National Trails Day: (Like you need a reason to get out)

Saturday is National Trails Day. Which, anymore, has become more the anchor for National Trails Day Weekend. 

For the uninitiated, National Trails Day is the first Saturday of June, and has been for at least three decades. Sponsored by the American Hiking Society, it’s a chance for us to officially celebrate the trails — hiking, biking, paddling, horsing around, whatever — that we unofficially celebrate every day. In the beginning, NTD was seen primarily as a day to blaze new trail and tidy up existing trail. There’s still a lot of that, but more and more it’s become a celebration of hiking, biking, paddling — of simply enjoying the trail.

There are hundreds of events nationwide in observance of National Trails Day, including 16 in North Carolina and 14 in Virginia. You can find a rundown of all North Carolina events here, all Virginia events here. Use the search function to find an event near you. Learn more about National Trails Day in general here.

Some highlights:

North Carolina

NC Trail Days in Elkin


June 1-June 4

Elkin, located n the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, is North Carolina’s trail town and it takes the distinction seriously, especially come National Trails Day. Predictably, there are guided hikes throughout the region, from the MST to the Sauratown Trail to Stone Mountain, and guided paddle trips, too. There’s also live music, presentations, a quilt show … . Find the complete rundown here.

Year of the Trail Weekend Festival in Elizabeth City/Great Dismal Swamp

Elizabeth City

June 2-4

While Elkin celebrates the mountains, Elizabeth City celebrates the Great Dismal Swamp with paddle trips at Merchants Millpond, Sawyer’s Creek and Charles Creek; bike rides on the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail and on a network of roads penetrating the Great Dismal; and hikes at Merchants Millpond, Dismal Swamp State Park and in Elizabeth City. Learn more here.


Troutville Trail Days


June 3

An officially designated Appalachian Trail Trail Town, Troutville celebrates “all of the outdoor recreation the region has to offer.” That includes guided hikes on the AT and tubing, as well as music, artisans and an array of vendors. Learn more here.

Mile-a-Minute Invasive Plant Pull on Wild Oak Trail

Hankey Mountain 

This event involves running/hiking/biking/horseback riding on the Wild Oak National Recreation Area to the summit of Hankey Mountain to rid the area of the invasive Mile-a-Minute plant. Brink garden or work gloves, pants and a long-sleeve shirt recommended. Learn more here.

Lots of options. Get out and enjoy!

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