Favorite Local Hiking TrailsPosted on 07/29/20
This directory is sponsored by Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC), a local non-profit organization whose purpose is to protect these special places to help ensure clean water for our communities, habitat for our wildlife, locally grown food, parks and trails, and other places for people to connect with nature. Since its founding in 1990, PLC has protected more than 200 of our region’s special places. Learn more on its website here.
Most people know the views from the peak of Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock, but we keep hearing, “Where else can I hike?” and we LOVE that question. There are a lot of things that make the Triad a wonderful place to live, but at the top of our list is exploring the natural beauty, diverse ecology, and history of our region – all done through some beautiful trails.
We’ve gotten to know the trails in the North Carolina Triad for some time now and below is our list of the underrated hiking trails that deserve a whole lot more credit, plus some of the more popular ones. Note that this list is hardly comprehensive. There are many more trails out there to enjoy, and the list continues to grow. Check out our Online Trail Map to find what’s near you, and stay tuned to trail updates and guides by following Piedmont Legacy Trails on Facebook and Instagram.
Great Bend Park on the Haw River Trail
Address: 350 Greenwood Drive, Burlington, NC 27217
Distance: 3.5 miles
Details: The sights on the trails at Great Bend Park are truly stunning, but it’s the relaxing acoustics of the river pouring over the system of historic dams that take it to the next level. Walking the island trail (pictured) is an astonishingly effective form of stress relief. We all could use some of that right now. This area also connects to both the Haw River Trail, a planned 70 mile trail along the Haw, and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, NC’s long-distance statewide trail. It’s a wonderful convergence of history and natural beauty- enjoy!
Company Mill Preserve
Address: Western Trailhead: Hagan-Stone Park on the cul-de-sac at the end of Cedar Rd; Eastern Trailhead: 6344 Company Mill Road, Climax, NC 27233
Distance: 3 miles
Details: Company Mill Preserve is growing in popularity, but since the newest portion of the trail just opened in October 2019, maybe you can get to this beautiful preserve before everyone else does. With both long boardwalks past beaver dams and higher land of mature forests and an old homestead, the 3 mile trail gives you remarkable variety. What not so long ago was a marshy area that collected a lot of trash has been transformed with tremendous clean-up and trail building efforts into a fun place to explore and a valuable habitat for wildlife. Situated next to Hagan-Stone Park (another wonderful place to hike), the trail has two entrances. The trailhead on the West comes out of Hagan-Stone Park and the one on the East side starts you off at the dam and boardwalks off Company Mill Road.
The Dam Trail at Yadkin Memorial Park
Address: 1142 Crystal Lane, Yadkinville, NC 27055
Distance: 2 miles
Details: We explored this glassy lake on a sunny morning and have been telling people about its beauty ever since. Yadkin Memorial Park burst onto the recreation scene with this beautiful land in 2014. The Dam trail, built within the last year, hugs the banks of the Lake Hampton Reservoir out to the Dam. The additions here are ever growing with more trails planned. If you’re in need of a peaceful lakeside stroll in solitude, then look no further. To learn more about this trail, see our blog.
Riverbluffs Trail at Hanging Rock State Park
Address: 1258 Flinchum Road, Danbury, NC 27016
Distance: 1.3 mile loop
Details: Did you know we had these gorgeous cliffs in the Piedmont? With all those mountain tops to explore in Hanging Rock State Park this trails seems to get left behind. It is criminally underrated. The trail explores the Dan River and the views might be enough to make you come back with a kayak. Another pro: With all the conserved land nearby this is a wonderful place to spot wildlife. The Riverbluffs Trail at Hanging Rock is an easy loop with a lot of reward. To learn more about this trail see our blog.
Faith Rock Trail and the Deep River State Trail Franklinville
Address: Western Trailhead: 1306 Andrew Hunter Dr, Franklinville, NC; Eastern Trailhead: 435 Rising Sun Way, Franklinville, NC 27248
Details/Map: piedmonttrails.org/maps-routes/faith-rock-trail and piedmonttrails.org/maps-routes/deep-river-state-trail-franklinville-section
Distance: 2.25 miles
Details: This wonderful combo of trails is a perfect day hike. Faith Rock Trail loops you through a preserve (thanks Piedmont Land Conservancy!) and up onto a 50 foot blue stone outcrop overlooking the river. Just across the historic bridge (pictured) the connecting trail, the Deep River State Trail, leads you down a repurposed rail line through a town park, past a old textile factory, and into a peaceful forest. See the map on to plan your trip. The Deep River State Trail is a developing land and water trail with 3 sections of multi-use trail on the ground: Franklinville, Ramseur, and Randleman. It was hard for me not to put the others on this list too! Check them out.