The Stone Mountain Loop Trail is a 4.5 mile hike that is moderate in ability. It’s located in Stone Mountain State Park about an 1 hour and 15 minutes from Winston-Salem, and it’s one of the best hikes near the Triad. This trail has a something to offer everyone, with the historic Hutchinson Homestead, a 200 ft waterfall, spectacular views of the 600 ft granite dome, and views for miles atop the mountain itself.
The Hanging Rock Trail is a 2.6 mile out-and-back hike that is moderate in ability. It’s located in Hanging Rock State Park about half an hour from Winston-Salem. This trail starts out paved, gradually changing to a natural and gravel trail, and then as you start to ascend to the peak it turns a bit more tedious with stairs and rock steps. Once at the peak, you’ll enjoy views of the valleys, Moore’s Knob and even some distant Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. There are plenty of neat spots to rest on the top of the rock, but make sure to exercise caution as there are no rails at the top of Hanging Rock.
3.) Salem Lake Trail
Located just minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Salem Lake Trail is a hidden gem. This 7 mile gravel loop trail is an easy way to get a good hike anytime you’re looking for something not far from home. It’s relatively flat and wide, plus it offers views of the 365 acre lake the entire way. This trail is open to bikers, runners, walkers and even horses, so it can get a little busy, but it’s still a must-see.
4.) Pilot Mountain
Little Pinnacle Overlook and Jomeokee Trail are located in Pilot Mountain State Park just 35 minutes from Winston-Salem. Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail is an easy 0.1 mile “hike” from the parking lot at the top of Pilot Mountain to the stunning views of the Big Pinnacle, Sauratown Mountains and Hanging Rock Trail. Jomeokee Trail is a moderate 0.8 mile hike around the base of the Big Pinnacle, featuring beautiful views, rare and interesting plants, and impressive cliffs. For the more avid hikers, be sure to check out the other trails Pilot Mountain has to offer.
Located in Hanging Rock State Park, Moore’s Wall Loop trail is a 4.7 mile loop that is strenuous in ability and leads to the top of Moore’s Knob – the highest point at Hanging Rock State Park. Take this trail clockwise for a slower ascent to the lookout tower at the top, then come down the stairs passing Balanced Rock and eventually ending at the Lake. From the top of the lookout tower, you’ll soon forget all about the strenuous hike that brought you here as you witness 360 degree views of the surrounding valleys and mountains in the distance. A less crowded option and at the top of our list!
Kristina Riehle is a photographer, content creator and hiking enthusiast based out of Winston-Salem, NC. Kristina works to capture images and stories that inspire others to get outside and explore. Follow her work @k.riehleadventures on Instagram.