Give your holiday visitors the gift of a hike

holiday hikeThey’re beginning to arrive, your holiday guests. Some will only be here a few days, others will wind down 2018 with you. Especially for the latter, you’ll need things to do with them.

How about taking them on a hike?

Hiking is a great activity with visitors for so many reasons. It lets you burn off those accumulating holiday calories. It lets you showcase the natural beauty of where you live. It gets everyone out of the house. 

You know that taking a hike is a good idea. Now the question: Where to take that hike? Fortunately, we have a suggestion. A couple hundred, actually.

Over the past several years we’ve accumulated a lot of information about hiking in the areas we serve. You can find information on roughly 200 hikes on our website, starting from our GetHiking! Where to Hike Resource Page. Now, that’s a lot of information, and we know you’re probably stretched for time. So we’ll make some recommendations, then point you in the direction of where you can find more.

holiday hike

Mountains-to-Sea Trail through Hillsborough.

Triangle

  1. Mountains-to-Sea Trail through Hillsborough, 3+ miles. Hillsborough. The beauty of this hike is that you can start in wonderful downtown Hillsborough and hike the statewide MST either downstream (the stream being the Eno River), to the Historic Occoneechee Speedway, or upstream to Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area. Easy. More info here.
  2. Umstead State Park: Company Mill Trail, 2 miles, 6 miles. Raleigh. Company Mill is the ideal hike for the beginner and the advanced hiker. For the beginner: hike a mile down to Crabtree Creek, check out the old dam site, hike back. For the advanced hiker: continue on over Crabtree Creek for a loop hike through mostly hardwood forest. More info here.
holiday hike

Descending at Morrow Mountain

Charlotte 

  1. RibbonWalk Nature Preserve, 3 miles. Charlotte. Charlotte/Mecklenburg County has a wonderful collection of nature preserves; we like this one because it’s in an unlikely location, smack in the middle of town, and it couldn’t be better at escaping the skyscrapers nearby. More info here. 
  2. Morrow Mountain State Park, 15 miles total, options starting at under a mile. Albemarle. Looking for more of a half day, even a day trip? A little more than an hour northeast of town, the drive out takes you through rolling Piedmont landscape, the hiking through the low-rising (1,000 feet and under) Uwharrie Mountains. More info here.

For more Charlotte-area hikes, go here.

holiday hike

The view from Moore’s Knob

Triad

  1. Greensboro Watershed Lakes, Greensboro. 42 miles total, with legs in the 3- to 5-mile range.  So much good lakeside hiking so close to home. These trails take you in and out of coves, atop bluffs, through meadows. So many options. More info here.
  2. Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury (north of Greensboro), 18 miles, various short options. You may not have time to take your guests to the mountains, but you likely do have time to take them to nearby Hanging Rock. Same thing really, Hanging Rock being the eastern anchor of the of the once-mighty Sauratown Mountain Range. Take the popular 1.3-mile hike up to Hanging Rock, take a shorter hike to Hidden and Window Falls. More info here.

For more Triad-area hikes, go here.

holiday hike

Hiking a pine savannah at Jones Lake State Park

Coast/coastal plain

  1. Jones Lake State Park, 4 miles. Elizabethtown (southeast of Fayetteville). First, there’s the fact this is a mysterious Carolina Bay lake (should be sufficient to intrigue your guests). Then there’s the pancake-flat trail that starts out along a pine savannah, then, suddenly, takes you through a dense jungle of coastal vegetation. A fast four miles. More info here. 
  2. Goose Creek State Park, 7 miles total, various short options. Washington. It’s not often you can hike in a swamp: December is about as good as it gets. Lots of boardwalk elevates you above the black gum and cypress swamp that will capture the imagination of your guests. More info here.

More options?

Looking for even more hikes? Check out our GetHiking! Where to Hike Resource Page here.

And a reminder that on New Year’s Day, North Carolina State Parks will host First Day hikes at all of their parks, natural areas and recreation areas. Find out about those hikes here.