Many visitors come to Western North Carolina to hike the numerous trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and through state and national forests. There are so many hiking trails, in fact, that it’s difficult to pick which to try during a limited visit to the mountains. To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a short list that encompasses the general area around the Sundog Vacation Rental properties, as well as a few outliers that are worth the longer travel time.

Pinnacle Park

Just south of the Plott Balsam Mountains in Sylva, the namesake of this park is a ridge that rises more than 5000 feet. The view from that height is nothing short of impressive and is accessible via the West Fork Trail that starts in the parking lot and ends at the pinnacle. Fair warning, though: It’s a steep, rocky trail, and from beginning to end, it covers about 7 miles.
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Haywood County’s Black Balsam Knob

A great place to catch a sunrise or sunset, the Knob reaches an elevation of 6,214 feet. Luckily, the hike to the summit is just a little over half a mile following the Art Loeb trail. Although it’s not a long hike, it is steep – the walk up rises 425 feet in elevation. Prepare for sensory overload, as the scent of balsam fir trees and wildflowers fills the area around you. To get there, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 420. A map and more detailed directions may be found on the website.
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Richland Balsam Trail

The 1.5-mile trail begins on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Haywood-Jackson Overlook. It’s a 700-foot climb, but it’s not difficult. There is plenty of foliage along the way, and frequent hikers claim the trail smells wonderful – owing to the abundant fir and spruce trees surrounding the trail.
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Whiteside Mountain

Located in the Highlands area, this hike is not for the faint-hearted. It’s steep, features stairs, and the trail features some mud and slightly eroded spots. There are several overlooks along the way to the top, but they don’t all have railings or fencing, so be cautious when stopping to peek over the edges.
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Devil’s Courthouse Trail

The paved hike to the top of the mountain is fairly short at just under a mile (round-trip), but provides a powerful view of the surrounding area. Still, it’s not the easiest hike, with obstacles including stone stairs. The reward is at the top, where three states are visible if skies are clear.
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