The salad days of fall continue this weekend, days so perfect with sun, dry skies and 70-degree temperatures that we can’t help but suggest, lettuce be outdoors. To that end, some thoughts.
Fall Wonder Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle. Fall color is the focus of this 1-hour hike on the 0.8-mile Mountain Loop Trail at the Scenic Vista, Morrow’s window to the Uwharrie Mountains and Piedmont below. Catch the beginning of the fall Piedmont leaf-peep show. Learn more here.
Occoneechee Mountain Geology Hike, Saturday, 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. The color change has commenced atop 867-foot Occoneechee, and while the focus of this hike is quartz and pyrophyllite, you can bet the sourwoods and sweet gums will be vying for attention. Learn more here.
Fall Foliage, Sunday, 3 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. Stone Mountain, at the base of the Blue Ridge escarpment, is the vanguard of Piedmont fall color, the Paul Revere of Piedmont State Parks, shouting, “The colors are coming! The colors are coming!” Be the first to heed the call on this hike, Sunday at 3. Learn more here.
Personally, to us it feels like a great HIY (hike it yourself) weekend. And one of the best options for catching fall color is along water — Falls Lake in the Triangle, for instance, where you can get a front seat to the action on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which follows the lake’s south shoreline for 60 miles. Below are 5 of our favorite sections of the MST along Falls Lake, with a quick description of why. We have hiking guides for each; click the link for more information.
- Day-hike Section B, Raven Ridge Road to Possum Track Road, Raleigh, 2.5 miles (one way). A nearly unblemished run through mature hardwood forest with little understory, affording good views into the surrounding woods. Find our GetHiking! guide here.
- Day-hike Section L, Rollingview Recreation Area, Durham, 3.2 miles (one way). Another stretch flush with mature hardwoods and great nightlines — and rarely any other hikers. Find our GetHiking! guide here.
- Day-hike Section P, Hickory Hill Boat Ramp, Durham, 2.9-miles (one way). This stretch is about as flat as the trail gets along Falls Lake, with several spots where the trail sidles up to the lake for some nice views. Find our GetHiking! guide here.
- Day-hike Section S, Red Mill Road, Durham, 4.8 miles (one way). Surprisingly flat, surprisingly diverse; you’ll encounter bottomland woods, farm ponds, meadows, bluffs an old farm and more on this hike. Find our GetHiking! guide here.
- Day-hike Section T, Red Mill Road, Durham, 4.1 miles (one way). A floodplain forest near the start, a bluff 80 feet above the Eno midway, more typical Piedmont forest near the west end — there’s a lot to enjoy about this stretch of trail. Find our GetHiking! guide here.
Fall won’t last forever. This weekend, GetOut! And enjoy.
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