Consider the coming weekend as preparation for the winter ahead: high temperatures throughout much of the region won’t get out of the 40s. That makes it an opportune time to dig out your cold weather gear, see what works, see what needs replacing. Make good use of this test-run weekend and you’ll be ready for the winter months ahead!
Our thoughts on where and how you can explore this weekend follow.
Bean Shoals Canal Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. The thought of visiting Pilot Mountain on a fall weekend — even a cold one — can send chills up a hiker’s spine. The top — the park’s best known area because of its great views — can get uber crowded on fall weekend’s, depriving visitors of the peaceful experience we seek. But the park has several lesser-appreciated access points, including the North River Section, home to the Bean Shoals Canal Trail, the focus of Saturday’s hike. Learn a little history as you travel the north bank of the Yadkin River on this 1-mile hike. One mile not enough for you? Then tack on the adjoining 2.5-mile Horne Creek Trail afterwards, which continues along the Yadkin before heading inland through hilly terrain. Learn more and get directions here.
Huggins Island History Hike, Sunday, 11 a.m., Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro. The North Carolina coast is peppered with hundreds of small islands, many with good stories to tell. Among them is 225-acre Huggins Island, which is nearly split between higher drylands and marsh (a foot or two of elevation difference separates the two). The island was a Native American fishing and hunting ground early on, a Confederate battlement in the Civil War. You can find remnants of both, in addition to a maritime swamp forest that has been recognized as a Globally Rare and Significant Area. Come explore the island with a ranger. Boat ride over is provided, but space is limited: call 910.326.4881 to reserve a spot. Learn more about the hike and Hammocks Beach here.
Boyd Tract Hike, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. Much is made of the longleaf pine, and rightfully so: at one point, before the European invasion, the stately pine dominated the regional landscape. But the invading masses quickly came to value the longleaf for its resin and straight, sturdy trunks, and today the longleaf is only truly appreciated in a few spots that evaded harvest. One of those spots is the Boyd Track at Weymouth Woods, the focus of this 1-mile hike. Not only will you see one of the few remaining stands of old-growth longleaf pine, you’ll also have an audience with the world’s oldest known longleaf. This hike begins not at the state park Visitor Center, but at the nearby Weymouth Center, 555 E. Connecticut Ave. Learn more here.
GetHiking! this weekend
What are our GetHiking! groups in North Carolina and Virginia up to this weekend? Plenty, thanks for asking … .
GetBackpacking! Triangle: Weekend Quick Escape: Doughton Park, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 15-17, Longbottom Road, Hays, NC. We’ll leave from Chapel Hill at 5p.m. on Friday, hike between .5 and 3 miles Friday, 10-15 miles Saturday, with day packs, and a short hike Sunday before heading home. Learn more and sign up here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Robertson Mountain and Corbin Hollow Circuit, Saturday, November 16, 8 a.m., 4105 Lewis and Clark Dr., Charlottesville. Strenuous. 9.5 miles. Hike highlights: Weakley Hollow Fire Road, Robertson Mountain Trail, Old Rag Fire Road, Corbin Hollow Trail, 360 degree views from Robertson Mountain, Amazing Fall colors of Shenandoah. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Disaster+Travel+Wilderness First Aid Course, Saturday, November 16, 8:30 a.m., Ivy Creek Foundation, Charlottesville. Hands-on learn how to save life & limb, when mired in the wilderness of an urban disaster zone, travel or rural area far from hospital, or natural area miles from an access point, during the critical minutes or hours before ambulance arrival. Blend of classroom instruction and hands-on problem-solving rescue scenario practice. Come away with actual do-it-yourself care-giving skill and confidence, and 2-year SOLO certification. Counts as WFR Recertification, too. No prerequisites. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlotte: Grandfather Mountain, Saturday, November 16, 9:30a.m. 100 Blue Ridge Pkwy., Blowing Rock. Strenuous. 7.1 miles. Hike highlights: very scenic, ascends over 2000ft. before arriving at Calloway Peak. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Crabtree Meadows to Spy Rock Retrace, Sunday, November 17, 9 a.m., Fontaine Research Park, Charlottesville. Moderate-Strenuous. 8 miles. Hike highlights: Spy Rock is an incredible rock dome on the east side of Maintop Mountain with 360° views of the Religious Range, Mount Pleasant, The Priest, and Three Ridges. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Triangle: “National Take a Hike Day” — Harris Lake County Park, Sunday, November 17, 1:30 p.m., 2112 County Park Dr., New Hill. Easy. 5 miles. Hike highlights: The Peninsula Trail will lead us along the lake shore through a variety of forest habitats, including a long leaf pine stand and mixed oak/hickory hardwoods. Learn more here.
Farther out GetHiking! Triangle: Tuesday Night Hikes, Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Nov. 19-March 3. The hikes are generally 3-4 miles long, start at 7 and run for an hour and a half or so. We’ll do seven hikes in the series, including four on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake and one on New Year’s Eve! Learn more and sign up here.
GetHiking! Triangle: Midweek Escape on the MST at Falls Lake, Wednesday, November 20, 9:30 a.m., 14700-14706 Creedmore Rd., Wake Forest. Moderate. 5.6 miles. Hike highlights: We’ll start from the trail access of NC 50/Creedmor Road and hike east on a mix of old roadbeds and single-track trail for a fall hike through meadows and maturing forest along Falls Lake. The terrain is rolling, the trail relatively foot-friendly, the fall scenery pretty swell. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: White Oak Canyon, Thursday, November 21, 9:30 a.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Charlottesville. Moderate-Strenuous. 7 miles. Hike highlights: waterfalls and cascades, scenic views from high elevation. Learn more here.
Live the video
This week’s video covers a pair of scouting trips this past weekend, first to Eno River State Park in Durham for an upcoming Winter Wild trek, then on to Jordan Lake State Recreation Area for a future hike. Click the appropriate links for details on exploring these Triangle area venues.
More weekend options
Looking for more options for weekend adventure? Check out our GetOut! Find An Adventure resource page here.