Year Round
Weekly Schedule

7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.




Hiking Trails at the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo invites its guests to venture down one of our many hiking trails. Please respect the Zoo rules and the privacy of adjacent land owners. 

Open Year Round on Days the Zoo is Open
Access is Free

April - October: 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
November - March: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Zoo Gates Close at 7:30 p.m.

Please remain on marked trails.
Respect all wildlife; Do not approach or disturb any animals or plants.
The following are not permitted: Littering, Alcohol, Weapons, Camping, Fire, Horses, Bicycles, Vehicles, Smoking

Purgatory Trail Map

Dogs are welcome on Purgatory Trails

  • Dogs must be leashed (max 6 ft.) at all times. 
  • Dogs must have current rabies vaccination and not be left unattended.
  • Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after pets.
  • Only qualified service animals are allowed inside the Zoo.
  • Handicapped Accessible Trail    .2 miles long

The trail begins at the north end of the Zoo's North America Region parking lot the trail is accessible for wheelchair users with a wide, level gravel-paved path. This portion ends at a service road (please do not walk down the service road to the parking lot) before connecting to Purgatory Trail on the other side. 

  • Purgatory Mountain    .7 miles long

Purgatory Trail begins at the north end of the Handicapped-accessible Trail (see above), on the other side of the service road (please do not walk down the service road). This trail continues uphill for a mile to the top of scenic Purgatory Mountain. It is a fairly easy walk.

  • Middle Mountain Trail    .6 miles long

This trail branches left off of Purgatory Trail and heads north along a rocky ridge, ending at the top of Middle Mountain.

Parking Lot Connector

Only qualified service animals are allowed on the Parking Lot Connector Trail.

Park Map

Parking lot connector is near the bottom of the park map linking the two parking lots.

Open April - October
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Parking Lot Connector    .7 miles long

The parking lot connector trail connects the North America and Africa parking lots and signage is posted at either trail entrance. This trail has a stone dust surface and is an alternative way to get from North America to Africa parking lots instead of taking a shuttle bus.

Hiking Trails in Randolph County

These trails are not within the Zoo's immediate area and are accessible to the public during daylight hours unless otherwise stated. Please respect adjacent property owners when enjoying the trails. 

Open Year Round
Hours: Daylight Hours
Some trails may require a reservation

  • Pisgah Covered Bridge    .25 miles long

This trail runs along one side of the West Fork of Little River and crosses a foot bridge to return along the opposite bank.

  • Ridge's Mountain Preserve    .8 miles long

Access to this trail is by reservation only. 

To make a reservation, call 336.879.7717, Monday-Friday during working hours. There is some parking available at the gate. The trail follows the crest of the mountain. The first half of the trail is fairly level and follows an old road to a clearing. At the clearing, a short trail leads east to an upland pool. The second half of the trail is narrower, steeper and rockier. It ends just short of the southern summit. (The southern summit is private property and does not belong to the Zoo). Ridge's Mountain is a Nature Preserve and contains 270 acres of land.


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