Every Wednesday through Thanksgiving, GetGoingNC.com will feature a hike in North Carolina that just about anyone can do. It won’t be a long hike (though we may throw in a recommendation for going long), it won’t be strenuous hike (there could be a hill-climb option as well). The hikes will be timed to coincide with the changing colors of fall. This week, the 2.7-mile loop trail around Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Distance: 2.7 miles.
Type of route: Loop.
Getting there: Price Lake is at Milepost 297 on the Blue Ridge Parkway between U.S.321 to the north and U.S. 221 to the south. It’s near Blowing Rock. Here’s a map.
Map: A trail map is available at the campground registration kiosk opposite the parking area, on the north side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Highlight: View across the lake near the parking area south to Grandfather Mountain is a classic on a clear fall afternoon.
Why it’s easy and what you’ll see: There’s virtually no elevation gain on this trail, which hugs the bank around Price Lake, part of Julian Price Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Parts of the trail are cozy, tucking under the protective cover of rhododendron tunnels, while other parts snuggle up to the bank offering wide panoramas. A couple of rock outcrops on lake’s east side offer good opportunities to spread out and soak up the sun. There are several good places to fish on the lake’s west side, and if you prefer viewing fall color from on the lake rather than from around it, a boat house near the parking area rents canoes. RomanticAsheville.com reports that color will be peaking this week between 3,000 and 4,000 feet; With Price Lake at 3,400 feet, the riparian hardwoods should be blazing. And don’t be discouraged if traffic is bumper-to-bumper on the parkway: Few of those people get out of their cars and of those who do, an even smaller percentage will take a 2.7-mile hike.
Be forewarned: The footpath around Price Lake is generally smooth, though it can get mushy in spots. Where Laurel Creek feeds into the lake at its south end is especially prone to wetness.
More info: 828.298.0398, or visit the Blue Ridge Parkway Web site here.