South Mountains State Park, 9-mile strenuous hike

Date 2010-05-15
Distance 15.1 km9.4 mi
Duration 5h:32m
Photos 10

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My first hike at South Montains State Park, southwest of Hickory, NC. This is a big, remote park with all mountainous terrain. The hills are not terrible high (none over 3000 feet, as far as I could tell) but the trails have two orientations: up and down. Camping opportunities are abundant -- and 40 miles of trails deep into the backcountry of the park offer many backpacking options. Centerpiece of the park is High Shoals Falls, which is only a mile from the trailhead at the main parking area. Note it's a very steep climb in places, so it cannot really be called "easy" despite the short distance. Trip write-up at Two-Heel Drive.

Be careful around the waterfall, a misplaced slip could do you in. There's a great overlook at Chestnut Knob -- it's a steep climb to get up there but it's worth the effort.