We take a lot of groups on weekend hiking trips to the mountains. As a result, we stay in a lot of group campgrounds. When we book a group campground, we look at a number of factors, including:
Proximity to good hiking. Ideally, we look for a campground with immediate access to trails — and not just any old trails, but trails that will yield a full day of memorable hiking. If we can treat people to an entire day of using just their own feet to get around, we we find they enjoy the day that much more..
Shaded camping. We hike mostly in summer, so we need to pitch tents where they won’t broil during the day.
A commons area. A big fire pit, a picnic table or two, rocks or logs to sit on — we don’t ask much, but these are biggies.
Basic amenities. We need water at the campsite, we’d like a privy not too far away. A bathhouse, of course, is nice. And if we can park a reasonable distance away — within 50 yards of the campsite, say — all the better.
Privacy. From others in the group, to some degree (hey, we all need a little me time), but mostly from neighboring campers. We escape to the wild for various reasons; it’s those who escape to the wild to be wild that we prefer to avoid.
Good vibe. Most importantly, the site must have a good vibe. It needn’t be immaculately groomed; rather, we like a spot that fits in with the natural surroundings. Sometimes you know the second you drive up, sometimes it takes a night or two of camaraderie to summons the vibe.
There are other factors, but these are the basics. Based on these basics, here are our our five favorite group campgrounds in North Carolina.read more
And does your party have reservations? the campground host inquires upon your arrival.
OK, maybe it doesn’t work quite like that. But increasingly in this evermore-outdoor-loving world, you do need reservations to spend an evening in the woods. And some places that require them may surprise you. read more
Tuesday at lunch I headed to a favorite local wild area for a two-mile hike. Five minutes in and I was a glow: my eyes stung with sweat, my shirt stuck to me, I’d even collected a cobweb or two. Ah, the return of hot weather hiking.
I love a good hike in the heat. In large part that’s because not everyone else does. Head out on a day when the temperature’s in the upper 80s, as it was Tuesday, and there’s a good chance you won’t see another soul on the trail. But the summer forest is a whole other world: it’s teaming with life, yet it’s oddly quiet. It’s the best time of year to find a secluded spot and plant yourself for 15 minutes and quietly observe the world around you. read more
Deciding where to explore this summer was tough, but we’ve come up with a great line-up of adventures for GetHiking! and GetBackpacking!
What makes it so tough, of course, is the abundance of memorable places to explore in our area. So here’s some insight into how we chose the destinations we have for some of our summer adventures. read more
On Saturday’s final hike of our 2018-2019 Winter Wild hike series, we decided to add an extra mile or so. It was a mile of trail I hadn’t hiked.
As we made our way up the north bank of New Hope Creek, I could hear the gradient increasing upstream, the sound of water cascading over rock a bit more intense than we’re used to hearing in the Piedmont. As the noise grew, some mild scrambling was required; we shinnied up a rock outcrop overlooking the creek and emerged on a slab 30 feet above the water.read more