GetOut! Enjoy the first weekend of spring

Another sign of the improving times: ranger/naturalist-led programs at North Carolina State Parks are beginning to pick up. Saturday, there are three guided hikes at N.C. State Parks, Sunday, there’s one more. Next weekend, nine events are scheduled — so far.


Carnivorous Plant Hike, Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. 10 a.m. If you can’t make this Saturday’s hike on the Flytrap Trail to learn about the various carnivorous plants in this coastal park, worry not: this hike will run every Saturday at 10 a.m. through Nov. 6. If you have a trip to the beach planned for this year, work it into your schedule. More info here.

The quarry-inspired cliff face at Occoneechee Mountain (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

Occoneechee Mountain Geology Hike, Occoneechee State Natural Area, Hillsborough, 2 p.m. Again, already got plans? This hike lead by local geologist Jean-Michel Margot is conducted monthly, year-round. On this hour-and-a-half hike you’ll learn geology on the mountain from A (andalusite) to Q (quartz). Learn more here.

Hike with a Ranger on a Nature Hike at Eagle Rock Access, Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock, 2 p.m. According to the State Parks post for this hike: “This moderate 2 mile hike should provide excellent exercise  in the crisp winter air of the Hickory Nut Gorge.” It should also be fun on Saturday, the first day of spring. Learn more here.


Hike with a Ranger on a Nature Hike at Rumbling Bald Access, Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock, 2 p.m. Rumbling Bald is located on the north side of the Hickory Nut Gorge, in a wild setting away from the from the touristy portion of Chimney Rock. Great views. For more information go here.

To check on upcoming hikes and events at North Carolina State Parks, go here.

Hike on your own

Weatherwise, it’s a good looking weekend. Rain leaves the region Friday ushering in cooler temperatures — highs mostly in the 50s — and mostly sunny skies. Three hikes we particularly like for this weekend, from our hiking guide arsenal:

  • Brumley Forest North Nature Preserve (pictured at top), Chapel Hill. Just over 3 miles of trail takes you through a variety of terrain, including several open areas — meadows, farm ponds — where you can take in the warming sun. Check out our guide, here.
  • Confluence Natural Area

    Confluence Natural Area, Hillsborough. Where the east and west branches of the Eno River meet you’ll find this 200-acre preserve operated by the Eno River Association. About 2 miles of trail, much of it along the Eno’s more intimate beginnings. Check out our guide, here.

  • Eno River Fews Ford 7-Miler, Eno River State Park, Durham. We crafted this hike out of five trails in the park’s Fews Ford Access with the goal of quickly escaping weekend crowds and enjoying a quieter, more laid-back Eno. Check out our guide, here.

Need more incentive to get out? Saturday is the first day of spring. It kicks in at 5:37 a.m.

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