5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in North Carolina

By Anna Glazebrook

5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in North Carolina

Birdwatching is a magical way to connect with nature. Across the state of North Carolina, avid birders will find peaceful places to catch sight of everything from great horned owls to American oystercatchers. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might just see something amazing. Here are the best birdwatching hikes in North Carolina. 

1. Skyline Trail at Chimney Rock State Park

The Skyline Trail of Chimney Rock State Park is a scenic opportunity to bird watch. During the summer season, the park carries up to 15 different types of warbler and vireo. Often, as soon as you pull up and park, the birds are in the treetops just watching and waiting for you to discover them. The Skyline Trail is a beautiful scene with a little over one-mile hike. The trail along your birdwatching journey offers a moderate hike of natural ground and gravel. 

2. Beaver Lake, Asheville, NC

This gorgeous lake is a bird sanctuary with a two-mile trail around it. Easy to navigate, the trail offers a great walk, so you can focus on the birds and other nature North Asheville has to offer. With a peaceful environment, you can listen to the beautiful sounds of the songbirds. Beaver Lake is a hidden paradise of Asheville to enjoy the water, birds, and a well-maintained trail. 

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has one of the highest numbers of different breeds of bird species in the country, making it a wonderful spot to hike and watch for the birds. You can find up to 60 species year-round in the national park, and new birds are still being discovered every day. With plenty of long hikes right in the heart of the park, you’re sure to spot something incredible. For more information about the trails, check their website.    

4. North Pond Wildlife Trail at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, walk the out-and-back route of North Pond Wildlife Trail. The trail, approximately 1.2 miles in length, is an easy walk with wonderful birds to enjoy. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture the incredible views along your walk. You can find American oystercatchers, least terns, and a variety of migratory birds. 

5. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, East Lake, NC

Open year-round and with plenty to discover, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge was formed to preserve and protect the wetlands of the area. Not only that, but the refuge helps to protect a variety of wildlife species that call the Alligator River home. Among those protected wildlife species are the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. The refuge also provides a habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds. Travelers will find two great nature trails to explore and could catch sight of a barred owl, black-throated green warbler, blue grosbeak, great blue heron, and much more! 

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