Don’t you love it when it rains during the week and the sun comes out for the weekend? The remnants of Sally leave the state Friday afternoon, clearing the way for cool temperatures — highs only in the mid-60s, overnight lows in the upper 40s — and sunny skies. It’s a weekend when you’ll definitely want to be outside. Trouble is, so will everyone else.
Today, we repeat some of our strategies for avoiding crowded trails. Pretty simple, maybe obvious, but they work.
- Hike Where the Horses Do. In this post from yesterday, we tout the virtues of hiking trails developed with horses in mind — but open to hikers as well. North Carolina State Parks, for instance, have 118 miles of horse trails in 11 parks, while hundreds of additional miles of equestrian trail can be found in the state’s four national forests. Read that post here.
- Hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The state’s best known trail also, curiously, offers your best bet for a quiet ramble. We offer tips on how to identify some of the statewide trail’s less trod treat, in a post you may read here.
- Finding the right time and place. A few tips in this post about the best time of day to hike and how to find trails that may not be as populated.
- Hike in the rain. Perhaps your best bet at solitude is to hike Saturday, in the rain. Unless there’s also thunder and lightening in the forecast, we’re big fans of hiking in a light to moderate rain. It’s a much different experience, and one in which you’re unlikely to encounter any fellow hikers. Read that post here.
And to help you find a trail, here’s a list of websites for the region’s biggest land managers, where you can find current trail information.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- North Carolina State Parks
- North Carolina National Forests (Croatan, Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie)
- Shenandoah National Park
- Virginia National Forests (George Washington and Jefferson)
- Virginia State Parks
GetBackpacking! at Standing Indian
Another great way to avoid crowded trails? Go deep into the woods, on a backpacking trip. We’ve just posted a trip for late October in the Standing Indian Basin of the Nantahala National Forest. It’s a three-day, three-night, 30-mile trip that’s both a loop hike, and roughly two-thirds on the Appalachian Trail. And it spends most of its time atop a ridgeline, with lots of views, lots of colorful fall views. Get a taste of Standing Indian in today’s video. Learn more and sign up to join us here.