Piney Knob Trail System In North Carolina

Here is everything you need to know about the Piney Knob Trail System:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: North Carolina
  • Length: 13.5 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Piney Knob Trail System, located in Murphy, North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back several decades. Originally established in the 1970s, the trail system was created as a recreational area for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy various activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trails were designed to showcase the natural beauty of the surrounding area, offering breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains and the picturesque valleys below.

Over the years, the Piney Knob Trail System has undergone several expansions and improvements. In the early 1990s, additional trails were added to accommodate the growing demand from outdoor enthusiasts. These new trails were carefully planned to provide a diverse range of experiences, catering to both beginners and experienced adventurers. The system now boasts a network of interconnected trails that span over 20 miles, offering visitors a wide range of options to explore and enjoy.

Throughout its history, the Piney Knob Trail System has played a significant role in the local community. It has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists, attracting outdoor enthusiasts from all over the region. The trails have not only provided a recreational outlet but have also contributed to the economic growth of the area. Local businesses, such as bike shops, outdoor gear stores, and restaurants, have flourished due to the influx of visitors drawn to the trail system.

Today, the Piney Knob Trail System stands as a testament to the dedication and vision of those who have worked tirelessly to create and maintain this outdoor haven. Its historical significance, coupled with its natural beauty, continues to make it a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and tranquility amidst the stunning landscapes of North Carolina.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Piney Knob Park Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Piney Knob Trail System. It is located within Piney Knob Park in Murphy, North Carolina.

2. Piney Knob Loop Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Piney Knob Loop Trail, which is a popular loop trail within the trail system.

3. Piney Knob West Trailhead: This access point is located on the western side of the Piney Knob Trail System. It provides access to several trails in that area.

4. Piney Knob East Trailhead: This trailhead is located on the eastern side of the Piney Knob Trail System. It provides access to various trails in that area.

5. Piney Knob Summit Trailhead: This access point is located near the summit of Piney Knob. It provides access to the summit trail, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

6. Piney Knob Connector Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Piney Knob Connector Trail, which connects different sections of the trail system.

7. Piney Knob Overlook Trailhead: This access point is located near the Piney Knob Overlook Trail, which offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

8. Piney Knob Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Piney Knob Lake Trail, which loops around Piney Knob Lake and offers opportunities for fishing and wildlife viewing.

9. Piney Knob Ridge Trailhead: This access point is located near the Piney Knob Ridge Trail, which follows the ridge line of Piney Knob and offers challenging terrain for hikers and mountain bikers.

10. Piney Knob Creek Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Piney Knob Creek Trail, which follows the course of Piney Knob Creek and offers opportunities for water activities such as kayaking and swimming.

Transportation Available

1. Piney Knob Trailhead Parking Lot – Convenient parking area for trail users.
2. Piney Knob Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service for hikers and bikers to access different trailheads.
3. Piney Knob Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring the trail system.
4. Piney Knob Trail Taxi – Taxi service for transportation to and from the trail system.
5. Piney Knob Trail Bus Stop – Bus stop near the trail system for public transportation options.
6. Piney Knob Trail Carpool – Carpooling service for trail users to share rides.
7. Piney Knob Trail Uber/Lyft – Ride-sharing services available for transportation needs.
8. Piney Knob Trail E-Scooter Rentals – Electric scooter rental service for convenient trail exploration.


The amenities available at the Piney Knob Trail System may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail system may offer camping sites for those who wish to stay overnight. These sites may include tent camping areas or RV camping spots.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas with tables and benches where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Trails: The trail system itself is an amenity, offering various trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

6. Trail Maps: There may be maps available at the trailhead or visitor center to help visitors navigate the trail system.

7. Information Boards: Information boards or signs may be placed along the trails to provide visitors with information about the area, wildlife, or safety guidelines.

8. Scenic Overlooks: The trail system may have scenic overlooks or viewpoints where visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

9. Interpretive Signs: There may be interpretive signs along the trails that provide educational information about the local flora, fauna, or history.

10. Benches or Seating Areas: There may be benches or seating areas along the trails where visitors can rest and take in the surroundings.

11. Water Stations: There may be water stations or fountains available for visitors to refill their water bottles.

12. Trash Receptacles: Trash receptacles may be provided throughout the trail system to encourage visitors to properly dispose of their waste.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it’s recommended to check with the local authorities or visitor center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Piney Knob Cabins – Cozy cabins located near the trail system, perfect for a comfortable stay.
2. Piney Knob Lodge – A rustic lodge offering accommodation with beautiful views of the surrounding area.
3. Piney Knob Campground – Campsites available for those looking to enjoy the outdoors and stay close to the trail system.
4. Piney Knob Bed and Breakfast – Charming B&B providing a comfortable stay and a delicious breakfast.
5. Piney Knob Restaurant – Local eatery serving a variety of dishes, perfect for refueling after a day on the trails.
6. Piney Knob Convenience Store – Convenient store offering snacks, drinks, and basic supplies for hikers and campers.
7. Piney Knob Fire Department – Emergency services available for any unforeseen incidents or emergencies in the area.

Piney Knob Trail System Difficulty Notes

The Piney Knob Trail System offers a variety of difficulty levels, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers. With over 20 miles of trails, there are options for all skill levels. The system features easy, well-maintained trails that are perfect for beginners or those looking for a leisurely stroll through nature. However, there are also more challenging trails that provide a thrilling experience for advanced hikers. These trails often include steep inclines, rocky terrain, and technical sections that require careful navigation. Overall, the Piney Knob Trail System offers a diverse range of difficulty levels, ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Features And Attractions

1. Piney Knob Tower: The Piney Knob Tower offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is a popular spot for hikers and photographers.

2. Piney Knob Lake: This scenic lake is located within the trail system and offers a peaceful setting for picnicking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

3. Historic Piney Knob Fire Lookout: This historic fire lookout tower was built in the 1930s and provides a glimpse into the region’s firefighting history. Visitors can climb to the top for a stunning view.

4. Piney Knob Falls: This beautiful waterfall is a hidden gem along the trail system. It cascades down a rocky cliff and creates a serene atmosphere.

5. Piney Knob Overlook: This overlook provides a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is a great spot to watch the sunset or enjoy a picnic.

6. Piney Knob Nature Trail: This trail winds through a diverse forest ecosystem, showcasing the area’s natural beauty. It is a great spot for birdwatching and wildflower viewing.

7. Piney Knob Historical Site: This site offers a glimpse into the region’s history, with interpretive signs and artifacts. It is a great place to learn about the area’s past.

8. Piney Knob Rock Formation: This unique rock formation is a popular spot for rock climbers and offers a challenging climb with rewarding views.

9. Piney Knob Wildlife Viewing Area: This designated area provides opportunities to spot various wildlife species, including deer, birds, and small mammals.

10. Piney Knob Picnic Area: This designated picnic area offers a scenic setting for outdoor dining. It is equipped with picnic tables, grills, and restroom facilities.

Usage Guidelines

1. All pets must be kept on a leash at all times while on the Piney Knob Trail System.
2. Please clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect seasonal restrictions and closures, if any, as indicated by signage or official announcements.
4. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
5. Bicycles and other wheeled vehicles are only allowed on designated trails and must yield to pedestrians.
6. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails, except for authorized maintenance vehicles.
7. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted on the Piney Knob Trail System.
8. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
9. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it in designated receptacles.
10. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered on the trails.
11. Use caution and be aware of potential hazards such as steep terrain, loose rocks, or slippery surfaces.
12. Be considerate of other trail users and yield to uphill hikers or slower-moving individuals.
13. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the Piney Knob Trail System.
14. Alcohol and illegal substances are strictly prohibited.
15. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trails.

Seasonal Information

The Piney Knob Trail System, located in North Carolina, offers outdoor enthusiasts a fantastic opportunity to explore the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. While the trail system is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the most popular times to visit the Piney Knob Trail System is during the fall season, typically from late September to early November. During this time, the surrounding forests transform into a breathtaking display of vibrant colors as the leaves change. Hiking or biking through the trails during this season provides a truly picturesque experience, with the crisp autumn air and stunning foliage creating a memorable adventure.

Another great time to visit Piney Knob is during the spring season, from March to May. As the weather warms up, the trails come alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. This is an ideal time for nature lovers and photographers to capture the beauty of the area. Additionally, spring offers pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities, making it a comfortable time to explore the trails.

It’s important to note that the Piney Knob Trail System may have seasonal closures or restrictions in place. During the winter months, from December to February, some trails may be closed due to snow or icy conditions. It’s always recommended to check with the local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the trail system can be quite popular during peak seasons, so it’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly and be prepared for potential crowds.

Overall, the best times to visit the Piney Knob Trail System are during the fall and spring seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the area is at its peak. Whether you’re an avid hiker, mountain biker, or simply enjoy being surrounded by nature, this trail system offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to easily enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail system, allowing wheelchair users to easily access the trails.
3. Wide and Paved Trails: The trails within the Piney Knob Trail System are wide and paved, providing a smooth surface for wheelchair users to navigate.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with accessible features such as grab bars, wider doorways, and sufficient space for wheelchair maneuverability.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options for wheelchair users to enjoy outdoor meals.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear and visible signage throughout the trail system, including accessible maps and directional signs, to assist wheelchair users in navigating the trails.
7. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trails that offer scenic views and are accessible to wheelchair users.
8. Accessible Trail Features: Incorporation of accessible features such as ramps, handrails, and curb cuts to ensure wheelchair users can safely navigate the trails.
9. Accessible Trail Loops: Some trails within the Piney Knob Trail System are designed in loop formations, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy a complete trail experience without encountering dead ends or obstacles.
10. Accessible Trail Information: Availability of trail information in accessible formats, such as braille or large print, to ensure equal access for individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Piney Knob Trail System offers trails of varying difficulty levels, from easy to advanced, catering to different skill levels and preferences.
2. Trail Markings: The trails are well-marked with signs and blazes, ensuring hikers can easily navigate through the system.
3. Proper Footwear: It is recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls on the sometimes uneven terrain.
4. Trail Etiquette: Hikers are encouraged to yield to uphill traffic, stay on designated trails, and respect the natural environment by not littering.
5. Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changing conditions, as the trail system can be affected by rain, snow, or extreme temperatures.
6. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated during your hike, especially during warmer months.
7. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife by observing from a safe distance and not feeding or approaching them.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a basic first aid kit, a map of the trail system, and a fully charged cell phone in case of emergencies.
9. Group Hiking: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and to have someone to assist in case of an accident or injury.
10. Trail Conditions: Stay updated on trail conditions, closures, or any special advisories by checking with local authorities or trail management organizations.

Conservation Notes

The Piney Knob Trail System is currently considered to be in good conservation status. Efforts have been made to ensure the preservation and protection of this trail system, which is located in a diverse and ecologically significant area. The trail system is managed by a dedicated team of conservationists and volunteers who work diligently to maintain its natural integrity.

One of the key aspects of the conservation status of the Piney Knob Trail System is the preservation of its biodiversity. The trail system traverses through various habitats, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, which support a wide range of plant and animal species. Conservation efforts have focused on minimizing human impact and maintaining the natural balance of these ecosystems. This includes regular monitoring of the trail system to identify any potential threats to the flora and fauna, as well as implementing measures to mitigate these risks.

Additionally, the conservation status of the Piney Knob Trail System is also influenced by the efforts to protect its water resources. The trail system is home to several streams and creeks, which are vital for the local ecosystem and provide habitat for aquatic species. Conservation initiatives have been implemented to prevent water pollution and erosion along the trails, such as the installation of erosion control measures and the promotion of responsible trail use.

Overall, the conservation status of the Piney Knob Trail System is considered to be in good condition due to the ongoing efforts to preserve its biodiversity and protect its water resources. These conservation measures ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty and ecological significance of this trail system.

Leave a Comment