New Year, new trails

Now is about the time we start taking notice of how our goals for the new year are going. We’ve got a month under our belt, we have a general idea of whether a goal is going to stick or not. And a month is enough time to tell whether a goal will stick. A goal such as hiking two new trails a month, which is one of my goals for 2024 — the one goal, alas, that looks like it will stick.

But hey, it’s the goal that has risen to the top and the one that’s proven the most motivating. Through the first five weeks of the year I have added five new trails to my hiking vitae. They are:

Fox Trail

Fox Trail

Mayo River State Park, Mayodan

1.8 miles

Not only was it my first time on the trail, it was anyone’s first time! Mayo Mountain celebrated January 1 with the grand opening of its Fox Trail. I first hiked the park’s lone 2-mile trail shortly after it opened in April 2010. Can’t wait for more, I thought. It was a bit of a wait, 14 years, but it was worth it. The new trail explores a part of the park with rolling terrain and minimal understory. With the original trail, you can now get in a 4-mile hike at Mayo Mountain. Learn more here.

Iron Ore Belt Pit Trail

Haw River State Park: Iron Ore Belt Access, Greensboro

0.4 miles

OK, so it’s only a connector trail, but it serves two functions: one, it provided access to a long-abandoned ore pit; and, two, it offers a 2-mile option by shortening the nearly 4-mile Great Blue Heron Trail. The 2-miler makes this a good option for new hikers just beginning to build endurance. Learn more here.

Haw River State Trail: Longmeadow Trailhead

Bridge on Longmeadow Trail

Haw River State Trail, Graham

1.8 miles (one way)

The Haw River State Trail covers 70 miles along its namesake river, from north of Greensboro to Jordan Lake. Rather, it will cover 70 miles; to date, 20 miles have been finished, including this stretch in Graham at I-40. This is flat hiking that can get a bit muddy after a rain. It appears to get less traffic than other stretches of the trail, making it great for a contemplative, escapist stroll. Learn more here.

Pioneer Camp Trail

Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area, Snow Camp

3.4 miles

Cane Creek is fast gaining a reputation as the place to go for a long hike in the Triad and Triangle region. It opened in April of 2020, at the beginning of the Pandemic, with 4.5 miles of trail at the Pine Hill Trailhead, and just last fall added 5.9 miles with its new Oak Hill Trailhead. There are two connecting loops at this trailhead, Pioneer Camp being the longest. The hiking here is similar to what you find to the southwest in the Uwharrie Mountains, with lots of surprising elevation; as one hiker on a GetHiking! hike Sunday groaned: “Does this ever go down?” Yes … eventually. Learn more here.

Lookout Trail

Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area, Snow Camp

2.5 miles

This is the shorter of Pine Hill’s two trails, but atop Cane Creek Mountain, topping out at just under 1,000 feet, Lookout connects with the Northern Approach Trail on the Oak Hill side of this Alamance Parks natural area. Lookout provides the best view in the park, a view that will get better with a planned observation tower to be built nearby. You can now hike nearly 10 miles of connected trail at Cane Creek, with another 6 miles coming soon. Plans call for an eventual 24 miles of trail at Cane Creek. Learn more here.

New trails: a good way to add new perspective to your hiking in the new year.

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