Piedmont: 3 Hikes for Fall


Morning light at Seven Mile Creek

Fall, with its allure of color, cool temps and crisp air, turns everyone into a hiker. You’re almost guaranteed crowded trails on a pristine fall weekend — almost. We have three hikes that somehow manage to avoid the crowds while capturing the essence of fall hiking. Fall hiking in solitude — who would have thought?


Day-Hike Section L of the MST at Falls Lake

Fall, with its crisp air, cool temperatures and dazzling color, is a time when everyone, it seems, wants to be on the trail. Those crowds, especially now, can detract from the experience we seek when we head outdoors. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Not every good trail gets overwhelmed on a gorgeous fall weekend. Some may be new and unknown, some may be hard to find, some simply fly under the radar.  In this package of Three Hikes for Fall, we have examples of all three.

  • The new. Cane Creek Mountain Natural Area opened this spring with 3 miles of hiking on a mountain that tops 900 feet, practically Alp-esque by Triad standards.  Located south of Burlington, it’s also a bit off the beaten path.
  • The hard-to-find. Orange County’s Seven Mile Creek Natural Area lies off a dirt road that’s fed by a dirt road that’s off a lonely country two-lane. You can’t get more off the grid than that in an urban area. Two miles of trail takes in a feisty Piedmont creek, mature hardwoods and a preview of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail’s path between Saxapahaw and Hillsborough.
  • The under-the-radar. It’s hard to say why the 3.2-mile Day-Hike Section L of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake sees less traffic than its 17 fellow sections in the MST’s Section 10: it’s easily accessible, the trail tread is on great shape, the terrain is scenic yet mellow. Explore in solitude while you can.

These are great hikes any time of year. Because of their anonymity, they’re especially good during hiking’s peak seasons.

Find everything you need to know about paying a visit in these guides.


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