West of Greensboro near Connelly Springs, the 13,000 acre South Mountains State Park is located in the heart of the rugged South Mountains. The park includes elevations up to 3,000 feet, a waterfall dropping 80 feet and more than 40 miles of hiking trails.
The two nicest trails are the High Shoals Falls Loop (3.5 mi.) and the Chestnut Knob Overlook Trail (4 mi. round-trip). The High Shoals Falls Loop High Shoals Falls leads to a roaring waterfall that pours into a large pool.
South Mountains State Park is located in Burke County, 20.5 miles south of Morganton. From I-40, turn south on NC 18, travel 11.1 miles and make a right turn onto SR 1913 (Sugarloaf Road). Take SR 1913 to Old NC 18 4.3 miles and turn left. Travel 2.7 miles and make a right turn onto SR 1901 (Ward's Gap Road). The park is 1.4 miles off SR 1901 on SR 1904 (South Mountains Park Avenue). Travel one mile from the beginning of South Mountain Park Avenue to the South Mountains State Park gate.
Overall, South Mountains State Park is the 4th most popular hiking trail of all 19 hikes in North Carolina.