Our Trail Coordinator's 10 Favorite Trails

Get Outside this Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day (the best day of the best month), I’m delighted to share some ideas to get you and your loved ones outside this Spring! I’ve been lucky to get out on lots of the trails in the Piedmont Triad and so I’ve put together a list of some of the stand outs. With so many wonderful places to get outside in North Carolina picking only 10 is not an easy or fair task. I hope you’ll be inspired to try a new trail! We live in a beautiful place and I refuse to take that for granted!

Brianna Haferman, Piedmont Legacy Trails Coordinator

And if you’re looking for more trail ideas in the Triad, follow Piedmont Legacy Trails on Facebook and Instagram for places to get outside!

1. Cook's Wall Trail | Hanging Rock State Park

It’s hard to definitively call anything “the best,” but the overlook at the end of Cook’s Wall Trail in Hanging Rock State Park has a high probability to be the best place to watch the sunset in the whole region. Warm up your legs with a little elevation gain and you’ll reach this stunning view of Pilot Mountain and  the Sauratown  Mountains in the distance.  This trail is truly special and one that I visit again and again.

2. Carter Falls and Powerhouse Trail Loop

Carter Falls Trailhead, Elkin, NC 28621

This 60 foot cascading waterfall is establishing itself as a must-see landmark along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. But this easy-going hike isn’t only about the one waterfall. There are other great views waiting for you here.  If you’re looking for more mileage, begin your hike at the Grassy Creek Vineyard (bringing your total to 4 miles) or Isaac’s Trailhead (total of 6 miles).

3. High Point Greenway

Western Access: 1800 Deep River Road, High Point
Eastern Access: 1220 Penny Rd, High Point, NC 27265 (Piedmont Environmental Center)

The High Point Greenway is a long multi-use paths connecting much of High Point from Armstrong Park to the Piedmont Environmental Center, where it then connects to the Bicentennial Trail.  This greenway has many awesome stretches just calling to be  biked!  My favorite section of the trail is the  most recently created 1.2 mile boardwalk over a wetland forest.  Beautiful is an understatement.

To find this spot you can park at University Park (1800 Deep River Road, High Point) and head north on the Greenway OR park at the   Piedmont Environmental Center and take the greenway south across the road.

4. The Bill Craft Trail | Richardson-Taylor Preserve

Northern Greensboro, near the watershed lakes, has almost endless  trails to explore, but I think this might be my favorite. The forest and the life it holds is the main feature here. In the Spring and Summer it’s incredibly lush  . And the trees! It seems like each one is bigger than the last.  With wildlife overlooks and beaver dams galore, keep your eyes peeled for fauna too. The trail is a smooth natural surface with easy ups and downs.  Enjoy!

5. Joe Moffitt Trailhead to Jumping off Rock Trailhead | Uwharrie Trail

Thayer Rd, Troy, NC 27371

Variety is what you get along the historic Uwharrie Trail. This particular section takes you both to valley creeks and peak overlooks. Starting at the Joe Moffitt trailhead, a quick climb leads you to this colorful meadow on the top of Little Long Mountain. It’s the highlight of this stretch and one of the best views in the Uwharries. Descend down the mountain to a creek known as Poison Fork which will be your companion before another quick climb. This hike can serve as your introduction to the wonderful opportunities for hiking in this treasured section of the Piedmont Triad.

6. Haw River Trail | Swepsonville River Park

Upper Access: 2472 Boywood Road, Swepsonville
Lower Access: 2698 Boywood Road, Swepsonville

At Swepsonville River Park get ready for a flat, sandy, 2 mile stroll along the grassy banks of the Haw River. Be on the lookout for blue herons and for turtles sunning themselves on a log. The upper entrance has a cool rock feature and just a bit downstream you can see the remnants of an old dam.

7. Pilot Creek Trail | Pilot Mountain State Park

Peaceful: If I had to sum up this trail in one word. Get away from the noise and come to Pilot Creek Trail.  The mountaintop sections of Pilot Mountain State Park are often stirring with crowds, but not down here. From the small gravel parking lot at the address above, the trail rolls up and down small hills  and cuts across little creeks until it connects with the Grindstone Trail and Mountain Trail to add onto your trip.

Piedmont Land Conservancy was a major partner in acquiring this land, adding 70 acres  to Pilot Mountain State Park. A huge thank you to the Friends of Sauratown Mountains for building the trail. It takes a community to make wonderful places like this a reality.

8. Mayo River Trail | Mayo River State Park

113 Deshazo Road, Stoneville, NC 27048

At the top of the Triad right next to the State Line, you’ll find your next favorite hike. Passing by a gorgeous waterfall and snuggling into a bend of the Mayo River, this trail is all about the (surprisingly blue) water. It’s part of the Mayo River State Park and is located at the very top of the NC border. Though this hike has a bit of distance, it’s mostly flat. On a warm day you’ll be tempted to lie out on the sandy trail and stay a while.

To learn more about this trail see the guide on the Piedmont Legacy Trails Website.

9. Yadkin River Nature Trail | Tanglewood Park

One of  my favorite  trails in the Winston-Salem area is this one. Way at the back of Tanglewood Park along the wide and steady flowing Yadkin River you’ll find 2.46 miles of trail. 

Touring through the woods and into open meadows this trail truly is a prime spot for wildlife viewing. It is mostly flat with a natural surface along the river and a gravel road that doubles as the trail to complete the loop. Please be aware that if there has been a heavy rain this trail is known to flood.

Thanks to the  Forsyth Audubon  this trail features interpretive signage to teach you tons about local bird species. Please note that Tanglewood Park charges $2 for entry into this section of the park.  To get to the trailhead follow the entrance road until you see River Birch Creek Road on your right. Pass the golf course on your left and drive down the one lane road. Parking will be on your left, across from the lake.

10. Boone's Cave Park

Rumored home of the famed Daniel Boone, the caves along the banks of the Yadkin River are a unique part of this park, but they’re not the only attraction. This Park has an extensive trail system with 7 other miles of trail to explore too. A lot of the flora here resembles that of the Appalachian Mountains. The view of the Yadkin opens up in the fall and winter making this a great park to visit in all seasons. If you’re in need of a long walk in the woods, Boone’s Cave Park checks a lot of boxes, including less crowds. Due to recent flooding a few of the boardwalk trails have been washed away and may not reflect exactly what’s on the map.

If you're looking for more trail suggestions...

Head over to PiedmontTrails.org. We’ve got trail guides for all kinds of Triad trail exploration