The weekend forecast, no matter where you live in North Carolina, is essentially this: daytime high of 80, a good chance of rain.
We’ve had a fair amount of rain this year: in the Triangle, 31.58 inches of rain have fallen at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since the first of the year, more than six inches above the normal. Fortunately, though, much of that rain has come during the week.
Not, apparently, the case this weekend.
So what are your rainy day options?
There’s always the climbing gym, and with 14 across the state, odds are there’s one near you. Check out your options at our list of climbing gyms in North Carolina.
One of our favorite outdoor options in the rain: a hike. If you’ve got even the basic gear to keep dry, a hike in the rain can be a revelatory experience. First, though, you need that basic gear; this post from March 2012 gives you that direction.
Then, because some hikes are better hiked wet that others, here’s a rundown of seven of our favorite wet hikes near the state’s urban centers.
- Charlotte: Crowders Mountain State Park, Crowders Mountain and Rocktop trails. 5 miles. This circuit takes the high road, at least assuring your feet don’t get soaked. Details here.
- Winston-Salem: Hanging Rock State Park, Indian Creek Trail. 7.2 miles (out-and-back)Hanging Rock is coveted for its 360-degree views. When the clouds roll in, seek out its second key attribute: waterfalls, on the Indian Creek Trail. Details here.
- Hillsborough: Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, 3.5 miles. You get the best of both worlds on this circuit hike: the dryer heights of 867-foot Occoneechee Mountain (the highest point in the Triangle!) and time spent along the frisky, mountainlike Eno River. Details here.
- Raleigh: Umstead State Park, Sycamore Trail. 7.2 miles. One of the best hiking experiences in the Piedmont is the mile and a half stretch along Sycamore Creek during or right after a good rain energizes this normally placid stream. Details here.
- Wilmington: Carolina Beach State Park, Sugarloaf Dune Trail. 3.5 miles. Three reasons to hike here in the rain: fewer hikers, fewer bugs, the sandy soil drains the rain. Details here.
- Greenville: Goose Creek State Park, numerous trails. 7 miles total. What’s more mysterious than hiking through a swamp? Hiking through a swamp in the rain. A series of strategically placed boardwalks keep you higher and dryer than you might expect. Details here.
- Greensboro: Mayo River State Park, Mayo Mountain Ridge Trail. 2 miles. This short trail climbs a gentle ridgeline for a mile before returning, all through a maturing hardwood forest with a rain-shielding canopy. Details here.