First, the weather: Nice, darn nice, especially for this time of year.
In the Piedmont, temperatures will be in the upper 80s during the day, slipping below 70 at night. The best news, though, is that the Saharan dust cloud will keep humidity low (in addition to providing for some spectacular sunrises and sunsets).
The news is even better in the mountains.
In West Jefferson, at the base of Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and near Elk Knob State Park, it will only get into the low 70s this weekend, with overnight lows in the mid-60s. A chance of thunderstorms Sunday afternoon. In Waynesville, it will be a tad warmer, the upper 70s, again with the chance of thunderstorms Sunday afternoon.
Consider, too, that the temperature drops, on average, about 3 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained, and some of our higher peaks could require fleece: it was 48 this morning atop Mount Mitchell with temperatures expected to rise only into the mid-50s this weekend.
That said, our advice for the weekend: Go West, y’all. Some recommendations:
Five Mountain Hikes with Altitude, Attitude. In this post from April 2019, we mentioned several high-altitude trails with more than just elevation to recommend them. We included three — Pond Mountain, Three-Top Mountain and China Creek-Thunderhole — that don’t get a lot of traffic. Find that post here.
Five of Our Favorite Mountain Hikes on the MST. In the high country, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail spends considerable time ghosting the Blue Ridge Parkway. The big advantage? Easy access to the trail. Plus, if you pull up to one trailhead and it’s packed with cars, drive a few miles until you hit one that isn’t. Find five of our MST faves in a post we wrote for our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. here.
Five mountain hikes on the easy side. Worried that you aren’t in shape for mountain hiking? Earlier this month we wrote a blog for our friends at Blue Cross NC on five mountain hikes that provide the esthetics of mountain hiking without the physical demands. Find it here.
5 Must-do Summer Mountain Hikes in the Southern Appalachians. Certain trails are best explored at certain times of the year. In this post, also for Great Outdoor Provision Co., we look at five we feel are best hiked in summer (and we tell you why).
No matter where you choose to explore this weekend, expect the weather to cooperate: no excuses.
We won’t be heading to the mountains, but we will be heading to Eno River State Park Sunday morning for a 7-mile hike pieced together from 5 trails. Here’s a peek at our hike. Learn more about Eno River State Park here.