Your weekend: More great fall days to hike, run or fly a kite

Our spate of great fall weekend weather continues. Amid a full lineup of ways to enjoy it, here’s what we are especially drawn to.


Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Make of this what you will: I go for a 5-mile run, my step-counter-dealiebob gives me credit for maybe 8,000 steps. I spend the day working in the yard, I hit my daily goal of 15,000 steps by noon. Which is to say, good aerobic exercise can come from unexpected places.

Like attending this weekend’s 11th Annual Cape Fear Kite Festival at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Say you bring a kite: you’re spending the day running up and down the beach, trying to get the thing up, fetching it when your initial objective falls short. Say you don’t bring a kite: you’re running up and down the beach checking out all the really cool (and sometimes really big!) kites. Odds are you’ll hit your goal by noon as well. And extra credit for running in the sand.

Starts Saturday morning at 10, ends Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Logistics: 11th Annual Cape Fear Kite Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach. Free. More info here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny both days with highs around 70.

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Looking ahead: Bear Island Eco Hike, Hammocks Beach State Park, Sunday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. More info here.


House Rock
House Rock

Hanging Rock, Moore’s Knob, Wolf Rock, Cook’s Wall and … dang! You can never remember the name of the last of the five peaks that make up the coveted Five Peak Challenge at Hanging Rock State Park.

Saturday is your chance to forever etch that elusive fifth peak, House Rock, into memory, when an environmental educator at Hanging Rock State Park leads a 3-mile hike (roundtrip) to House Rock and back. This hike promises a moderate pace, taking two hours to take in the views and scenic wonders along the way, while also exploring all of House Rock’s “rooms.”

Intrigued? Read on …

Logistics: Adventure Hike, Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m., Hanging Rock State Park (meet at the bathhouse). For more info, go here.

Saturday forecast: 52 degrees at hike time under sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 24) hikes at Raven Rock State Park (9 a.m.) and Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve (10 a.m.). More info here.


wp-mountainsHere’s a beguiling pitch: “No Pavement. No Traffic. Just Awesome.”

Go on …

That’s how race organizers describe the South of the Mountain Trail Run. This 5K is on the 260-acre South Mountain Christian Camp, course that, “takes runners on one continuous loop through a mix of gravel roads, grassy shorelines, and wide dirt trails on the south side of Cherry Mountain. Encompassing rolling hills, wooded paths, and scenic views along the lake, the South of the Mountain Trail Run offers a wide variety of challenges for runners and walkers of all skill levels in one of the most beautiful settings around.” Well, then … .

Logistics: South of the Mountain Trail Run, Saturday, 10 a.m., South Mountain Christian Camp, Bostic. $25. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Sunny and high of 54 around race time.

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Looking ahead: Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 24) hikes at Grandfather Mountain State Park. More info here.

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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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