Tag Archives: North Carolina State Parks

Five hikes ideal for you, now

The view from atop Raven Rock.

Last week, I wrote of the need to get out — at least once — on a sanity-saving hike over the holiday season. Because we realize you have a lot going on this time of year, and because we realize the one chance you might have to venture out should be extra special, we offered to come up with the perfect hike, just for you. To make that happen, we asked a few questions, such as: How long is your ideal hike? How far are you willing to drive? And what do you hope to find along the trail? You made my job easier by being pretty much in synch regarding your needs. read more

Piedmont: Fall escapes that escape the crowds

“I can’t believe we haven’t seen anyone,” Krista said midway into our 15-mile hike.
“I wonder what Umstead’s like right now?” Amy wondered. “Probably bumper-to-bumper people.”
Probably, considering: 1) It was the second weekend in October and the first true weekend of fall color in the Piedmont, 2) It was a Saturday afternoon, 3) There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, 4) The temperature was struggling to get out of the 60s.
In short, it was a perfect fall day. The kind of day where it occurs to everyone to go for a hike, and it occurs to everyone to go to the same places. To Umstead State Park in Raleigh, to Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain state parks in the Triad, to Crowders Mountain near Charlotte.
Need proof?
The Crowders Mountain Web site offers this warning front and center on its home page: “Expect parking delays on nice fall weekends.”
Which isn’t to say you should hide at home and experience fall through silde shows such as the one above. If you know where to go — like Amy and Krista did — you can experience the magnificence of fall in magnificent solitude. read more

90 Second Escape: Paddling with a Ranger

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease this trying transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape. Essentially, it’s a 90-second video of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s in the sun. read more

90-Second Escape: Paddling Umstead’s Big Lake

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast, especially come summer. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy.
To help ease this trying transition from out-in-the-Sun-day to Mon-I-wish-I-were-back-in-the-sun-day, we’re running a new feature every Monday, at least during the summer, called 90-Second Escape. Essentially, it’s a 90-second mini-movie of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s out in the sun. Because there’s a good chance you might want to make such an escape yourself, we’ll include a resource list with each escape showing where and how to make it happen.
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N.C. State Parks gets an app

Say you’re driving through the Triad, you have some time on your hands and you think, “Hmm, I wonder if there’s a state park around here where I could do some rock climbing?” Used to be you’d have to be content to keep driving, keep wondering. Now, there’s an app for that.
The N.C. Parks Department this morning unveiled its Pocket Ranger app for iPhones and Droids that answers such immediate and pressing questions of the outdoor recreationist. Using our hypothetical situation, you could simply open your Pocket Ranger app, tap on “Park Activities,” finger down to “Rock Climbing” and tap on that, and discover that — holy cow! There’s not one but two state parks nearby (Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain) where one can rock climb. read more