Wilderness Gateway State Trail

View from Chestnut Knob Overlook during the autumn at South Mountains State Park. Photo by A. Lasley.

South Mountains State Park is at the center of the planning corridor for the Wilderness Gateway State Trail. The trail will extend west to Chimney Rock State Park and then connect east to the towns of Valdese and Hickory. Pictured above is the view during the fall from Chesnut Knob Overlook at South Mountains State Park. Photo by A. Lasley.

About the trail

The Wilderness Gateway State Trail will meander through Catawba and Burke counties and along the border of Rutherford and McDowell counties. Part of this trail will include a paddle trail in Catawba County. The planned trail will connect Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail and South Mountains State Park with the towns of Valdese and Hickory. Part of the trail will follow the same route as the Overmountain Victory State Trail.

Each state trail is a unit of the state parks system and must be authorized by the General Assembly. When any new state trail is added to the system, the Division of Parks and Recreation engages in a planning process, including a feasibility study for the new trail. Effective planning is essential to determine a corridor for the trail and identify potential partners. Planning includes extensive data collection, outreach to potential partners, public input, and mapping of the trail corridor.

Constructed trail within the identified corridor is not part of the state trail until it is designated by the Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. All designation applications are evaluated by the North Carolina Trails Committee.

At a glance



Planned use:  HIKING, with some horseback riding, biking, and paddling sections