Falls in the video above.
  • Triad Park – several short loop trails, volleyball courts, soccer and baseball fields, horseshoe pits, a nice disc-golf course and a bouldering park for children.
  • Gibson Park – multiple trails and miles of Greenway for running and biking.
  • Rich Fork Preserve – lots of historical buildings, some creek crossings, and nice bridges along the trails. Popular for mountain biking.
  • Cascades Preserve – this one has a more remote feel to it and has fun spots to play in the river and a rope bridge.
  • Salem Lake Trail – beautiful loop trail around the lake, but watch out for bikes.
  • Quarry Park – you can walk out on the overlook to see the beautiful views of the quarry and there are paved paths here but didn’t really see any trails in the woods.
  • Bur-Mil Park – several miles of nice trails here right by the water and a great place to spot turtles.
  • Jaycee Park – a nice paved area to walk around the lake – the loop is around 2-3 miles and this park connects to Country Park.
  • Greensboro Botanical Gardens – a lovely place for a date – we had engagement photos taken here.
  • Guilford Courthouse National Military Park – a nice place to brush up on your local history with the monuments and statues, a lot of nice trails here, both paved and in the woods, and a great place to spot deer.
  • Gateway Nature Preserve – this has both paved paths and trails in the woods, a dog park, and an outdoor fitness park.
  • Richardson Taylor Preserve – one mile loop and a 3+ mile trail that is fairly strenuous due to all the hills and switchbacks.
  • Guilford County Farm – interesting spot where you can hike the prison trail, spot a lot of birds, and maybe even a snapping turtle like we did. Much of the trail is out in the open but it goes into the woods at the end.
  • Horizons Park – a large park with 2 hiking loops that are at least one mile each, a large disc golf course, dog park, and volleyball court.
  • Knight Brown Nature Preserve – this is in an unexpected spot at the end of neighborhood but the Creekside Loop is pretty but can be muddy.
  • Bethabara Park – gravel trails in the woods with outdoor fitness stations along the way.
  • Haw River State Park – a great place for birdwatching and a nice lake area as well with hiking paths all around it.
  • Bethania Trailhead – some historic areas here and paths in the grass fields and through the woods, but beware of mosquitoes!
  • Company Mill Preserve – the best part is the waterfall at the start of the trail and the nice boardwalks, along with the fact that this park connects to Hagan-Stone Park.
  • Bold Moon Preserve – you’ll probably have this place all to yourself – the half mile path to the creek is incredibly serene but bring a stick for spiderwebs.
  • Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail – so many different types of scenery on this trail – ponds, historic mill stones, bridges, a bamboo forest, cows, old stone structures and more. Site of the annual Running of the Cows 5k.
  • Boone’s Cave Park – several challenging trails here along with some shorter ones by the water – Daniel Boone hid out in these caves, according to local legend.
  • Hanging Rock State Park – great place to hike and camp – read our full experience here.
  • Purgatory Mountain Trail Head – this trail is located in the parking lot of the NC Zoo – the first section is flat, but pretty much straight up after that – the top is under construction to have a viewing tower in the future.
  • Stone Mountain State Park – 1.4 miles to the summit is grueling with a lot of switchbacks (trekking poles and water recommended), but the view is spectacular!
  • Pisgah Covered Bridge – just a small hiking loop here, but the bridge is the main attraction – worth a stop.

Related: Enjoy a Weekend at Virginia’s Natural Tunnel State Park

NC Parks & Trails Still On Our List

  • Hagan-Stone Park
  • Great Bend Park
  • Guilford Mackintosh Park
  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area
  • Pilot Mountain State Park
  • Tot Hill Farm Trailhead
  • New River State Park
  • Three Top Mountain Game Lands
  • Birkhead Mountains Wilderness
  • Cedarock Park
  • Faith Rock
  • Jumping Off Rock Trailhead
  • Saxapaw Island Park
  • Yadkin Memorial Park
  • Carolina Thread Trail
  • Carter Falls Trail Head
  • Power House Trail Head
  • Buffalo Creek Preserve
  • Cumberland Knob, Gully Creek Trailhead
  • South Mountains State Park

Related: Hiking to Lake Agnes Tea House in Banff National Park

Do you have any favorite trails or suggestions for any parks and preserves I should add to my list? Before you go, check out my Hiking Instagram page for photos and more details on these parks and more.

Thanks for reading!


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