Best Hiking Trails Near Greensboro, NC

You don’t have to head to the North Carolina mountains for good hiking trails, you can find there are plenty of hiking trails in and near Greensboro, NC.  Whether you’re looking for the perfect weekend day hike or a quick after-work walk, there are plenty of options to get Outdoors in North Carolina locally. 

North Carolina’s Triad offers trails for every hiker, from easy to difficult, long or short mileage, and open fields to dense forest.

Here are the best hiking trails in and around Greensboro, North Carolina. 

You may also like:
The Best Beginner and Family Friendly Hikes in the Triangle

The Greensboro Watershed Trails

Just minutes from downtown, the watershed lakes trails offer some of the best and most accessible hiking in Greensboro. It’s a complex area including trails around Lake Brandt, Lake Townsend, and Lake Jeannette, as well as several nearby County Parks.

Whether you plan to hike or mountain bike, this popular area is the answer. The Watershed boasts 8 trails for hiking and 7 trails open to hikers and cyclists, plus the Greenway which connects here and there. In addition, several nearby County Parks have their own trails.

Depending on where you get your map, the number of trails and names change a bit. I’m using a printed guide from 2017 and the Greensboro Parks and Recreation website

The trails vary in difficulty, so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences. Most are one-way, but you can put several together to create interesting loops.

View of Lake Brandt with clouds reflected in the water as seen through a gap in two trees on the right and left in front.

Watershed Hiking Trails

Nat Greene Trail

  • 3.25 miles one-way
  • Begins at Lake Brandt Marina and ends at Old Battleground Road. The main feature is a 200-foot boardwalk near Old Battleground Road.

Palmetto Trail

  • 1.59 miles one-way
  • Begins at Old Battleground Road near the intersection with Drawbridge Parkway and ends at the intersection with the A&Y Greenway.

Laurel Bluff Trail

  • 3.25 miles one-way
  • Begins at North Church Street and ends at Lake Brandt Road.

Piedmont Trail

  • 2.75 miles one-way
  • Begins near Strawberry Road on the A&Y Greenway and ends at Bur-Mil Park. The main feature is a bridge that crosses Lake Brandt.

West House Trail

  • 0.7 miles one-way
  • Begins on North Church Street across from the Crockett Trail and ends at the historic home site known as the West House.

Peninsula (Crockett) Trail

  • 1.19 miles one-way
  • Begins at North Church Street near the Laurel Bluff Trail and ends at North Church Street near West House Trail.

Osprey Trail

  • 2.3 miles one-way
  • Begins at North Church Street and ends at Yanceyville Road.

Townsend Trail

  • 3.8 miles one-way
  • Begins at Yanceyville Road and ends at South Shore Road near the soccer fields.
Large blue trailhead sign for Owl's Roost Trail in a wooded area.

Watershed Hiking and Biking Trails

Bald Eagle Trail

  • 4.13 miles, with an additional 1.18-mile loop near Lewiston Road
  • Begins at Hamburgmill Road near Lake Higgins Marina and ends at Lewiston Road.

Copperhead Trail

  • 5 miles
  • Begins and ends inside Country Park.

Blue Heron Trail

  • 4.2 miles one-way
  • Begins at Plainfield Road and ends at Yanceyville Road.

King Fisher Trail

  • 1.25 miles
  • Begins and ends at Yanceyville Road.

Owls Roost Trail

  • 4.25 miles
  • Mountain bikers love this trail. It was voted the best urban ride in the country by Bicycling Magazine in 2003. There’s a 1-mile section called Shady Side Trail that is MTB only. 
  • Begins and ends at Bur-Mil Park.

Wild Turkey

  • 4.46 miles one-way
  • Begins at the Lake Brandt Marina and ends at the A&Y Greenway. Parallels the Nat Green Hiking Trail. There are a few bridges that both trails share crossing creeks.

Reedy Fork

  • 3.51 miles one-way
  • Begins at Lake Brandt Road and ends at Plainfield Road. Prone to flooding at the Lake Townsend end.
Fishing pier in shape of a T with pink and blue sun umbrella and man fishing.

Bur-Mill Park

Locals love this park. Located inside the watershed area, it offers a mix of paved and unpaved trails that wander through lush forest and alongside a pretty lake. The facilities are well-maintained, which is a huge plus.

Big Loop Trail

A 2-mile loop through the western end of the park. Open to hikers and bicycles.

Little Loop Trail

A 0.82-mile loop through the southeastern end of the park. Open to hikers and bicycles.

Large statue of man in colonial outfit on a horse on top of a white base monument.

Guilford Courthouse Monuments Trail

The Guildford Courthouse and National Military Park is one of 12 National Parks in North Carolina. The park commemorates the Battle of Guildford Courthouse during the Revolutionary War.

The 2.25-mile paved Tour Road takes you around the grounds with multiple stops for exhibits and monuments. It’s easy for beginners. You’ll enjoy being outside while weaving through history.  

There is also the Historic Garden Road, a dirt and gravel trail, that cuts through the center of the grounds, and interior trails often natural surface. Plan to spend some time strolling down all of the trails and see the additional monuments.

I was surprised to find that it’s a beautiful park with plenty of wooded areas and not a large open meadow. You can stroll peacefully along, enjoying little pieces of history that pop up along the way. It has a park-like feel.

You’ll see a parking lot along Old Battleground Road, and there is additional parking inside the main entrance with the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has maps, but if you don’t need one, just park on Old Battleground Rd., it’s easier access to the main monuments. If you do opt for the Visitor Center, don’t worry, the paved Tour Road can be accessed from here.

Two wooden trail signs noting intersection of Bill Craft Trail and Wetland Loop trail.

Richardson Taylor Preserve

The Richardson Taylor Preserve has a network of trails that the website says is geared toward intermediate hikers, but I’m hard-pressed to see why they’re not suitable for beginners. Just north of Lake Townsend, it’s a great place to get away from the crowds.

Offering 4 miles of hiking, the trails are well-maintained trails but are often not well-marked. I tried the Wetland Loop trail which has a sign noting it’s 0.6 miles. What isn’t mentioned is that it’s not a loop, it’s half a loop. You’ll need to hop on part of the Bill Craft Trail for another 0.6 miles to finish the loop and head back to your car.

Your best bet is to use the Gaia app which I found best for this area. Also of note, Google Maps will take you to the wrong location. The entrance is about a half mile further down the road (assuming the entrance is on your left). Just keep driving and you’ll see the sign and small parking lot.

Overall it’s great for the solitude but the trails are nothing special. Bring a lot of bug spray. This may be the buggiest trail in the area.

Paved trail through thick green shrubs with a curve leading to a wooden bridge.

The Bog Garden at Benjamin Park

This is one of the most unique hikes in Greensboro. The trail is short, I would say it’s a half mile or less, but it winds through 7 acres of preserved wetland habitat with wooden boardwalks, natural trail, pretty bridges, and an unusual array of plants and wildlife.

Its main feature is a 150-foot recirculating, man-made waterfall honoring Dr. Joe who spearheaded the Bog Garden. Although, the plethora of ducks was also fascinating. In the first 100 yards, I saw mallards, domestic ducks, and marbled ducks. And they don’t care that you’re on the boardwalk, they’ll walk in front and over you.

The Bog Garden is located off Hobbs Road across from the Tanger Family Bicentennial Gardens. You can park at the gardens if you’d like. There are signs along the way guiding you to the Bog Garden.

GPS will take you directly to the Bicentennial Gardens if you want to park there. If you opt to set it to the Bog Garden it will say, “You’re here” in the middle of Hobbs Road at a crosswalk. This isn’t wrong. There’s a road leading into a neighborhood on the opposite side of Hobbs from the Bicentennial Gardens. Make the turn and park. The Bog Garden entrance is at the intersection.

Bicyclist on a paved trail with green bushes on either side and a small wooden roof for a trail entrance.

Summerville Rail-Trail (Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway)

No list of Greensboro hikes would be complete without the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway. Pass through 7.5 miles of historic sites, parks, neighborhoods, and beautiful scenery as you walk or bike along the paved trail. It’s relatively flat in most areas. You’ll also find the entrance to several of the watershed trails along the way.

Keep in mind the Greenway can become crowded in sections. Be alert to other hikers and cyclists who want to pass. 

You can park at Bur-Mil Park, Country Mill Park, in a lot just north of Strawberry Road, and near the Guilford Courthouse National Military lot. The Greenway’s website has more information and directions. The Strawberry Road lot can only fit about 5 vehicles.

Green lake surrounded by green grass and trees at Haw River State Park.

Haw River State Park

This park is a true hidden gem in Greensboro. Haw River State Park has two entrances with Browns Summit geared more towards beginner hikers, and the Iron Ore Belt Access geared towards intermediate hikers.

I’ve seen families with small children wandering the trail along the lake at the Browns Summit entrance. Kids love the water and parents like that it’s an easy hike and usually quiet.

Trail runners can get a great workout at the Iron Ore Belt Access. This hike is a commitment. It’s one main loop, so you have to finish once you start.

Haw River is one of my favorite NC State Parks. Both entrances are beautiful and a great way to escape the city.

Places to Hike 30 Minutes From Greensboro

Waterfall over dam into a pool of brown.

Cedarock Park

Located in Burlington, NC, just 35 minutes from downtown Greensboro, Cedarock offers just about any outdoor activity you can imagine.

The park has hiking trails, disc golf, a waterfall, picnic shelters, volleyball courts, a playground, and more. I particularly enjoy the blue trail, but the yellow trail is where you’ll find the waterfall.

The waterfall is created by an old dam and is one of the closest waterfalls to Raleigh and Greensboro. The easiest access is via the yellow trail from the playground parking lot. The hike to the waterfall is on a flat, paved trail this way.

Three white domestic ducks sitting in a green bush.

Salem Lake

Just 32 minutes from downtown Greensboro, Salem Lake in Winston-Salem offers a relaxing way to end your busy day. The 7-mile trail around the lake is a mostly dirt road with some paved areas, making it perfect for beginners.

You’ll find hikers and cyclists on the trail. It’s wide enough to accommodate multiple people. The trail has some uphill and downhill sections, more “rolling terrain” that keeps it easy but adds a little variety.

You can park in the lot by the playground just outside the main gate. This is the easiest way to access the trail. If you park inside the marina gate, you’ll want to walk towards the gate to pick up the trail.

There are picnic tables alongside the lake near the playground. Be careful around the ducks and geese. Despite the signs, people feed them and they can become aggressive if you have food.

Green wooden sign that states Do Not Feed, Jax and Opie, Rescued 2015. Green meadow behind sign.

Guilford County Farm Trails

Elon, NC, just 25 minutes away offers the Guildford County Farm Trails. This is a unique hiking experience perfect for any hiker. As you wander along the 2.8 miles of trail, you’ll wind through picture-perfect farmland. There are 3 trails, and you’ll also find a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Most of the terrain is easy but there are a few moderate sections. Intermediate hikers can get a workout by exploring the longer trails. Don’t be surprised that the parking lot is in front of an old prison. It stopped operations in 2015, but it does look a little out of place.

Finding the trails isn’t easy. The parking lot is well-marked from the road. You’ll see signs that say “trails” with arrows guiding you to the lot. Once there, you’re on your own. You have to start out on the Breakaway Trail, it’s a one-way trail that leads to the others.

With the farm on your left, walk down Howerton Road following the white circle blaze for the Mountains to Sea Trail. When you see the sign for Opie and Jax, the donkeys, you’ll know you’re going the correct way. At the first opportunity, turn right down a grass country road. The Mountains to Sea (MST) blaze will be there to guide you.

Next, turn left when you see another sign for the MST. The arrow is missing from the sign, but they want you to turn. There’s a paved section along a barbed wire fence guiding you through the edges of a meadow.

From here, the trail becomes easy to follow.

Knight Brown Nature Preserve

Just 35 minutes away in Stokesdale, NC is a lesser-known place to hike. The 189 acres in Knight Brown Nature Preserve offer 2.7 miles of trail that vary in length and difficulty. There are 3 loops, yellow, red, and green.

Pay attention to the full mileage before you set out. You must hike about a third of the green loop to reach the red loop and about 0.2 miles of the red loop to reach the yellow loop. This makes more sense if you check out the map on their website first.

Knight Brown Nature Preserve is located in a neighborhood. You may think your directions were incorrect, but you’ll see the trailhead at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Piedmont Environmental Center

There’s much to see at the Piedmont Environmental Center in High Point, NC. Just 22 minutes from Greensboro, it offers hiking trails, an environmental center, a walk-on topographical map, and more. Explore the forests, lakes, and marshes as you enjoy the diverse ecosystems throughout the center.

There’s a North and South Preserve connected by the Bicentennial Greenway. Most people hike the South Preserve near the Environmental Center Building.

The entire area boasts 6.6 miles of trail. The South Preserve has 7 trails that can be looped together for 3.9 miles of hiking while the North Preserve offers 2 trails for 2.7 miles.

Terra cotta colored stone statue of tortoise on green grass with lake behind it.

Hagan Stone Park

Hagan Stone Park is an adorable park just 19 minutes from Greensboro. Boasting 9 trails, you can hike a little or a lot. Trails provide views of the lakes, streams, and woodlands. Beginners will find shorter and easier trails and intermediate hikers can loop together trails for a long day.

My favorite loop starts at the Chatfield Ridge Trail from the furthest parking lot on Cedar Rd. connect to the Chatfield Trail, then Ridge Trail Spur to Ridge Trail and back to Chatfield Ridge. It’s a pretty hike through a wooded forest and tends to be one of the quietest places in the park.

The park offers campsites, an aquatic center, playground, picnic shelters, concession stand, athletic field, and fishing pier. You can stop by on Saturday for a great day of hiking, then camp and finish any trails on Sunday. It’s the perfect weekend getaway.

Personally, I really like the area by the fishing pier. There are stone statues of a turtle and two toads, a small bench, and a pretty pier. It’s a quiet place to sit and enjoy a few hours.

Trails are generally well-maintained and well-marked. You can download the map from the website or pick one up at the main entrance. If you head down the Chatfield Trail towards Hagan-Stone Park Rd, it will intersect with the Heritage Trail from Company Mill Preserve.

Three waterfalls coming over a small stone wall into a brown grotto with green trees in the background.

Company Mill Preserve

Company Mill Preserve is adjacent to Hagan Stone Park, but they are different entities. Located 16 minutes from Greensboro, Company Mill Preserve currently offers 5.6 miles of hiking over 4 trails, but there are plans to expand. Intermediate hikers will find some trails more challenging with rocky sections, and steeper inclines.

There’s a bit of overlap with Hagan Stone Park and the mileage is confusing. I saw three different mileages for the Heritage Trail from 1 mile to 2.5 miles. I suspect some of this is old information and the rest is whether you count the section of trail that falls inside of Hagan-Stone Park. My best guess from hiking it is that the 1.74 miles one way is the most accurate.

If you park at the start of the Heritage Trail on Company Mill Rd. you’ll be instantly rewarded with 3 waterfalls ending in a small grotto. This is a mere 20 feet from the parking lot. Keep going and you’ll reach the boardwalk that overlooks the water. The water is brown but it’s still a pretty site.

Along the Heritage Trail are other items of historical note which are marked on the map. Take a photo before you head out so you don’t miss anything. I would skip the overlook at Hawk’s Spur, it’s a small fence that overlooks a powerline section. There’s a sign noting this is a great place to see wildlife so it could be worth it, but you’d have to be willing to spend some time.

Horizons Park

If you’re willing to drive 36 minutes to Germanton, NC, you can enjoy Horizons Park. The trails here are well-marked and relatively flat, perfect for beginners. This is a great place to unwind with open fields and the occasional wooded area.

There are 2 trails, Loop A and Loop B, that make up a combined 2.26 miles of hiking. The park also boasts mountain biking trails, a reservable softball field, a reservable picnic shelter, disc golf course, volleyball court, playground, and a dog park.

Places to Hike 1 Hour From Greensboro

There’s great hiking an hour of less from Greensboro, including waterfalls and rivers.

Several rocks making up a class three rapid in a river that ends in calm water with green trees in the background.

Mayo River State Park

A little further out at 42 minutes, Mayo River State Park is geared more towards kayakers, but there are hiking trails. Don’t get confused with the 5 entrances, the 2 miles of hiking trails are at the Mayo Mountain Access where the Park Office is located.

The real payoff though is at the Deshazo Mill Access. While only 0.7 miles one-way, the trail leads past the Fall Creek Waterfall and takes you to the Virginia border.

Woman in red sweatshirt with blue pack standing on a rock cropping high up over a field of brown trees.

Hanging Rock State Park

An hour from Greensboro is one of my favorite places to hike, Hanging Rock State Park. There are 5 peaks, 5 waterfalls, a pond, and biking trails. You can hike a little or a lot, depending on your skill level and how much time you have.

While visiting all 5 peaks in one day requires 11 miles of hiking, you can easily view all 5 waterfalls in about 3 hours with a little driving.

Fun fact, you can see Pilot Mountain from both Cook’s Wall and Moore’s Knob.

Pilot Mountain State Park

A little closer than Hanging Rock at 49 minutes is Pilot Mountain State Park. This is where I do my backpacking training. Experienced hikers can tackle hiking up the mountain via Grindstone Trail. For a bit of extra challenge, veer off on Ledge Trail near the top.

Beginner hikers can take the shuttle to the top and walk around Jomeokee, the stone top of the mountain. You can see Hanging Rock from the distance. There’s an overlook built into the parking lot at the top of the mountain with great views. 

If you’ve been to Pilot Mountain several times, try something new and visit the Yadkin River Section. You can park at the Yadkin Islands Trailhead and hike to the Yadkin River, then take the Home Creek Trail back to your car for a 3.8-mile loop. It’s a perfect summer hike. 

Bethania Trails

A mere 45 minutes from Greensboro, the trails of Historic Bethania are well-known to locals. There are 4 trails, each with its own look and feel. All are easy and well-suited for beginners.

The trails take you through local history with Walnut Bluffs wandering through the original agricultural parcels of the 18th-century residents and the Reuter Trail routing you through old medieval-style strip fields surveyed by Moravian surveyor P.C.G. Reuter in the 1760s.

Wrap Up – Hiking Trails in Greensboro, NC

Greensboro and the surrounding area offer beautiful trails with a wide range of hiking options for all levels of hikers. From peaceful after-work strolls to crazy adventurous hikes, you’ll find the perfect trail nearby.

Enjoy a quick 3-mile loop on paved surface, or tackle 12 miles of trail to push your limits. Pass by waterfalls, rivers, and creeks. Wave to mountain bikers on the trail next to you, or head off to lesser-known areas where you can be by yourself. Greensboro has it all. 

Remember to truthfully assess your own abilities and choose trails that match your skill level for a safe and fun hiking experience.

Click to Share