Forecast: Snowy with a chance of excellent hiking

In summer, I fantasize about layering up, topping it all with a shell and hiking in the cold and, if the planets are truly in line, snow. Rarely in winter do I fantasize about hiking in summer, an activity that can quickly be confused with swimming.

I’ve heard grumbling the past couple days about the weekend forecast, which, yes, includes the highly-un-April-like possibility of snow.

Snow in April — that, hiking friends, is an opportunity. And perhaps a last chance this season to break out your layers and enjoy one last winteresque adventure before the dewy days of summer. What’s to grumble about? Consider:

In Charlottesville, the forecast Wednesday called for up to 3 inches of snow on Saturday. That makes GetHiking! Charlottesville’s 9.8-mile hike up Peaks of Otter all the more attractive. For one, this is a popular spring hike, especially starting from the Visitor Center; the suggestion of snow should mean that you won’t have to wade through crowds. Highlights of this hike include Sharp Top Mountain, Flat Top Mountain and the Peaks of Otter. Plus, they’ll be carpooling from Charlottesville if you’re not keen on driving in snow.

For those not crazy about a snow hike, GetHiking! Charlottesville has more options: On Friday, there’s a 6.8-mile hike in the Shenandoah National Park taking in Jones Run and Doyle’s River Falls. On Sunday, they’ll kick off the 2018 GetHiking! Easy Hike Series with a moderately easy 5-mile hike from Beagle Gap to Calf Mountain and back on the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah. See the GetHiking! Charlottesville Meetup for details.

GetHiking! Charlotte will be hiking at Doughton Park doing one of our favorite loops. Starting from the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, from the Longbottom Road Access, they’ll climb the 4.4-mile Cedar Ridge Trail to the ridge, where rain could be changing to snow. One of the more scenic hikes we can imagine is the Bluff Mountain Trail, which spends much of its time in open meadows with ongoing views. It’s a robust 14 miles in all.

In the Triangle, GetHiking! has a GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods class on Sunday. The weather is especially fortuitous for this three-hour event: most of it is off-trail in areas that will be overgrown before long. Thus, if you’re in the Triangle and want to pick up some navigation skills, best act now because this class will likely only be offered once again before late fall.

Maybe you’re not up for traveling far, but are intrigued by the idea of one last snow hike before switching from your Salawas to your sandals. Odds are there’s good trail near you. We share thoughts on some options below.

It’s still unclear whether it will snow. If it doesn’t, the cool and wet conditions will suppress the number of spring hiking enthusiasts on the trail. Get out and make the most of it.

And if it does snow? Well, it won’t be unprecedented: Raleigh got 10 inches of snow on April 3, 1915. But it will be an unusual treat.

Get out and enjoy.

Happy trails,

Joe

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More info

For more information on these hikes and other hikes in the GetHiking! universe, find your local affiliate here.

For a rundown of hikes near you, check out this recent blog post we did for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. You can also find more regional hikes here.

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