Many of us have dreamed of living in a fully tricked out mansion that includes an in-home gym with all the amenities - unfortunately, just because your gym is still closed due to COVID precautions your home has probably not magically morphed into that fantasy. Fear not! The hiking trails in Rutherford county offer a myriad of options that are sure to get your workouts back on track, no matter what your fitness level!

Workout Level: Just Enough to Glisten

If your workout regimen is of the low-intensity variety, you’ll appreciate the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. Perfect for walking, running, cycling, or even inline skating, this 13.58-mile trail is just for you. Spanning the distance from the town of Spindale, through Forest City and Rutherfordton, and culminating in Ruth, this partially paved picturesque journey is perfect for anyone who wants a beautiful walk that offers plenty of socially distanced space and stopping spots. The trail is completely wheelchair or stroller accessible, and its 12-foot wide paved path makes it easy to stay safe and healthy while exercising. For a detailed map of the Thermal Belt Rail Trail click here.

Workout Add-On Challenges:

  • Muscle Push: Complete 8 to 10 squats at each mile marker
  • Cardio Kick: Speed sprint or powerwalk for 5 to 10 seconds beginning at each mile marker


Other Beginner Trail Options:


Workout Level: Intermediate Investment

If you like your workouts in the mid-range of challenging, the trail at Buffalo Creek Park is sure to please. Located at the town of Lake Lure, this 3.5-mile loop features terrain and elevation changes, moderate climbs, and is perfect for runners, hikers, or mountain bikers looking for a fun yet moderately challenging workout. This loop trail additionally connects to the challenging Weed Patch Mountain Trail if you’re looking to add a full-day advanced stamina-building component to your woodland workout adventure. For a map of the Buffalo Creek Park trail loop and the Weed Patch Mountain Trail click here.

Workout Add-On Challenges:

  • Full-Body Fusion: Include 5 to 10 reps of an upper-body strength move (like pushups on a log, standing pushups on a tree, or tricep dips on a rock) every 3 to 5 minutes
  • Cardio Torch: Incorporate circuit training by speed walking or running for 10 to 15 seconds every 2 to 3 minutes.


Other Intermediate Trail Options:


Workout Level: Advanced Accomplisher

If you think a workout isn’t a real workout unless it pushes your limits to the max, then we’ve got just the trail for you. The Skyline Trail at Chimney Rock State Park is a fitness lover’s dream that winds through forests, across creeks, and along sheer cliffs and waterfalls. This trail is made even more challenging by the fact that you’ll have to complete multiple other trails including the 494 step stairway known as the Outcroppings Trail, and the final ascent to the Park’s highest peak via the Exclamation Point Trail to even begin your Skyline Trail journey. For a map of all the Chimney Rock State Park trails click here.


Workout Add-On Challenges:

  • Burn Max: Incorporate 10 to 15 seconds of walking lunges or lateral traveling squats at regular intervals on gradual incline areas of the trails

  • Muscle Power: Integrate a set of incline pushups or tricep dips at every picnic table or resting bench you pass on the park trails


Other Advanced Trail Options: