This weekend: Take a Hike

The Neusiok trailhead at the Pine Cliff Picnic Area.
The Neusiok trailhead at the Pine Cliff Picnic Area.

On trail or off, it’s a good weekend to take a hike in North Carolina.

Coast

One of our favorite hikes in North Carolina is the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest. Just not at certain times.
Like when the temperature is much above 60.

The Neusiok runs for 20 miles, from the Pine Cliff Picnic Area on the south bank of the Neuse River not long before the Neuse gives it up to to the Pamlico Sound, to the Newport River. Near Pine Cliff, the trail more resembles the Piedmont — even the mountains in spots. But once it crosses NC 306 headed east, it’s coastal forest all the way, passing through cypress swamps, bottom land forests and pocosins. Warm weather tends to arouse some of the regional denizens — some with little wings, some with no legs — that can make hiking an enjoyment challenge.

Sunday, however, the hiking should be good on the Neusiok, with cool temperatures and a little rain in the forest. Join our GetExploring! Greenville affiliate on a 12-mile hike of the northwesternmost portion of the Neusiok starting at 10:30 a.m.

Logistics: Sunday, 10:30 a.m., Neusiok Trail/Pine Cliff Picnic Area, Croatan National Forest, Havelock. For more information, visit the GetExploring! Greenville Meetup page.

Sunday forecast: High of 61, good chance of rain.

Stone Mountain (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)
Stone Mountain (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

Piedmont

Ever head into the woods with your camera on a spectacular day and return with less-than-spectacular photos? What’s the deal?

No deal, really. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for through your viewfinder. Get a better feel for capturing the scene  on Saturday’s Photography Hike at Stone Mountain State Park. Let a ranger show you how to capture the sights.

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m., Stone Mountain State Park Visitor Center. More info by calling 336.957.8185.

Saturday forecast: Sunny and 49 degrees, perfect snapshot weather.

Craggy Mountains (photo courtesy romanticasheville.com)
Craggy Mountains (photo courtesy romanticasheville.com)

Mountains

If we weren’t already backpacking Saturday, we’d be bushwhacking through the Craggy Mountains with the Western North Carolina Alliance as part of their Prevail Off-Trail! hike.

This six-mile hike includes 1.5 miles off trail, using your wits, a map and a compass to find your way (and the helpful folks with the Western North Carolina Alliance). You’ll pass through old growth forest and score great views of the Hawksbill Creek drainage. In addition: “Please wear sturdy hiking boots and dress in warm layers such as a non-cotton long sleeve shirt and a fleece jacket. Pack with you extra layers, rain gear, lunch, snacks, and at least 2 liters of water. If you have one, please bring a compass. We’ll provide the maps!”

Logistics: Saturday, 9 a.m. Free, but registration required by going here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 53.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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