The Blue Ridge Mountains offer nothing short of spectacular views and gorgeous forest scenery. Hidden within these forests are calculated paths and woodland adventures just waiting for you and your family to enjoy. Whether your goal is an overlook of the mountain ranges or a rushing waterfall, this will help you master the public hiking trails around Rumbling Bald Resort.
1) Buffalo Creek Park Trail
- 3.5-Mile Loop
- 2-3 Hours
This public trail loop is one of the only multi-use trails in the area and is frequented by hikers, bikers, climbers, and runners alike. At the start of the loop, be sure to move the appropriate way to avoid run-ins with bikers: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday’s hikers go left (clockwise) while Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday’s hikers go right (counterclockwise); mountain bikers will be doing the opposite. Buffalo Creek trail offers a beautiful shaded forest landscape with mixes of small waterfalls, boulder fields for experienced rock climbers (aka don’t try this at home kids), and a snapshot of Young’s Mountain. The loop connects at the halfway point to Weed Patch Mountain Trail with an additional 8.6-mile long connection requiring at minimum 8 hours – which we only recommend for very advanced hikers. Rumbling Bald guests have the added bonus of a secluded private parking lot available within the property (just off West Lake Drive). Rumbling Bald Wellness Center staff can get you moving in the right direction if you need further help. Check out the trail map here (2191 Buffalo Creek Road, Lake Lure, NC).
2) Dittmer-Watts Nature Park Trail
- 3.3-Mile Connecting Trails
- 2 Hours Max (time varies on trail choice)
Only a 6-mile drive from Rumbling Bald (15 minutes), these public trails are the ultimate trail system for your family and your furry best friend. Perfect for hikers and runners, a graveled parking lot just off the trailhead allows for easy access to this nature walk. These ten trails overlap throughout the wooded mountain landscape to offer snippets of mountain vistas, nature, and forest landscapes. These intermixing trails are the perfect reflection of mountains and nature without the more strenuous escapades of high elevations. Be sure to study the trail map and choose your path accordingly (271 NC 9 Hwy, Lake Lure, NC – across from Ingles).
3) Rumbling Bald at Chimney Rock State Park Trail
- 1.5-Mile Loop
- 1 Hour
This trail highlights the southern face of Rumbling Bald Mountain and is one of the many trails part of the Chimney Rock State Park. This looped trail is a hot-spot for rock-climbers, due to the expansive number of boulders and rock faces among the trail. Located just 13 miles (roughly 20 minutes) from the resort, this public trail is nestled between downtown Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. This trail gives you a look into the beautiful forests and a small sliver of the rocks that the area is so famous for. Follow the orange trail blazes to complete the loop and reference park maps on your trip (827 Boys Camp Rd., Lake Lure, NC).
4) Wildcat Rock Trail
- 6-Mile Round Trip
- 4 Hours
If you could pick a trail that has all the views, this would be the one. Located 18 miles from the resort (roughly 35 minutes), this public trail is instantly customizable depending on what you want to experience: waterfalls, rocks, and or overarching mountain landscapes. Following the trailhead around an apple orchard, start your ascent. Roughly one mile into the trail is the first attraction of Little Bearwallow Falls – a stunning 100-foot waterfall surrounded by blooming wildflowers in the spring and summer. From the waterfall, one mile further brings you to Wildcat Rock, which overlooks the upper side of the Hickory Nut Gap with views of Little Pisgah Mountain and Blue Ridge Pastures. After Wildcat Rock, one last mile brings you to the end of the trail and the ridgeline meadow of Bearwallow Mountain – you may even spot a cow or two (the meadow is a part of an active farm so remember to be respectful and leave the cows be). Be prepared for some strenuous climbing, but the view is always worth it from the top (and be on the lookout for the cool caves under Wildcat Rock). Follow the red trail blazes to make your way up and back on this trail and be sure to reference the trail map (3823 Gerton Hwy, Gerton, NC).
5) Bearwallow Mountain Trail
- 2-Mile Round Trip
- 1.5 Hours
Although this is the farthest trail from the resort on our list – 21 miles (roughly 45 minutes) – this mountain overlook is worth the drive and the hike. Be sure to park on the graveled shoulder of Bearwallow Gap and not block the adjacent driveway before entering at the trailhead. A short one-mile hike up the Bearwallow mountain rewards you and the kids with a grassy meadow at the summit. These breathtaking views offer a nearly 360-degree view of the mountains with key focal points such as the Hickory Nut Gorge, Tryon Peak and South Carolina, Mt. Mitchell (the highest point in Eastern U.S.) and the Black Mountains, Mt. Pisgah and the Great Smokey Mountains – perfect for a sunset or stargazing night (just bring a flashlight for the way down). Similar to the Wildcat Rock trail, this mountain is also home to grazing cattle, so be sure to respect their space to allow more scenery seekers to appreciate these views as well. This short, easy hike of Bearwallow Mountain also links to the much farther (combined 7 miles) and challenging Trombatore Trail if you’re in the mood for an all-day experience. Follow blazes for the Bearwallow Mountain trail and reference the trail map for your hike (Bearwallow Mountain Trail, Hendersonville, NC).
These five trails are some of our personal favorites with easy public access and beautiful representation of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Lure community. In no way are these the only great trails to try out – if you’re content with spending some money, be sure to check out the six hiking trails included when you purchase tickets for the Chimney Rock access, which is located just 11 miles (roughly 20 minutes) from Rumbling Bald Resort. When you stay with us at Rumbling Bald, you gain access not just to the amenities of the resort, but to the full exploration of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rumbling Bald has its own private access to the Buffalo Creek Park, which hosts over 1500 acres of conserved pure mountain landscapes. At the very heart of Rumbling Bald, we treasure the backdrop of our resort and the outdoor experiences we can build through connecting with nature. Reserve your lodging now so you and your family can start exploring the North Carolina mountains today.