Best Hikes Within 3 Hours of Union County, NC

By Rachael Weiss ~ Publisher November 16, 2020

With long hours on zoom calls and partially or fully-remote learning, it's time to get out and get active! Here are five of our favorite hikes within three hours of Union County - making them perfect for a quick weekend day-trip.


Crowders Mountain
A quick hour drive from our area, Crowders is a favorite among Charlotteans and is a very easy morning or afternoon trip. It gets crowded, and you'll likely see at least a few familiar faces while you are there - so if you want to hike in relative peace, you may want to go on a weekday. But, because it's so close, that's not really a problem!

Grandfather Mountain
Another favorite of Charlotteans is Grandfather Mountain, which is off the Blue Ridge Parkway about 2.5 hours from our part of town! Park near the start of the Daniel Boone Scout Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway and start heading up toward Grandfather Mountain. This hike isn't for the faint of heart - especially those who have a healthy fear of heights! Along the trail you will find ladders - and some pretty steep climbs. Parts of this hike may not be best for younger kids - or at least not mine! You'll park at 100 Blueridge Parkway and begin your climb from there. 

Morrow Mountain State Park
Located in Albermarle about an hour from Union County, this is an easy one for your kids or hikers of any level. It's primarily flat and you can find several hiking loops ranging from 2 to 4 miles. The trails are wide and allow for your kids to run and roam, without fear that someone will tumble off a cliff! Located at 49104 Morrow Mountain Road, this is a good one for the whole family.

South Mountain State Park
If you love waterfalls, this is your hike. The High Shoal Falls Loop Trail will take you past increasingly large cascades over it’s 2.5-mile course, and its only about 2.5 hours from Union County. The hike itself isn't too difficult and is a good one to take out of town guests or family members who appreciate how gorgeous our state is. You will park at the High Shoals Falls Parking Lot and walk from there. 

Grayson Highlands
Just north of the Virginia border, wild ponies graze the highlands and bears can be found in the woods below. There are a half-dozen well-maintained, easily followed connecting trails that cross with the Appalachian Trail. This hike is great for any animal lover and easy to do with your kids. Want to stay overnight? No problem - there are several manicured campsites available. Hovering at 3 hours from Union County, you'll want to start the hike at Massey Gap