We’re big fans of hiking at night. We love the intimacy of the dark woods, the increased sense of camaraderie with our fellow hikers, the mystery of what lies beyond the glow of our headlamp. That’s why we created our Tuesday Night Hikes series (our next hike is Tuesday, btw; details here), and also why we keep an eye out for night hikes to recommend. 

We love the night hike

We’re also big fans of Medoc Mountain State Park about an hour-and-a-half northeast of Raleigh. To us, it’s the least appreciated State Park in the state, with 10 miles of hiking trail, 9 miles of mountain bike trail, bridle trails, paddling and fishing on Little Fishing Creek, and lots and lots of solitude. So when one of our favorite activities (hiking after dark) happens at one of our favorite spots (Medoc Mountain), we’re all too enthused to let you know.

Saturday night, beginning at 7, enjoy a 2-mile Full Moon Hike at Medoc Mountain that’s family friendly. Bring water and a flashlight, be prepared to learn what goes on after the sun sets in these Piedmont woods. Free, but you need to secure a spot by calling Heidi at 252.586.1770. More info here.

Also this weekend:

Beaver Habitat Hike, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. You can see a lot from the trail. You can see more off the trail. Sunday, for instance, you can follow a ranger off trail to spy on the local beaver population on this 1.5-mile hike that will take you up close to a beaver dam, a remarkable piece of rodent engineering. Learn more here.

Lake Johnson Nature Explorers, Sunday, 2 p.m., Lake Johnson Park, Raleigh. If you’re like a lot of parents, you want your kids to spend more time outside. And, like a lot of parents, you may have discovered that they don’t necessarily like going on a 5-mile hike at a peppy pace. What they do like, though, is to plod through streams, flip over logs and basically investigate the natural world. That’s the goal of this program, to flip, dig and sift, and let a naturalist explain what it is your kids (and you!) are discovering. $2 per person, learn more here.

Get Wild! Bird Superpowers, Saturday, 10 a.m., Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Chapel Hill. Birding sounds appealing, but dang those little guys are quick: how do you figure out who’s who so quickly? Likewise the birdsong: how do you differentiate songs that sound so similar? This Triangle Land Conservancy program offers a good opportunity to learn birding basics. Free, but pre-registration is required; go here for details.

GetHiking! this weekend

What are our GetHiking! groups in North Carolina and Virginia up to this weekend? Plenty, thanks for asking … 

Featured hikes GetBackpacking! Merchants Millpond State Park, Friday, Feb. 7 – Sunday, Feb. 9, Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. A mellow 3-mile hike in to camp Friday afternoon, a 10-mile day hike through the coastal park on Saturday, a 3-mile hike out on Sunday. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlotte: South Mountains, Friday, February 7, 10 a.m., 3001 South Mountain Park Ave., Connelly Springs. Strenuous. 8-9 miles. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: James Madison’s Montpelier to Grelen and Back, Friday, February 7, 9 a.m., 11350 Constitution Hwy., Montpelier Station. Easy. 6 miles. Hike highlight: Montpelier. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Triangle: MST at Falls Lake: The Long Haul, Saturday, February 8, 9 a.m., 14700-14706 Creedmoor Rd., Wake Forest. Moderate. 7.3 miles. Hike highlights: lake shore, hardwood forest, Rollingview Marina, old farm. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Hazel River Hike, Sunday, February 9, 8 a.m., 4105 Lewis and Clark Dr., Charlottesville. Strenuous. 9.2 miles. Hike highlights: Hazel Mountain Trail, Hazel River Trail, White Rocks Trail, Hazel River, Hazel River Falls, Winter time vistas throughout the hike. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Beagle Gap to Calf Mountain Shelter, Sunday, February 9, 10 a.m., 1125 Emmet St., Charlottesville. Moderately Easy. 5 miles. Hike highlights: views from Little Calf Mountain. Learn more here.

Live the video

Today’s video is from last week’s GetHiking! hike at the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Horton Grove Nature Preserve in northern Durham County. On a gorgeous winter Sunday when the Triangle’s other outdoor venues were crawling with hikers, it was just us and a handful of others at Horton Grove. Learn more about paying a visit here.

More Weekend Options

Looking for more options for weekend adventure? Check out our GetOut! Find An Adventure resource page here.

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