Here Are the Top 7 Western NC State Parks You Need to Visit

Every year, thousands of people come to our area to reach towering peaks, hike through shady forests, and capture the perfect photo of a scenic overlook. Exploring our Western NC state parks is a favorite thing to do of many of our guests. Spend the day in the great outdoors, then come back and relax at Orchard Inn!

7 of the Best Western NC State Parks

DuPont State Forest

DuPont State Forest is a great place to bring the entire family– including your dog! Your four-legged friend is welcome throughout the park as long as they are leashed and will enjoy the sights and sounds of nature just as much as you do. There are over 10,000 acres of beautiful forest to explore.

Inside, you’ll find mile after mile of hiking trails. These trails are shared by hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, so keep an eye out during your trek. We recommend hiking one of the trails that leads to a waterfall. Our favorite is the DuPont State Forest 7-Mile Waterfall Hike. This loop takes you through shaded paths, under covered bridges, and past three waterfalls: Triple, High, and Bridal Veil.

Pisgah National Forest

The beautiful Pisgah National Forest spans more than 500,000 acres. This particular forest has been broken up into four districts, the closest being the Pisgah Ranger District. We always include this on our list of our favorite Western NC state parks because there is so much to do! Explore hundreds of miles of trails to see natural wonders such as rock formations, scenic overlooks, and powerful waterfalls.

Chimney Rock State Park

Visitors travel for miles to see the views at Chimney Rock State Park. The park itself spans for 6,807 acres, but the main attraction is Chimney Rock itself. Located near the peaceful Lake Lure, this 1,000-acre rock is a piece of history that is not to be missed. With an elevation of 2,480 feet, you can see the entire park from the top of the rock. Take the challenging Skyline Trail all the way up or opt for the elevator ride to see the views.

Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell State Park is about an hour and a half away from Orchard Inn, making it a great option for a day trip. When you arrive at this park, take a moment to take it all in. You’ll have a beautiful view of the Black Mountains. Standing at 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the tallest peak here. Hiking and birding are the most popular activities to enjoy, so bring a pair of binoculars to keep an eye out for rare species as you trek through the trails!

Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park is a nature lover’s dream. Located a little more than an hour away from Orchard Inn, this easy drive will bring you to a beautiful forest. Hiking, backpacking, and fishing are the most popular activities here. Trek through this 7,500-acre park to see sheer rock cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, and a plethora of wildlife. This state park is relatively new, so go check it out!

Kings Mountain State Park

Kings Mountain State Park is technically in South Carolina, but because it is right over the border, we’re putting it on our list. It’s only a little more than an hour away from Orchard Inn! This park is home to 30 miles of equestrian trails, more than 20 miles of hiking trails, and two lakes that offer excellent fishing. This park is also part of the Ridgeline Trail that connects three parks and two states!

South Mountains State Park

South Mountains State Park is best known for its 80-foot waterfall, elevations of more than 3,000 feet, and more than 40 miles of trails open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. If you enjoy mountain biking, this is the best Western NC state park for you. There’s a 17-mile loop for just mountain bikers! Come here to explore and pack a picnic to eat by one of the many streams or at one of the two picnic areas.

Book Your Getaway and Start Exploring Today!

Make Orchard Inn your home base while you visit these Western NC state parks! As locals, we know all the best places to explore, and we are more than happy to give you our recommendations. We even have a hiking trail right on our property that we love walking our dogs on every morning.

During your stay at Orchard Inn, you get to wake up to a delicious breakfast made from scratch. Start your day off right to prepare yourself for the adventures ahead! Spend the day hiking, then come back in time for your reservation at Newman’s Restaurant. Split a bottle of wine and reminisce on the natural beauty you experienced. Browse our accommodations and book your stay today! We can’t wait to host you at our mountain retreat.