This weekend: Adventure from sea level to 6,000 feet

Ledge Creek (photo courtesy Tar River Land Conservancy)

Learn about the salt marsh on a paddle at the coast, watch the sun set on the weekend from the Art Loeb Trail, or discover a “new” gorge where the Piedmont and coastal plain meet.


The Bald Head Island Conservancy does an exemplary job of promoting the environment through public education. This weekend, for instance, there’s Birding BHI, Touch Tank Time and Reptile Roundup on Saturday, and Island Nature Tour and Kayaking the Creeks on Sunday. We’re especially intrigued by Kayaking the Creeks. Lead by a member of the Conservancy, you’ll head out in tandem kayaks to explore and learn “about the beauty and importance of the salt marsh.”

PFDs, paddles and kayaks provided, you supply the water, sunscreen, bug spray, hat and clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting muddy and perhaps slightly wet.

Logistics: Kayaking the Creeks, Sunday, May 7, 5 p.m., Bald Head Island. $55, $40 for CHI members. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 59.

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Looking ahead: Can’t make this weekend’s BHI events? They run throughout the year; find more info here.

Exploring the salt marshes of Bald Head Island (photo courtesy BHI Conservancy)


Not much we like more than a new place to explore. Such a place opened to the public in February, the Ledge Creek Forest Conservation Area less than an hour north of the Triangle. Ledge Creek is the result of efforts by the Tar River Land Conservancy to protect land — and thus, the watershed — of the Tar River Basin. The 300-acre preserve is especially intriguing because of its location where the Triassic Basin and the Carolina Slate Belt meet. The hike begins in nondescript farmland, but quickly drops into a heavily-forested gorge, dropping away 200 feet to protected Ledge Creek.

We’re offering this hike through our GetHiking! program and through our affiliation with Hike NC!, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina initiative to get more people on the trail. Learn about this unusual meeting of geology and discover a great place to explore on even the hottest summer day.

Logistics: Hike Ledge Creek Forest Conservation Area, Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m., Ledge Creek Forest CA, Stem. Learn more and register here.

Saturday forecast: High of 67 with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Hike NC! Eno River State Park, Cole Mill Access: Pea Creek and Dunnagan Trails, Friday, May 12, Durham. More info and sign up here.

Art Loeb Trail at Tennent Mountain


A sunset hike from the roof (or is it the ceiling?) of North Carolina: hard to beat that! Unless you have a forecast that calls for cloudless skies and temperatures in the 50s.

That’s how things are lining up for Sunday’s Sunset Hike on the Art Loeb Trail at Black Balsam. One of our Hike NC! Hikes, hike leader Joy James, from Appalachian State University, will lead hikers on a one-mile hike on the Art Loeb Trail, kissing the 6,000-foot-elevation mark. The landscape here is rare in North Carolina: a mountaintop setting with balds, open meadows and unparalleled views, including to the west, to the setting sun.

Logistics: Sunset Hike on the Art Loeb Trail at Black Balsam, Sunday, May 7, 7:15 – 8:45 p.m., Black Balsam access off the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more information and to register, go here.

Sunday forecast: Clear skies, highs in the 50s.

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Looking ahead: Get Outside Mountain Relay, 208-mile mountain run, June 2, Glade Valley. 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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