This weekend: Go Hike NC

Jones Lake
Jones Lake

Highs in the low 80s, sunny skies. Sounds like a great weekend for a hike, no? And as luck would have it, this weekend is the kick off for Hike NC, a statewide hiking initiative by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, North Carolina State Parks, GetGoingNC and others. We’ll talk more about Hike NC in the coming days, but in a nutshell, it’s an effort to expose more North Carolinians to their state’s remarkable hiking resource, a resource they can frequently find right in their own backyard. We’ve got more than 60 hikes scheduled statewide over the next two months; today, we highlight the three that launch the program this weekend.

Coast | Coastal Plain

Saturday, 10 a.m., Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach. Basin Trail, 2.2 miles. A hike tailor made for kids (of the older variety as well). Learn the ecology of a barrier island on this easy, flat hike. Also learn the history of the Fort Fisher hermit, who for several years made his home in a World War II concrete bunker midway along the trail.

Details here.

Saturday, 10 a.m., Jones Lake State Park, Elizabethtown. Roughly a half million Carolina bays dot the Southeastern United States; learn the story of this one on a hike of the mile-long Cedar Loop lead by Park Ranger Garrett German.

Basin Trail, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
Basin Trail, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Details here


Saturday, 1 p.m., Haw River State Park, Iron Ore Belt Access, Great Blue Heron Trail. 3.8 miles. Easy/moderate. The terrain is rolling but the trail is not on this loop that manages to stay level-headed on its way around a wetland. There’s a great history to this new addition to the North Carolina State Parks system, one you’ll learn about from Hike Leader and Park Superintendent Kelley King.

Details here


Hike NC doesn’t have a hike scheduled in the mountains on this first weekend, but that’s OK because Buncombe County Recreation Services and the Blue Ridge Parkway do. It’s a good one: a 1.4-mile hike out of the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center where you’re very likely to see the first legit signs of fall. “The hike along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail begins with a moderate uphill climb to the summit at Craggy Gardens to an elevation of 5,892 feet,” say the sponsors, “so bring a jacket and dress in layers. The hike is for all ages.”

Details here

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Haw River's Great Blue Heron Trail
Haw River’s Great Blue Heron Trail

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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