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.)
Today we revisit a topic we first wrote in 2012: 10 of our favorite winter hikes. Hikes that, for various reasons, are especially good hiked in cold weather. For some (at the coast, for instance, it’s the only time you can hike them, lest you have an immunity to squadrons of dive-bombing mosquitoes and an unusually high tolerance for things that slither. For others, it may be a view otherwise obscured by a lush, full forest, or for the opportunity to hike in evergreen conditions, or because of exposed terrain that lets winter’s warming sun shine in.
As we transition into spring, our hiking genes kick in. We think not only of our favorite two-hour hikes, but also of those hikes that present a greater challenge, that will prepare us for the epic mountain hikes we hope to take this summer, whether in our own Southern Appalachians or beyond.
Need a nudge to get out and explore this weekend? How about this 60 seconds of escape on Sal’s Branch Trail at Umstead State Park. We were there today, and with frigid temps remaining over the weekend, you can be assured of experiencing a little snow here and throughout the region.
We want to hike with you in 2018. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hiking since the days of leather boots and lederhosen. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a hiking trail from a paper trail. We want to hike with you, and odds are we have a program that will meet your needs as you enter the new year.