In the last few years, the NC Zoo has been working on some hiking trails on the Zoo property. All of the trails listed here do not require paying admission, but you still must abide by Zoo hours (6:30AM-7:00PM).
I’ll admit, it is pretty cool sitting on the top of Purgatory and hearing lions roar and monkeys playing.
For the Purgatory and Moonshine Run trails, start on the northern end of the North American parking lot. Park here.
The Zoo is planning on adding many more miles of hiking trails in this area, and according to a sign near the peak, there is plans to build an observation tower above the trees. I personally can’t wait.
Here is a link to the trails on the Zoo website.