The birds are singing, a fresh breeze is blowing, and the mountains are calling — needless to say, it’s time to get outside and hike. If you’re visiting Maggie Valley, you can choose from an almost endless amount of trails.

Maggie Valley is surrounded by many beautiful hikes that will suit all skill levels. You can go for an easy jaunt to a stunning waterfall or head up a more strenuous mountain trail. Along the way, you might spot native wildlife, seasonal blooms, and unique geology.

We’re here to review the seven best hiking trails in Maggie Valley, including some just a short drive outside of town. Pack your hiking boots, grab your trekking poles, and book your stay with Carolina Vacations — we’re going on a day hike!

Easy Hikes In Maggie Valley

If you consider yourself more of a casual stroller than a hardcore hiker, you’ll find several trails worth trying in Maggie Valley. There’s no need to struggle to reach your destination — many gorgeous landmarks are just a short walk from the parking area.

1. Soco Falls

Photo Credit: Ethan Quin

A less-than-quarter-mile trail with panoramic views and a waterfall at the end? Yes, please. Soco Falls is located right on Highway 19, so it’s an ideal quick stop on your way to or from Maggie Valley.

After you park, you’ll walk down a short trail to an overlook of Soco Falls, which thunder down 120 feet. The trail is a bit rocky and exposed, but remember, this is only 0.1 miles long from the parking lot— you’ll be done before you know it.

If you want to venture further down, the trail continues to the base of the falls. Ropes are in place to help you get down there, as the path is steep and may be slippery.

2. Waterrock Knob

Photo Credit: Chansak Joe

The highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Waterrock Knob offers panoramic, 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains within a mile-round-trip hike. Though the trail includes a steep vertical climb, the sights from the top of Waterrock Knob are well worth it.

If you suffer from knee problems, you may want to bring trekking poles, but most hikers can easily complete this trail. Afterward, stop by the visitor center to learn more about Waterrock Knob and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Consider hiking this trail near sunset or sunrise for especially stellar views. If you’re visiting during the fall, meanwhile, Waterrock Knob is also a prime leaf-peeping destination.

Moderate Hikes In Maggie Valley

These trails have a little something for everyone. You’ll stretch your legs and get your blood pumping, but you won’t have to work too hard to finish your hike. In short, these trails are the perfect middle ground for hikers of all skill levels.

3. Boogerman Trail

Photo Credit: Delaney Van

One of the most popular hikes in the Maggie Valley area, the Boogerman Trail is a loop that runs just over 7 miles in total. As you hike, you’ll pass old growth hemlock forests and the Palmer home site, which belonged to the trail’s namesake, Robert “Boogerman” Palmer.

Though the hike is rated moderate, it won’t be very difficult for the average hiker — if you time your visit right. The trail’s many creek crossings can become difficult to navigate after heavy rainfall, so hike here during a dry spell and bring those trekking poles.

The Boogerman Trail is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, about a 45-minute drive from Maggie Valley. Because this hike is in the national park, you’ll need to purchase a day parking permit ahead of time.

4. Purchase Knob

Photo Credit: Melinda Fawver

Also located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Purchase Knob is a scenic mountain on the border of Cataloochee Valley. This hike affords views of lush Smoky Mountain greenery all the way up a gravel road climb.

You may see wild turkey and deer as you hike, and because it’s something of a hidden gem, you could get the trail all to yourself. This is another wonderful location to view fall foliage or a Smoky Mountain sunset.

A word of caution: hikers have recently reported issues with private landowners near the trailhead, and finding parking can be difficult. Factor in some extra time to snag a spot, pay close attention to signs posted by residents, and you shouldn’t encounter any trouble.

5. Smokemont Loop

Photo Credit: sf-dvs via Flickr CC 2.0

In the neighboring town of Cherokee, the Smokemont Loop takes hikers through dense forests and past views of the Smokies. You’ll start the loop from Smokemont Campground, working your way up and down a series of steep climbs.

If you happen to know a little Appalachian hiker history, you might also be intrigued by the fact that Smokemont’s first two miles are part of the Benton MacKaye Trail. Named after one of the area’s most famous conservationists, the trail runs nearly 300 miles through Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, but you can experience a bite-sized portion of it here.

Alternatively, you can enjoy some spectacular spring displays along this hike if you’re a wildflower buff.  You may also spot Smoky Mountain elk if you’re lucky.

Difficult Hikes In Maggie Valley

These trails are for the Energizer bunny hikers, the up-at-the-crack-of-dawn hikers, the no-shortcuts-taken hikers — you get the idea. But even if you’re a confident intermediate hiker, it might be time to level up. Here’s where to go for a truly tough trail in Maggie Valley.

6. Blackrock Mountain

Photo Credit: Zack Frank

The hike up Blackrock Mountain comes in at just under 5 miles in length, but don’t be fooled — those 4.8 miles are packed with ups, downs, and some technical terrain. Located near the town of Sylva, this trail is steep and may be slippery in some parts depending on weather conditions, but you’ll be rewarded with excellent views at the top.

If you want to add an extra challenge to your day, extend your hike a few more miles to Pinnacle Park for an 11 mile round-trip trek. This trail can get even more rough in certain sections, so it’s only recommended for expert hikers with solid technical skills.

7. Hemphill Bald Trail

Photo Credit: Bill McMannis via Flickr CC 2.0

With nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain over 13.3 miles, the Hemphill Bald Trail isn’t for the faint of heart. However, if you’re not daunted by those numbers, you can hike past grazing cattle, hardwood forests, and some of those classic Smoky Mountain views.

You’ll need a Smoky Mountains parking permit, and parking can be scarce. Also, pay attention to the weather before you set out — if you hike on a cloudy day, your views may be completely obscured.

Get Ready to Hit the Trail

Now that you know the seven best hiking trails in and near Maggie Valley, it’s time to turn your hiking daydreams into reality. Don’t forget that this is far from an exhaustive list of all the amazing hikes in the Maggie Valley area — you can find many other trails nearby if you manage to run through all of these during your trip.

As you decide whether to tackle a lengthy uphill climb or a calming, relaxed stroll along a short path, book your stay at a Carolina Vacations rental property. Our cabins provide the perfect base camp for all of these hikes, as well as the rest of your adventures around Maggie Valley.