Be a Hiker for the Day | Charlotte's got a lot | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
The official travel resource

Be a Hiker for the Day

Summer's heat and humidity are finally tapering off, which makes September the perfect time to pack your gear and test out some of the area's best hiking spots. Whether you're an advanced trailblazer or are lacing up your boots for the first time, here are some of the Queen City's best options.

By Lauren Levine

Climb Crowders Mountain State Park

Crowders Mountain should be on every Charlotte resident’s bucket list. Choose from 11 trails with varying degrees of difficulty. When you reach the top, you’ll have a breathtaking 25-mile view worthy of several Instagram pictures. The park is located in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, about a 45-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte.

Trek the trails at U.S. National Whitewater Center

The U.S. National Whitewater Center plays host to a whole range of outdoor activities, from whitewater rafting to paddleboarding, ropes courses and more. The center is also home to over 20 miles of lush trails that wind along the Catawba River. Bring your four-legged friends for your trek as long as they’re on a leash.

Explore for miles at McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve offers hikers nine different trails to explore, totaling 7 miles of hiking. Choose from easy or moderate options, depending on your skill level and the type of experience you want. If you’re looking to make a weekend out of the excursion, hike during the day and then camp at night on the 56-site campground. Don’t forget the s’mores ingredients.

Three to See

This Huntersville nature preserve is the county’s largest and offers a full day’s worth of activities. The preserve features 16 miles of hiking trails and is the only property in the county that allows horseback riding. While you’re there, explore the Nature Center, pack a lunch and dine al fresco at the picnic area, or visit the Carolina Raptor Center to see powerful birds of prey in action. 

  • Hiking Meetup: Charlotte/Piedmont areas

Blaze new trails and meet your new favorite hiking partner when you join this Charlotte-area meetup. The group hosts different types of hiking experiences that range from moderately challenging excursions to cardio-focused outings and casual nature walks. Hiking spots fill the area as do places for overnight excursions. Join the group by visiting

If you want a hike with a view, a trip to Lake Norman State Park is a must. The Alder and Dragonfly trails are perfect for beginners, while more experienced adventurers can take on the Lake Shore trail.


For more adventures in Charlotte, check out Charlotte Itineraries: Follow Your Passion.

This article ran in the September 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.