North Carolina's largest city is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, shopping and restaurants—as well as activities to do in the great outdoors. Hiking, sweeping mountain views and breathing in fresh air await, a short road trip away from Queen City. These three closest mountains to Charlotte make a great pick for family fun, a quick weekend getaway or time away from the hustle and bustle of the city to recharge.
>>Best Charlotte camping spots | Top campgrounds near Charlotte
Smoky Mountains and Cherokee
A little over two hours away in Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountains and Cherokee is often dubbed as the "land of the blue mist" as the Cherokee Native Americans who were indigenous to the area referred to it. There are 53 miles of mountain terrain in this area and a wealth of activities in which to partake. A train from yesteryears can whip you around the range to get a glimpse of the sweeping views and for a respite and a touch of luxury, head to Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.
The heart of this mountainous region in terms of the embracing nature is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Five hiking routes are the most popular: Chimney Tops, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave Bluffs, Andrews Bald and Charles Bunion. The best time to visit is fall, followed by spring, although the latter tends to have unpredictable weather changes. For more weather details, visit here.
Right under two hours, High Country is close to Charlotte and chock full of things to do, see and experience. Mountain lovers will be delighted to find a cluster of mountainous areas to visit: Beech and Sugar mountains, Boone Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
For hiking, attempt the Glen Burney Trail at Blowing Rock, the Emerald Outback at Beech Mountain and traverse the various trails at Sugar Mountain Resort. The best times to visit of vary based on the specific mountain, but in general, May through September are popular.
Asheville and the Foothills
Roughly 130 miles and a couple hours drive away, Asheville is yet another region in North Carolina fitting for mountain exploration and trekking terrain. Want to visit an area buzzing with activity before heading to the quiet of the mountains? Blue Ridge Parkway is brimming with art galleries, restaurants and craft-beer breweries. Also found in Asheville is the largest home in the nation and winery Biltmore. For something different, take a dive in the Hot Springs mineral pools.
>>Best hiking trails near Charlotte | Best nature preserves in Charlotte
To get to the thick of the mountains, scoot on down to Black Mountain, Morganton and Chimney Rock. Chimney Rock features 75-mile aerial views and a waterfall along with various trails for all ages and levels of hikers, from novice to expert. Black Mountain's most popular trails include those around Red Rocker, behind Route 9 and Montreat to across Ridgecrest. Other trails in the area are Bad Fork, Armstrong Creek, Betsy Ridge, Kitsuma Peak and Linville George Wilderness Area. The best time of year to visit these trails, which are for varying skill levels, is also from May to September.
Cox Media Group