Social Distancing Yourself at Your Favorite Places


Hiking in solitude

So your favorite trails remain open, and who doesn’t appreciate the fact that a hike, now more than ever, will do you a world of good. Still, you worry about contact with other hikers — even in the wide-open outdoors. Pick your trails wisely and you may not see a single soul, even at some of the most popular hiking venues around. 

We’ve identified several of the places you love to explore most, and the trails within that are explored least. For the most part, it’s a matter of knowing where to start your hike.

Pilot Mountain State Park

Pinnacle (north of Winston-Salem)


Mountain Trail in Spring, Pilot Mountain State Park

On a spring or fall weekend, it can talk a half hour just to find a parking space in the main lot atop popular Pilot Mountain. But crowds are the least of your concerns if you opt for one of these three Pilot Mountain options:

For more information on paying a visit, go here.

Crowders Mountain State Park

Kings Mountain (just west of Charlotte)


Ridge Trail, Crowders Mountain

Crowds at Crowders Mountain have gotten so bad that shuttles have been implemented from outlying locations to the Sparrow Springs Access. Instead, we recommend checking out:

For more information on paying a visit, go here.

Eno River State Park



Laurel Bluffs Trail, Pump Station Access, Eno River

Enter “Eno River Sate Park” into your GPS device and it will take you to the Fews Ford Access, which apparently is what most people do. But there are four other main access points to this linear park along the Eno; in decreasing order of popularity, they are: Cabe Lands, Cole Mill, Pleasant Green, and our nominee for most solitary:

For more information on paying a visit, go here.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail

From Clingman’s Dome on the Tennessee line to Jockey’s Ridge at the coast, passing through the Triangle and north of the Triad along the way.


Redmill Road section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The 1,175-mile MST is ideal for escaping hordes of hikers, especially on its passages through two of the state’s biggest population centers:

Learn more about exploring the MST here.