South Mountains State Park - Moderate to Strenuous (7 miles)

Nestled deep in the woods, South Mountains State Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature. Here you can see a majestic mountain range peeking out from the gently rolling landscape of the Piedmont.

The park includes elevations up to 3,000 feet, a waterfall dropping 80 feet and more than 40 miles of trails. From equestrian camping to trout fishing, mountain biking to picnicking, a number of activities are available at South Mountains State Park.

Visit one of the state's most rugged parks. Hike the trail to High Shoals Falls to witness the roar of the waterfall as it pours into a large pool.

Each hiker is responsible for their own snacks and water.

Dogs are allowed. Pet Rules

Directions to SMSP - Click here for a Map & Directions to South Mountains SP from Charlotte SMSP is about 90 minutes (61 miles) from Charlotte.

Click here for a Map of the park

Trail - The most popular trail, High Shoals Falls Loop Trail, travels one mile along the Jacob Fork River to the base of High Shoals Falls, a beautiful crystal-clear waterfall. The trail then continues to the top of the falls before looping around and returning to the picnic area. The terrain can be rugged, so be observant of the trail and wear sturdy shoes.

We'll take the strenuous 2.1 mile Chestnut Knob Trail (each way) which leads to the Jacob Fork River Gorge and Chestnut Knob overlooks. Then come down and doing the 2.7 High Shoals Falls loop for a total of 6.9 very scenic, but challenging miles! Consider this in your preparations. . . should be a great day!


Please feel confident in your ability to handle elevation changes, steps, and a moderate pace if you are attending this hike. Beginners and those with injuries may find some areas challenging.


Where to meet - Enter the park according to the directions on South Mountain Park Ave. Proceed to the last parking lot at the end of the road.  We'll begin hiking at 10:00 am, so please arrange your drive accordingly to make it to the park a few minutes before.

After the hike, we can go for lunch at the nearby Cooksville Grill in Vale, NC. (We went there last time and it was enjoyed by all).  Expect to return to Charlotte by 4:30 pm if you stop to eat, by 3:00 if you don't.

Carpooling - Look for carpool meeting sites on the group Discussion Board and contact others in your area to make arrangements, either by emailing them directly or posting your needs in the Comments section of the event.

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  • Jim M.

    So sorry I missed everyone- just too many activities going on this weekend to attend all of them. Looking forward to seeing you all next time

    February 3, 2014

  • Kane V.

    Lots of fun and great meeting everyone!

    February 3, 2014

  • Carolyn B.

    Great time meeting lots of nice people!

    February 3, 2014

  • Phillip

    Fantastic day for hiking! Great people and event.

    February 3, 2014

  • maureen

    Great day, weather and people. Loved the snow-crusted waterfall! Thanks Dave.

    February 3, 2014

  • Francis

    Couldn't have asked for a better day. And that frosty waterfall was the icing on the cake!

    February 2, 2014

  • Amy B.

    Best day to hike today! Loved every minute!

    1 · February 2, 2014

  • Stacey

    Excellent day for a great hike & good company but boy am I gonna be sore tomorrow :)

    February 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    enjoyed the hike, even with sore feet, but was disappointed when we arrived at end after leisure stroll along the river, the majority of the group was gone, would have liked to join for lunch but had no idea where the place was

    February 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    views were amazing, people too as usual

    1 · February 2, 2014

  • Cheryl and Kevin H.

    Absolutely fantastic day and hike, cool to start then such a warm up with lovely sunshine. Still in awe of the gorgeous waterfall covered in snow and ice. What a workout with the stairs and inclines! Thanks Dave.....great hike as usual. Lovely meal at Cooksville Grill also. :)

    February 2, 2014

  • Debra P.

    Majestic! The waterfalls covered in ice were breathtakingly beautiful. Great workout. I should have buns of steel with all the steps I have climbed this weekend ;) Thanks David.

    1 · February 2, 2014

  • Elise

    Perfect weather. Great hike!!

    February 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Running 30 minutes late.

    February 2, 2014

  • Jim M.

    By the way - I live in Huntersville and am looking to carpool with someone or have someone join my car so we can save fuel charges

    February 1, 2014

    • C.J.

      Jim, i can car pool with you. We can meet at Target at North Lake, text me at[masked] if intrtested.

      February 1, 2014

    • Jim M.

      So sorry C.J. went to a concert tonight and just getting in now after midnight- so I think its best if I pass on this Hike....will catch you all next time...kind of bummer- really wanted to go.

      February 2, 2014

  • Jennifer N.

    Lol, yup... Hugs!!!

    February 1, 2014

  • Sarah

    I don't own hiking shoes or boots is it a bad idea to go on this hike wearing sneakers?

    February 1, 2014

    • David K.

      I think it's a bad idea. These trails are rooty, rocky, and can be slick. You really want the traction and a sturdy sole to keep pointy stuff off your feet. I'm sure it's been done in sneakers, but that is my humble opinion.

      February 1, 2014

    • Sarah

      Ok thanks!! Maybe another time then

      February 1, 2014

  • Brett W.

    Sounds fun but a bit too far away for me.. I'll see ya all in the future :)

    February 1, 2014

  • David K.

    Anyone interested in carpooling from Mooresville, I will be at the Kohl's (I-77 & SR 150, exit 36) ready to leave at 8:10. Look for the white Mustang near the entrance to the parking lot.

    2 · January 26, 2014

    • Jim M.

      David do you have room for 1 more?

      February 1, 2014

    • David K.

      I just have folks come to the carpool meeting site and we shuffle and arrange once we are there. No one has ever been left behind. Consider if you are staying for the lunch outing, too.

      February 1, 2014

  • Janet

    I would love to carpool if anyone has room. I am coming from Indian Trail so anywhere off 485 or 85 will do:)

    January 27, 2014

    • Janet

      I will be there. See you tomorrow. I have a small burgundy SUV.

      February 1, 2014

    • Janet G

      I'm in a white Elantra.

      February 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    where in the park are we meeting?

    1 · February 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm looking forward to meeting everyone Sunday. Anyone else bringing their pup? I'm bringing JoJo.

    January 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Bringing two pups.

      1 · January 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      checking the weather, but yes bringing my pup

      February 1, 2014

  • Jim M.

    Looking to join someone's carpool? I had a last minute drop of my ride

    February 1, 2014

  • Holly

    I am assuming this would be a bit hard for me if I am closer to being a moderate (or less) hiker. I don't have a great deal of experience going on hikes

    February 1, 2014

    • David K.

      Holly, I can say from many years of hiking and trying new things. . . the only way to gain experience is to come out and do it! Staying home on a beautiful day doing your laundry will NOT increase your level. ;-) This hike does have some strenuous portions, but they are gradual and tolerable and the views you'll get are worth it. You will be in very good company as we will all struggle together and push each other to greater heights than we have ever known. . . (queue the Rocky music). In other words, you should come out and try it. You'll be fine!!!

      4 · February 1, 2014

    • mainefolks

      I'm a slow poke...you'll be in good company!

      1 · February 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    David, Do you have room for one more passanger. I will be in the Mooresville area tomorrow morn. If not, do you know of anyone I can ride with?

    February 1, 2014

  • Xin

    Still looking for carpool from south Charlotte. Anyone could give me a ride?

    January 28, 2014

    • Xin

      I'm near south park

      January 28, 2014

    • julie n.

      I'm also in Southpark and looking to join a carpool. I'd be happy to come to Ballantyne if you have room for me too.

      January 31, 2014

  • Jodi

    Anybody want to carpool from South Charlotte (near Stonecrest)?

    January 21, 2014

    • Jodi

      I wont be able to go to the hike due to illness.

      January 29, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Since Jodi isn't coming and it seems that 4 other people would like to carpool I suggest that we meet and carpool. My car could certainly hold all of us, other people may have suitable cars as well. Does anyone know a good spot where we could meet? I am in Rock Hill , and not very familiar with the area. Don't know where you guys are either. What time should we meet too? We are getting down to the wire here.

      1 · January 29, 2014

  • Tammy F.

    You have no idea how much I wanted to do this hike. I love South Mtn. Please do it again soon...on a Saturday?

    January 28, 2014

  • David K.

    I know this is Super Bowl Sunday, but we should all be home and settled in well before the 6:20 kick-off.

    January 11, 2014

    • Cheryl and Kevin H.

      It's a great idea to kill the time instead of biting your nails. :)

      January 11, 2014

    • David K.

      And it's a great excuse for not having to make the guacamole dip. ("Hey, I'd love to make the guac, but I'll be hiking all day and won't have time!! Sorry!") You're welcome. . . .

      8 · January 11, 2014

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