Piedmont: 3 Hikes for Mid Fall


Sweetgum color in and edge forest

Want to avoid the crowds looking for late-breaking fall color? These guides takes you to three spots off the typical leaf-peeper path where you should find both solitude and a spectrum of color.


Looking for a hike where end-of-season fall color may be lurking? How about three hikes:

  • Jordan Lake Educational State Forest, Chapel Hill. We were just there Wednesday, and while some color has passed, it appeared that the majority was on the cusp. Sweetgum and red maple appeared especially close, on the Demonstration Trail. With 3.5 miles of trail, the hiking here is flat, the trails in good shape: a good beginner option.
  • Eno River State Park, Fews Ford Access, Durham. 7-Miler on 5 trails. We try to steer you away from where the crowds will be, a criteria that typically rules out this popular state park. And while you may find some fellow hikers on the first and last half miles, the middle six should be near hiker-free. You’ll also explore some prime bottomland and upland hardwoods where the color should be good.
  • Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Day-hike sections Q,R, Raleigh. 3.2 miles (one way). From the Hickory Hill Boat Ramp head west through bottomland forest rich with what should be colorful hardwoods. As added incentive, you get to hike under Interstate 85 and along a grass airfield where you may see a biplane.

Our guides include everything you need to hike these trails, from maps and route descriptions to directions to the trailhead and an overview — including a virtual tour!


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