Summer hiking: beat the heat

One way to beat the summer heat: hike as high as possible. In the case of the Shining Rock area, that would be between 5,000 and about 6,200 feet.

As we enter August, those among us who eschew putting foot to trail in hot weather start getting a little anxious. It was OK back in mid-June; there were other, largely water-based pursuits to keep us occupied: paddling the canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard, surfing, just lolling in the surf.
Now, even though it’s still hot, we’re missing the trail. Must we wait until the end of September to renew our love of hiking?
No. You do have options. You need trails that either work with their surroundings or you need to know when exactly to hike.
A while back, we assembled a list of 10 mountain hikes especially suitable for summer. Those hikes are:

  1. Shuckstack/Lost Cove/Lakeshore Loop, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 11.6 miles (Trip No. 21 “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  2. Harper Creek/North Harper Creek Loop, 13.6-mile loop, less for an out-and-back Wilson Creek Area, (Trip No. 9, “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  3. Huntfish Falls, 16.4 miles with shorter options, Wilson Creek Area (Trip No. 8, Backpacking North Carolina”).
  4. Clingmans Dome, 26.2 miles, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Trip No. 19, “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  5. Shining Rock Wilderness, various lengths (Trips 14, 15 and 16, “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  6. Mountains-to-Sea Trail through Graveyard Fields, 3.2 miles, Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 418.8) (Hike No. 62, “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina”).
  7. Basin Cove, Doughton Park, various from 8.5 to 20+ miles, Blue Ridge Parkway (Trip No. 11, “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  8. Pink Beds, 5 miles, Pisgah National Forest near Brevard (Hike No. 80, “100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina”).
  9. Mount Mitchell, various lengths & options, Black Mountains (Trips 1, 2, 3, “Backpacking North Carolina”).
  10. Panthertown Valley.

Learn more about those hikes, here.

Earlier this week, our sister site,, posted its recommendations for five hikes especially well suited for August. There’s one at the coast (Lake Waccamaw), two in the Piedmont (Pilot Mountain and Johnston Mill Nature Preserve) and two in the mountains (Wilson Creek and Price Lake).
Learn more about those hikes, here.
So what if it’s hot, sweaty summer! Go for a hike!

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