I call this the Backpacking Loop because it’s the route I use for South Mountains in “Backpacking North Carolina.” Don’t let the backpack designation intimidate you; this route is a most doable — and enjoyable — day hike, taking in many of the highlights of this 18,000-acre park. From the main parking area, head out on the H.Q. Trail, then go right on the Possum Trail. The climbing starts here, taking you up to the Horse Ridge Trail and ridgeline hiking. The Lower CCC, Fox, Jacob Branch and Upper Falls trails return you through stretches of year-round greenery. The hike is one of the foot-friendlier long trails, with much of it on old roadbeds from South Mountains’ pre-park days.
3001 South Mountain Park Avenue, Connelly Springs, NC, 28612