15 Southern Hiking Trails That Go the Distance

Grab your map and pair of hiking boots, and forge ahead on these Southern hiking trails.

Shenandoah Trail in Virginia
Photo: snikeltrut / Getty Images

After being stuck indoors, we're all itching to get outside to soak up some sun and breathe the fresh mountain air. When your interest in the great outdoors reaches fever pitch and you find yourself overcome with wanderlust, take a hike—literally. With so many rocky hills and scenic valleys just begging for exploration, you only have to decide which trails to traverse to witness the magnitude of Mother Nature at her finest.

And while we love the Appalachian Trails, they may not offer the peaceful and solitary adventure you seek. Even if you've already seen a few of these paths, we promise pictures and pullover stops don't do them justice. Grab your backpack and map, put on your hiking boots, and forge ahead because we narrowed down some of the best trails for different skill levels in every nook and corner of the South.

Upper South Trails


Honey Creek Loop—Oneida, Tennessee
Although the hike is short, stretching just five and a half miles, it still offers a challenging descent into water-carved rock formations and creek beds.


Blair Spring Hollow Trail—Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave is the draw for tourists, so the above-ground trail is perfect for crowd-weary people who want to roam alone. The view of the magnolia trees from the lookout is a breathtaking sight.

East Coast Trails


Cape Henry Trail—Virginia Beach, Virginia
You'll enjoy trouncing down this six-mile flat trail, observing the wildlife, salt marshes, and swamps along the way.

The Great Channels—Abingdon, Virginia
Get lost in these bolder formations created by nature. The over 400 million-year-old geological formations create a 20-acre sandstone maze accessible by two different entry points.

South Carolina

Guignard Clay Quarry Loop Trail - Cayce, South Carolina
This off-beaten path is close to Columbia and not particularly challenging. Fortunately, it doesn't receive much foot traffic, making it easier to wander two and a half miles in peace.

North Carolina

Beacon Heights—Linville, North Carolina
This trail offers maximum results with minimum effort, and the stunning view and surroundings of Grandfather Mountain and MacRae Peak await you after a short climb. If you're looking for a longer hike, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail nearby extends to the Atlantic Ocean.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail—Asheville, North Carolina
This moderate trail, a little over one mile, will take you to a 250-foot elevation and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Near Asheville, this trail makes a great escape to watch the sunset. It can be crowded in June, as the rhododendrons are in bloom.

South East Trails


Benton MacKaye Trail—Fall Branch Falls, Georgia
It's lengthy (nearly 300 miles), so it'll require some fancy off-trail footwork to reach. But getting the chance to pass through the backcountry of North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and parts of the Appalachian Mountains is well worth a few weeks of strenuous hiking.

Jacks River Trail—Epworth, Georgia
You can tell just by the name what this southeastern trail promises. It covers the Cohutta wilds and hugs the banks of the crystal-clear Jacks River. The 15-mile hike downstream allows you to go with the flow and witness the beauty of North Georgia's waterfalls.

Powers Island Trail—Sandy Springs, Georgia
The nearby and wildly popular Cochran Shoals Trail also offers a panoramic view of the Chattahoochee River. However, you'll long for the still waters and tranquility experienced at Powers Island instead. Located about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, it's the calm away from the storm.


Conecuh Trail—Wing, Alabama
At the end of this six-mile hike around a hill-covered lap, the picturesque views will be a feast for the eyes, which includes natural wonders like streams, ponds, longleaf pines, and yes, even alligators.

Walls of Jericho Trail—Hytop, AlabamaThe name alone makes for an exciting adventure and conversation starter. The three-mile trail, just outside the city of Huntsville, was given the sacred title because of its 200-foot, cathedral-esque walls. You'll want to throw on your waterproof boots for this one, as the slog downhill can be wet and muddy.


Santa Rosa Creek Trail—Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
For a bit of rest and relaxation away from the crowds at Disney World, trek this wooded terrain with trees and birdwatching to find happiness with the world at your feet.

Torreya Challenge Loop—Bristol, Florida
Because the air typically stays warm and dry in Florida, even during winter, this circuit is perfect for exploring year-round. It extends through marshes and several moderate ridges.

South Central Trails


McKittrick Canyon Trail—Salt Flat, Texas
At roughly 29 miles, this hike, featuring canyons and desert lands, is difficult for less-experienced wayfarers.

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