When summer rolls around, a lot of hikers — even avid ones — steer clear of the trail. Not here at GetHiking!, though we do make some accommodations for the summer heat. For instance, we like to avoid the mid-day sun — or avoid ol’ sol altogether. More of our brown trails tend to follow blue ones. And we also tend to seek out cooler trails meteorologically speaking.
What do we mean? Our 8-hike Summer 2022 GetHiking! lineup should give you a good idea.
Tuesday Night Hikes
We are big fans of the night hike — we’ve been doing them every Tuesday night for a while now. In our Summer series, we will head out a little later (7 p.m. vs. our usual 6:30 p.m.), hike a little farther (our typical night hikes are 3 miles; these will be closer to 4-5) and and we’ll actually hike into the dark (which we’ve not done on previous summer night hikes). We’ll experience cooler temperatures and savor the joy of summer sunset a bit longer. Also: An ice-cold popsicle awaits at the conclusion of each hike. There are five night hikes in our summer series, all beginning at 7 p.m. and running until 9-9:30.
- June 7: Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake: Red Mill Road in Durham. This out-and-back takes in glimpses of Falls Lake, skirts open meadows, passes a farm pond or two. And, it’s flat. 5 miles.
- June 21: Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake: Hickory Hill Boat Ramp, Durham. We celebrate the first day of summer with our favorite sunset hike. We catch the end-of-day sun over the lake and at various spots in the forest. 5 miles.
- July 12: Butner Game Lands, Butner Depot, Butner. We haven’t done a night hike here before, and I don’t know why. The open terrain lets you enjoy the entire sunset, unobstructed. 4.5 miles.
- July 26: Eno River State Park, Fews Ford Access, Durham. We hike 5 trails on this hike, most of them trails less traveled, winding up with a half-mile stretch along the Eno River. 4.6 miles.
- August 16: Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve, Durham. Another evening fave, we spend most of our time along the Eno on this out-and-back, but hike about a half mile, near the end, through an open field. 5 miles.
Cool Sunday Hikes
Traditionally, there are two keys to staying cool in summer: either go high or go along water. We do both in our Summer series — and come up with a third cool option. All hikes start at 9 a.m. and finish by 11 (another way to avoid the heat).
- June 19: Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Haw River. We first did this hike in Fall of 2021 to high acclaim. We start in the historic mill town of Glencoe, hike downstream to the boat launch, hike back. We spend lots of time buddying up to the rocky (and surprisingly wide) Haw River. 5 miles
- July 17: White Pines Nature Preserve, Sanford. White Pines is named for the coniferous tree that thrives here despite being more comfortable in a cooler mountain climate. The reason: an odd little microclimate that makes White Pines about 10 degrees cooler than Pittsboro, just 10 miles north. 5 miles
- August 7: Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area, Snow Camp. The little-known Cane Creek Mountain Range features the highest summit, at 987 feet, east of Greensboro. We may catch a nice breeze atop the rocky ridgeline. 4.5 miles
Each hike includes an eguide, with map, route description, overview, location and other information key to letting you come back and hike the trail on your own.
Fee: Individuals, $155; couples & families, $265.