Ten of the best hikes to take once the air cools and the leaves change

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Leaf peeping season is upon us, so go forth and explore.

Still looking for more? Check out our list of 22 trails within 90 minutes of Charlotte and 10 waterfalls you can see this weekend.

Easy

Hill Trail at Latta Plantation

Distance from Charlotte: 13 miles
Length: 2.7 miles out and back
What to know: You’ll follow mostly gravel maintenance roads before reaching the Beatties Ford Basic Forest national heritage site.

Latta Plantation

Lake Haigler Loop at Anne Springs Close Greenway

Distance from Charlotte: 20 miles
Length: 1.25 mile out and back
What to know: This hike is the Greenway’s most popular and offers the best view of the lake, which has hardwoods on one side and pines on the other. Grab a trail map at the Nature Center to better help you understand the 12 points of interest.

Marion Diehl Trail at Marion Diehl Recreation Center

Distance from Charlotte: 5 miles
Length: 2.5 miles out and back
What to know: The trail gets narrow, so watch out for mountain bikers.

[Related: It’s hard to believe that this trail is in the middle of Charlotte]

Moderate

High Shoals Falls Loop at South Mountains State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 63 miles
Length: 2.5 miles out and back
What to know: The loop is heavily trafficked by hikers, walkers and birders, and is open year-round.

Lake Shore Trail at Lake Norman State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 40 miles
Length: 10 miles out and back
What to know: It’s best to hike this between March and December, and yes, you can bring the dog.

North Main Trail at USNWC

Distance from Charlotte: 15 miles
Length: 3 miles out and back
What to know: The trails are marked for mixed-use, but do get narrow, so pay attention and watch for bikers.

Whitewater-Center-Run

Difficult

Pinnacle Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 28 miles
Length: 3.8 miles out and back
What to know: The last bit of the hike includes a steep climb up a short rock wall for the best views.

Ridgeline Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 28 miles
Length: 16 miles out and back
What to know: The trail connects Crowders Moutain State Park, Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park as part of the 15-mile network between four trails.

Rocktop Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 28 miles
Length: 5 miles out and back
What to know: Brace yourself for steep inclines, a long set of stairs and plenty of rocks to scale.

Stone Mountain Loop Trail at Stone Mountain State Park

Distance from Charlotte: 90 miles
Length: 4.7 miles out and back
What to know: The trail is heavily trafficked and is a steep trek to the summit, but you’ll see the view from the top of the granite bulge, a waterfall and a restored homestead.

stone mountain

Photo via NC Geology

 

 

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Kylie Moore
Writer doubling as a travel, wine, and Oxford Comma enthusiast.