We are so ready for fall — and the fall hiking season, which begins this weekend.
We know: the calendar says fall doesn’t start until September 22. But we have long associated Labor Day with the passing of the torch from summer to fall. Even in the wack-a-doodle year of 2020, when up is down and down is sideways, we can’t shake the holiday’s unofficial hand-off.
Which is why we’re celebrating the advent of fall in two ways:
- Sunday Afternoon Hikes. On Sunday, with the start of our Fall GetHiking! Sunday Afternoon Hike Series. If you’re new to the area or are a pandemic convert to hiking, you might find this series of interest. Every Sunday afternoon at 1, we hike a different trail in the Triangle. We hike anywhere from 4 to 7 miles on a diversity of regional trails, from the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Durham and Wake counties, to Raven Rock State Park south of Fuquay-Varina, to assorted trails in between. It’s good exposure to the Triangle hiking scene, with an emphasis on avoiding the fall hiking hordes by focusing on the trails less traveled. We begin this Sunday on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Eno River. Learn more and sign up here if you’re a single hiker, here if you’re a couple or family.
- Tuesday Night Hikes. In years past, we’ve saved our Tuesday Night Hikes series for winter, evening/night being the only time many of us can get in a hike midweek. This year, we’ve added a fall session. For one, hiking midweek in the evening is a great way to avoid crowds. And two, hiking in the cool evening air is hard to beat, especially after being beat down by this summer’s heat. The majority of our 9 hikes in the series will begin in late daylight, all will end in the dark (save for the headlamp beam guiding our way). If you’ve never hiked at night, it’s a whole new way to experience the outdoors. Learn more about this program and sign up here if you’re a single hiker, here if you’re a couple or family.
Hike the MST in September
A third way to kick off the fall hiking season is by helping the Mountains-to-Sea Trail celebrate its 43rd birthday! To help celebrate the statewide trail’s 43 years, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail offers three hiking challenges:
- Hike one or more of the 40 hikes in their new “Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.”
- Hike one of three 43-kilometer stretches of the MST, at the coast, in the Piedmont, or in the mountains.
- Hike all three of the aforementioned 43-kilometer stretches of the MST.
You can find information about all three of these hiking challenges here.
And if you’re thinking, “Who in their right mind can think of fall hiking in this sweltering heat?” you won’t have to. The forecast for Labor Day weekend: sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80s.
GetOut! and enjoy!
To get you in the spirit for fall hiking, we share these scenes from last year’s MST 42nd birthday hike, a 42-mile weekend on the trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway.