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Charlotte, NC: Chestnut Knob Loop

nc

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 6.5 miles


Looping 6.5 miles through South Mountain State Park, this Charlotte-area dayhike (or overnighter) showcases above-the-trees overlooks and sublime autumn colors.
  • High Shoals Falls Loop Trail
  • Chestnut Knob Trail
  • Jacob Fork River Gorge Overlook
  • Timber Steps
  • Chestnut Knob Overlook
  • Sawtooth Campsites Spur Trail
  • Sawtooth Campsites
  • Prescribed Burn Unit
  • Choked Loblolly Pine and Red Maple Forest
  • Stream Crossing
  • Upper CCC Trail
  • View to the Southeast
  • Trail Intersection
  • Little River Trail

This quiet, 6.5-mile loop through North Carolina South Mountain State Park rewards dayhikers and backpackers with several above-the-trees overlooks to surrounding mountains and distant falls.

Start heading west on the High Shoals Falls Loop trail through Canadian hemlocks and white pines for 0.2 mile before turning north onto the Chestnut Knob trail. The route then ascends up a south facing slope past forest recovering from beetle kill. At mile 0.8, check out an overlook of Jacob Fork River Gorge for a distant view High Shoals Falls. Back on the main route, the climbing continues.

About 2 miles in, take a left to head up to the Chestnut Knob overlook which boasts views of Ravens Rock to the southwest, and nearby Benn Knob. Autumn hikers are rewarded with a sublime sea of foliage from this spot. After inhaling the views, head back to the loop and start descending to the north. Turn right at the Sawtooth Trail intersection and continue on the dirt road. At mile 2.7, a spur trail leads to the Sawtooth campsites.

The trail then passes by a prescribed burn area, before crossing an old boundary line, which is evident as the forest composition changes. The trail ascends lightly, crossing a stream and soon thereafter meets the Upper CCC trail at mile 4. Take a right here and descend to the Little River Trail. Continue over a wooden bridge and enjoy views to the east, on the way back to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Tim Johnson

Trail Reviews & Comments

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Tom Bielamowicz
Sep 02, 2013

I hiked this loop today, Labor Day. Even though the parking lot was overflowing I only encountered four people on horseback. I think most people were viewing the water falls. The views are great and all I heard were the birds (including the Goodyear Blimp as it flew over). It is less than two hours from Charlotte and I plan to do some over night trips in the winter. Some of the trails appear to be old roads but this is not a bother to me and probably works well for the horses. The park is beautifully maintained which is a credit to the staff. I shall return next weekend.

Star Star Star Star Star
Tom Bielamowicz
Sep 02, 2013

I hiked this loop today, Labor Day. Even though the parking lot was overflowing I only encountered four people on horseback. I think most people were viewing the water falls. The views are great and all I heard were the birds (including the Goodyear Blimp as it flew over). It is less than two hours from Charlotte and I plan to do some over night trips in the winter. Some of the trails appear to be old roads but this is not a bother to me and probably works well for the horses. The park is beautifully maintained which is a credit to the staff. I shall return next weekend.

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