10 of the Best Hikes in the Southeast USA [2024]

Blue Ridge Parkway

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It’s not a secret that the United States is home to some great hiking trails, but did you know that a lot of the best trails are found in the Southeast? Well, I’ve put together a list of some of the best hikes in the Southeast that are worth checking out.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or just like to explore the occasional trail, this list has options for every level of hiker.

Sandstone Falls

If you’re looking for one of the best hikes in the Southeast, you’re going to want to check out Sandstone Falls. It’s located along the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, and takes you to a massive waterfall that spans 1,500 feet across.

A hiking trail next to a river in West Virginia

Even better, the falls are easily accessible to hikers of all skill levels. Additionally, as you might expect, there are tonnes of great photo opportunities at the falls.

This is the largest waterfall on the New River, so you’re definitely going to want to get a picture.

If you’ve got a fisher in your family, Sandstone Falls is home to some great fishing spots along the way. But if you prefer hiking, there are plenty of other trails that can be hiked after you’ve seen the falls.

Clingman’s Dome

At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the highest mountain in the Smokies and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail. At its peak hikers will be able to see multiple states and up to 100 miles on a clear day.

A view over the trees on the Appalachian Trail.

The Clingmans Dome Trail hike is actually pretty short, and is only half a mile. This makes the beautiful view accessible to a full range of visitors.

However, if you’re looking for more difficult hikes, don’t worry. The Clingmans Dome Trail connects to the Appalachian Trail, which offers plenty of longer and more difficult hikes.

Max Patch

You’ll find Max Patch at the North Carolina-Tennessee border and it has one of the best views of the hikes in the Southeast. From its peak, hikers will be able to see the Great Smoky Mountains, the Black Mountains, and Mount Mitchell.

Sunset over Max Patch.

The hike at Max Patch is fairly easy, but it also connects to the Appalachian Trail, allowing hikers to take on more difficult trails if they would like.

Further, unlike some other trails, Max Patch has a spacious grassy area, which is perfect for picnicking and star gazing.

Providence Canyon

Located in Georgia, Providence Canyon is often referred to as the “Little Grand Canyon” because of its natural canyons that were formed by river erosion.

Providence Canyon

As you might expect, one reason that Providence Canyon is one of the best hikes in the Southeast is because of its vibrant colors. The canyon walls are filled with varied colors and hues of pink, orange, red, and purple.

Views aside, the state park also has over 10 miles of hiking trails. One that you’ll want to check out is the Canyon Loop Trail. The hike will take you through nine different canyons.

Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy Pinnacle is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina and is a great spot for hikers. Its main feature is the panoramic view overlooking the Great Craggy Mountains, which allows you to see Mount Mitchell.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The hike to the summit is actually pretty short and is around 1.4 miles for a round trip. So if you’re looking for an accessible hike, this is a great option.

Outside of that, another reason that Craggy Pinnacle is one of the best hikes in the Southeast is because of the Rhododendron Blooms.

These flowers burst into vibrant shades of pink and purple in early to mid-June. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss.

Babel Tower

Linville Gorge Wilderness

The Babel Tower hike is one of the most popular hikes in the Southeast and is located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

The trail takes you on a three mile hike and leads to a rocky overview of the Linville River.

If you don’t mind hiking a little further, you can head further down the trail to find a swimming hole that is surrounded by massive rock walls.

Desoto State Park

Hiking trail in Alabama.

While it’s not a specific trail, one of the best places to hike in the Southeast is Desoto State Park in Alabama. The park has over 25 miles of hiking trails and some amazing views.

If you’re up for a longer hike, you’ll want to check out the Desoto Scout Trail, which is a 16-mile trail along the Little River. It’ll take you to see some beautiful waterfalls at Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Don’t worry, if that’s too much for you, there are plenty of shorter hikes with beautiful views as well.

Mount Mitchell

Mount Mitchell

North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell Trail definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s one of the best hikes in the Southeast if you’re also interested in backpacking and camping.

The hike itself is around 11 miles and takes over seven hours to complete. A lot of the hike is surrounded by forest and there are plenty of trees and flowers to enjoy along the way.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll be at the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The elevation is 6,684 feet and the view is incredible.

Mount Cammerer

Hiking trail in Tennessee.

The Mount Cammerer trail is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and offers an 11 mile hike that will allow you to see breathtaking views and see historic sites.

Along the trail you’ll find the Sutton Ridge Overlook and the Mount Cammerer Fire Tower. The tower hasn’t been used since the 60s and visitors are welcome to go inside and have a look around.

It’s worth noting that this is a fairly strenuous hike. So be sure to do your research before you head out on the trail.

Cape Henry

First Landing State Park

The Cape Henry Trail is located in Virginia Beach and will take hikers on a 7.5 mile trail through First Landing State Park and an old railroad corridor.

While you’re there, it’s also worth exploring around First Landing State Park. It’s Virginia’s most visited state park and has tons of trails and recreational activities.

Andrew Smith is the owner of Alabama Explorer. When he is not writing about Alabama, you can find him eating at local restaurants, playing with his dog Bruce, or spending time with his family.

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