2023 is the Year of the Trail in North Carolina, and we're celebrating by showcasing a different Featured Hike each week. If you'd like to hike with us on one of the Featured Hikes, head to our Trips Calendar and book a private hike!

Pink Beds (Pisgah Forest, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Pink Beds Picnic Area in Pisgah National Forest

This is one of our favorite year-round hikes! Pink Beds is named for the pink wildflowers throughout the valley. It's a mountain wetland, with a mix of boardwalks and dirt trail and several creek crossings. This hike is often muddy. This is a great place to see birds and fish, with so many kinds of wildflowers and mushrooms, there's something to see any time of year! This is about as close to flat as a hike in the mountains gets, and can be completed either of as a 6-mile loop or as a 3.5-mile loop using the cut-through along the Barnett Branch Trail about halfway through.

We offer this as a guided hike! The short version is an excellent Half Day Hike. The long version can be a Half Day Hike for fit hikers, a Full Day Hike for folks who like to hike a little bit slower, or even a beginner-friendly overnight trip!

Lookout Mountain (Montreat, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Lookout Trailhead in Montreat Wilderness
Montreat Wilderness is a private trail network, which is owned and operated by Montreat College and is open to the public

This hike is short but challenging, leads to an incredible view, and is less than 30 minutes from downtown Asheville. Lookout Mountain is a 1.5-mile out-and-back hike that leads to a west-facing rock outcropping, and requires scrambling for the last 0.2 miles before Lookout Rocks. This overlook is just below the true summit of Lookout Mountain. This is a great place to see wildflowers as well, especially along the creek on the lower portion of the hike. You can make this hike longer by creating a loop with Rainbow Road (2 to 2.5 miles total) or with East Ridge Trail and Old Trestle Road (around 5 to 6 miles total).

We offer this as a guided hike! The out-and-back or short loop are excellent options for a Sunset Hike. The short loop also makes a great Half Day Hike. The longer loops can be either a Half Day Hike or a Full Day Hike, depending on how many miles you're comfortable hiking.

Foothills Trail (Upstate SC)

Primary Trailheads: Foothills Trail Trailhead in Oconee State Park (western terminus), Foothills Trail Trailhead in Table Rock State Park (eastern terminus), and several others along the trail

This is a great first thru-hike, or shakedown trip for a longer thru-hike.  The Foothills Trail is a 77-mile long trail between Oconee State Park and Table Rock State Park in upstate South Carolina.  Because it is in Upstate SC, this is a great late fall hike - peak leaf season is typically mid-November.  There are also tons of wildflowers in the springtime, including Oconee Bells along the western portion of the trail.  It also crosses several rivers - Chatooga River, Whitewater River, Thompson River, Horsepasture River, and Toxaway River - along with many small streams and waterfalls.  One thing of note - because of the number of water crossings, it can be treacherous if water levels are high or if there is heavy rain.  The trail is a mixture of dirt trail and old forest road, and is mostly non-technical.  It does include short, challenging sections, such as Heartbreak Ridge, with 302 stairs up and 294 stairs down (if hiking eastbound).  It's a great option for beginner and more advanced backpackers alike!

We do not offer guided hikes on the Foothills Trail.  We do sell the Foothills Trail Pocket Profile and Guidebook, if you'd like to head out on your own!

Deep Creek Loop (Bryson City, NC)

Primary Trailhead: Deep Creek in Great Smoky Mountains

Deep Creek sits just outside Bryson City, NC and has something for everyone! Three large waterfalls are the centerpiece of this hike, but late April and early May is peak wildflower season here! We've seen pink ladyslippers, showy orchis, trumpet honeysuckle, trillium, bellwort, bluet, dwarf crested iris, and so many more. Much of the trail is wide and well-graded, making it accessible for many skill levels. Our favorite hike is a 14-mile loop connecting with the Martins Gap Trail and the Indian Creek Trail (awesome for backpacking or day hiking!), or you can hike the shorter 3-mile loop between Deep Creek and Indian Creek trails. Pack a picnic lunch and eat at the Deep Creek Picnic Area after your hike, spend the rest of the day in Bryson City, bring your fly rod and fish for trout, or rent innertubes and enjoy a rowdy float on Deep Creek!

We offer this as a guided hike!  The short loop makes a great Half Day Hike.  The longer loop is a challenging Full Day Hike or a fantastic beginner or novice Backpacking Trip.