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North Carolina Ranks Among Top 10 States for Hiking Trails in the US

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It’s no surprise that the mountain-dense states of Colorado, Utah, and Montana are well-known for their hiking, but North Carolina ranks right up there with them in a new set of rankings.

As the home of the American Tobacco Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and thousands more, North Carolina secured the No. 9 spot on KURU’s list of 2024’s best states for hikers. KURU is a company that manufactures and sells hiking shoes worldwide.

This is the second consecutive year North Carolina has maintained the ninth spot on the list.

A popular North Carolina hiking spot travels under the 75-foot-high Dry Falls in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands. (Photo by Jose Morevia Getty Images) A group of hikers pose for a photo in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Courtesy National Park Service) View of Cowee Mountain Parking Overlook located at Milepost 430.7 (Courtesy NPS/A. Armstrong) KURU said it compared and scored all 50 states based on five key metrics to narrow down the ultimate destinations for hiking enthusiasts. These metrics were:

  • Total hiking trail reviews posted to AllTrails
  • Number of trails
  • Percentage of trails ranked as “easy”
  • Trails rated 4.5/5 or higher in reviews
  • Yearly precipitation

North Carolina fared better than Oregon (No. 10) in total reviews, reviews with a 4.5/5 rating or higher, and the percentage of easy trails available. From those top-notch reviews, KURU said it’s a promise for those traveling to North Carolina to find “enjoyable outdoor adventures.”

However, Oregon has roughly 400 more trails to choose from and about half the yearly rain total average that North Carolina does. Rainfall is an important metric as it directly impacts hiking conditions and can even cause certain trails to close.

North Carolina sees an average of 50.3 inches of rain per year, the highest of all states on the Top 10 list.

It was a close call between Colorado and California for first place. California has more than double the trails—and reviews—of any other state on the list. However, its yearly rainfall average of 22.2 inches may have affected its ranking.

Here are the full results, including other states worth adding to your hiking to-do list:

  1. Colorado
  2. California
  3. Utah
  4. Washington
  5. Montana
  6. Arizona
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Vermont
  9. North Carolina
  10. Oregon
Rank State Total reviews Total trails % of easy trails % of trails rated 4.5+ Yearly rainfall (inches) Rank State
1 Colorado 19,55,966 5,286 26% 51% 15.9 1 Colorado
2 California 45,00,864 12,835 27% 52% 22.2 2 California
3 Arizona 15,56,652 3,292 27% 54% 13.6 3 Arizona
4 Montana 2,73,175 1,508 23% 47% 15.3 4 Montana
5 New York 10,65,346 4,481 50% 38% 41.8 5 New York
6 Utah 11,10,852 3,224 24% 53% 12.2 6 Utah
7 Texas 5,72,634 2,424 72% 44% 28.9 7 Texas
8 Washington 13,68,796 4,161 33% 39% 38.4 8 Washington
9 North Carolina 7,74,148 2,736 46% 49% 50.3 9 North Carolina
10 Oregon 6,86,525 3,106 34% 38% 27.4 10 Oregon