The onset of cool fall weather and bright autumn color brings with it the hordes of fair-weather hikers who will soon be crowding our favorite trails — with two exceptions: during the week and after dark. Hike on a Tuesday, and better still, a Tuesday after dark, and the trail is pretty much yours. Typically, we wait until winter to launch our night hike series, but with avoiding the masses being an even better idea in 2020, we’re launching a fall version of our 3-year-old Tuesday Night Hikes series. Each hike will last about an hour and a half; at the midpoint, we’ll take a few minutes to savor the sounds of the night and the sights of the dark sky.
When: Every Tuesday*, beginning September 8 and ending Nov. 10. We’ll start at 6:30 p.m. and finish around 8. *We will not hike on Nov. 3, Election Night.
Distance: The hikes are roughly 3 to 4 miles long. Each is intended to take about an hour and a half.
Where: Each hike is at a different location around the Triangle (find those locations below). The Monday before each hike you’ll be sent a reminder with detailed hike information.
Do I need a headlamp? Ideally, but if you don’t (or if you forget yours) we’ll have lots of loaners.
What all do I get? In addition to the 9 Tuesday Night Hikes in the series, you’ll receive:
- Guide to hiking at night, including tips and strategies for navigating the dark.
- Each week, you’ll get a guide to that week’s hike, including map, trail description and other information to help you hike this trail with us, and on your own.
Cost: $105 per person, $195 for couples/families.
Questions? Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 8 Brumley Forest North, Hillsborough. 3 miles. Sunset: 7:31, Twilight ends: 7:58. A mix of meadows, ponds and mature forest make for ideal venues for enjoying sunset.
September 15 Cox Mountain Trail, Eno River State Park, Durham. 3.75 miles. Sunset: 7:21 p.m., Twilight ends: 7:47. We’ll climb Cox Mountain in the waning light of day and follow the Eno until it’s nearly snuffed out, finishing as the last hint of light fades from the sky under a near-new moon.
September 22 Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake: Dayhike Section G, Raleigh. 4.2 miles. Sunset: 7:11 p.m., Twilight ends: 7:36. Our most popular night hike, we start from the Upper Barton Creek Boat Ramp off Six Forks Road and hike 2.1 miles along Falls Lake to NC 98, then back, this night under a near full moon.
September 29, Pump Station/Laurel Bluffs Trail, Eno River State Park, Durham. 3.5 miles. Sunset: 7:01, Twilight ends: 7:26. We did a portion of this route on our very first night hike nearly seven years ago, and return for the opportunity to spend the end-of-day-into-night along the Eno River.
October 6, Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake: Dayhike Section M, Durham County. 3.6 miles. Sunset: 6:51, Twilight ends: 7:16. From the trailhead parking lot, we’ll hike west on the MST, through one of the more mature forests the trail encounters along Falls Lake. There’s a small waterfall a mile in. We’ll turn around 1.8 miles into the hike for a 3.6-mile round trip.
October 13, Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Dayhike Section D, 3.6 miles. Raleigh. Sunset: 6:41, Twilight ends: 7:07. There’s something particularly enchanting about this stretch, which begins at Bayleaf Church Road and heads east to an abandoned roadbed. Often, there’s a dog baying in the distance, light filtering in from spots you don’t expect, and a clearing at the turnaround which should provide vivid stargazing under a near-full moon.
October 20, Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Dayhike Section Q, 3.4 miles. Raleigh. Sunset: 6:32, Twilight ends: 6:58. From the Hickory Hill Boat Ramp we’ll hike east to Hereford Road and reverse course. This is a flatter hike than most in our series, with several good night views of Falls Lake.
October 27, Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Dayhike Section T, 3 miles. Durham. Sunset: 6:24, Twilight ends: 6:50. A hike we recently rediscovered after a long absence, we begin at Red Mill Road and hike west on the MST, mostly through bottomland forest until a climb takes us to our turnaround and a bluff overlooking the Eno River.
November 10, Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Dayhike Section J, 3.4 miles. Raleigh. Sunset: 5:10, Twilight ends: 5:37. Our lone post-Daylight Saving Time hike, this one will be entirely in the dark. We hike east from NC 50 and hike an area rich in signs of the Falls Lake’s pre-lake human past.