Something about cool, fall weather makes you want to hike farther. Now that that weather has finally arrived, we’ve got some of those longer trails we think you might like. Here are 11, including nine in the Piedmont and two along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. (We’ll talk long trails at the coast in coming weeks, once the weather turns from cool to cold.)
Editor’s note: This post originally ran at the start of last fall. We’ve tweaked it, and will continue to run a version of it at the start of every fall hiking season to help you avoid crowded trails in the most popular hiking season.
Officially, fall starts tomorrow, Sept. 21, officially at 3:21 p.m. EST. Appropriately, a rainy front is ushering in cold air about the same time that will drop temperatures about 15 degrees, into the low 70s initially. By the weekend, expect highs in the upper 70s, lows around 50.
The signs of re-emergence continue this weekend, with North Carolina State Parks hosting some of the more ambitious — and larger hikes — that they’ve done since the pandemic, including:
3 Parks — 2 States — 1 Hike, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Crowders Mountain State Park/Boulders Access, Kings Mountain. This 10-mile out-and-back, co-sponsored by the Friends of Crowders Mountain, takes the Ridgeline Trail south into South Carolina’s Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park. A long hike, but it flattens after crossing into the Palmetto State. The hike is limited to 30 (been a while since we’ve seen a hike that big), and drinks and snacks will be available through the Friends prior to the hike. Free, but a donation to support the work of the Friends would be appreciated. Register by calling 704.853.5375; learn more here.
It’s November, and Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend (Sunday at 2 a.m.). Make the most of the last day of extended afternoon sunlight by taking in:
Astronomy Program, Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. A park ranger plays the role of Dick Clark rocking in Standard Time with this countdown to the stars — literally, with the aid of the Forsyth Astronomy Club. More info here.
The weekend forecast calls for a little rain — but not of biblical proportions. With temperatures in the low 80s and upper 70s under mostly sunny skies, the weekend couldn’t be much different than last. So get out and enjoy.
First, though, before heading out on your own, keep in mind that some of our favorite outdoor playgrounds remain closed by Hurricane Florence. Check this post from earlier in the week about checking ahead to see what is, and isn’t, open. For instance, most North Carolina State Parks from Jordan Lake southeast to the coast remain closed (with the exception of Fort Fisher State Recreation Area).