Hiking in North Carolina is an incredibly varied experience. Located in the southeastern U.S., the state is known for its narrow and sandy string of islands named the Outer Banks that extend into the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Coastal Plain along the state’s shoreline is swampy and shallow, rising into the Piedmont Plateau farther inland, which is dominated by rolling hills.
On the western side of the state, the Blue Ridge Mountains stretch into Virginia, while the Smoky Mountains extend along the Tennessee border. The most famous spot for hiking in North Carolina is easily the 2,184-mile-long Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, which passes through this area.