Best Hiking Trails in Pisgah National Forest


With more than 500,000 acres, Pisgah National Forest sprawls across multiple management units. Traversed by the iconic Appalachian Trail, the park is characterized by whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and hardwood forests.

The forest offers a full spectrum of hikes, ranging from quick trips such as the 5-mile hike up to John Rock to longer, more strenuous hikes, including a popular blip on the Appalachian Trail up Max Patch Mountain, offering hikers a glimpse at the wondrous rigors of thru-hiking.

Getting Started

Hiking in national forests is easy and loosely regulated. Hikers can find a trail on this page, gear up, and drive to the appropriate parking spot.

For hikers wanting more information, there are three main ranger districts to research: Appalachian, Grandfather, and Pisgah. It's a huge forest, so there is a lot to learn about the various entry points and regions. With more knowledge, hikers can choose a region, a trail, and develop their own ideas for an ideal route. There are over 1600 miles of trails in the Forest, allowing hikers easy access. Just park and go!

Hikers with kids may want to visit the ranger station and visitor center, located inside the Brevard entrance to the National Forest.

When to Go

Pisgah is most popular in April/May, and October/November, when the weather is more temperate. As with many National Forests, Pisgah isn't particularly crowded, allowing hikers to enjoy the forest anytime they like.


Permits are not required for hiking or backpacking in Pisgah National Forest.

Dog Info

Dogs are allowed in Pisgah with few restrictions (typical of National Forestland).


Seasonal Popularity