This weekend: A swamp tour, a naturalist weekend, a hike on new trail in the Mountains

Learn a thing or two about a swamp at the coast, ditto a riparian corridor in the Piedmont. Meanwhile, the Carolina Mountain Club hikes a new and emerging stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail originating at Waterrock Knob. Another great weekend to be in North Carolina.


dismal-day-wagonridesSo here’s a plan: Sunday, Dismal Swamp State Park will conduct two of its popular Wagon Rides, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The ride lasts about an hour, covers a couple miles on the Canal Road, there are several educational stops along the way.

Go on the ride, get educated, then rent a kayak at the park for $5 for the first hour, paddle the canal and put your newfound knowledge to practical use. Exploring an area is all the better when you know a thing about it.

Logistics: Sunday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills. Wagon ride is free, kayak rental is $5 for the first hour, $3 each hour thereafter. 252.771.6593 to reserve a spot on the wagon.

Sunday forecast: High of 83, chance of thunderstorms.


Low-Water-BridgeWeb_0This weekend, The LandTrust for Central North Carolina celebrates its Third Annual Naturalist Weekend at its 1,300-acre Low Water Bridge Nature Preserve on the Uwharrie River. Hikes both days at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. will be lead by John Gerwin, ornithologist at the N.C. Museum of Sciences in Raleigh, while the Sunday hikes will include local rattlesnake expert Zach Orr. There’s a canoe trip as well, at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

A gorgeous area, a great organization.

Logistics: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., canoe trip Saturday at 2 p.m., Low Water Bridge Nature Preserve, Troy.

Weekend forecast: High of 86 both days, chance of thunderstorms both days.


0547.04Love to explore new trail? Not all of Sunday’s hike by the Carolina Mountain Club is on fresh trail, but a fair amount is.

Hikers, lead by guidebook author Danny Bernstein, will start at Waterrock Knob and hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail mostly downhill to Balsam Gap. The hike will pass through the Middle Prong Wilderness and stands of black balsam. Special guest hiker appearance by Kate Dixon, Executive Director of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Logistics: Sunday, May 10, 8:30 a.m. Waterrock Knob. Contact Bernstein at 828.450.0747 or to sign up and for additional details.

Weather: High of 80, chance of thunderstorms.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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