Amid the dizzying number of scientific reasons for taking a hike add this: simply smelling a tree can drop your blood pressure and make you more relaxed. It’s true; by simply getting out of the car and standing at a wooded trailhead, you’re better off than by staying in the car and, say, driving to the mall.

On top of everything else we know about the physical and mental benefits of hiking, could there possibly be a cheaper prescription for good health? We think not.

Discover little-known hot spots close to home

Lucky for you, we are on the cusp of the best time of year to hike in the Southeast — fall. The temperatures are dropping, it’s less humid, there’s less rain, the skies are blue as can be. And, of course, there’s the fall color, which delights the Trix rabbit to no end. To quote: “orangey oranges, lemony yellows, raspberry reds.” (At least we think the autumn woods is what he was talking about.)

In any event, now’s the time to hike. And we’ve got some tips on how to make this your best fall hiking season ever.

Rediscover your hiking legs. It’s been summer, we understand: your legs were busy doing other things. Now, it’s time to get them into fall hiking shape. And we’ve got just the five Piedmont hiking trails to get you up to speed. Find out which five, why they made the cut and where to find them, here.

Where to hike. Once you get your legs back, where do you take them? We’ve got all kinds of suggestions on our GetHiking! Resource page. Need a great hike close to home? How about in the mountains? Or, as we get into November, at the coast and in the coastal plain? We’ve got all kinds of hikes, and you can find them here.

With GetHiking!, you’re never at the back of the pack.

Hike with others. In 2013, we launched our GetHiking! program in the Triangle. It’s since spread to six additional markets in two states, with more than 6,000 members. Why? Because, well, Barbara Streisand, hand us the mike, if you would:


Hikers who need hikers

Are the luckiest hikers in the world …

Really, hiking is often much nicer when you’re hiking with other hikers. Dubious? Let us make our case for the group experience, especially when the group is one of our GetHiking! groups, here. At the end of this post we list our seven GetHiking! groups with links to learn more about their upcoming hikes and events.

New to hiking? Pardon our manners for assuming you were already a hiker. We’re especially keen on those of you who are new to the sport. For you, we suggest checking out our GetHiking! Resource Page: Tips for Hikers Just Getting Started. You’ll find all kinds of helpful information, from what to expect on your first hike to what gear you’ll need to what makes for a good first-hike trail. You’ll find that resource page here.

Beginner-friendly hikes, such as the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Johnston Mill Nature Preserve near Chapel Hill, abound.

Eager for fall? Hard to deny that the main motivation for hiking now is the lure of fall color. So where are the best places to get an early glimpse of fall color? We offer five options here.

Escape the crowds? Nothing like scaling a challenging summit only to find a paved road, parking lot, and picnickers up top (we’re looking at you, Morrow Mountain). Check out our list of five “Wow!” hikes that have yet to be discovered (so far).

Trading up. Finally, for our more established hikers who may need to upgrade their gear this fall, we have some thoughts on the subject, from boots and shoes, to pants and layers, to packs. For those thoughts, go here.

Now stop reading and get out there and hike!

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Click on the GetHiking!/GetExploring! chapter near you for upcoming hikes and events.

GetHiking! Charlotte

GetHiking! Charlottesville

GetHiking! Triad

GetHiking! Triangle

GetHiking! Virginia Beach

GetHiking! Western North Carolina

GetExploring! Greenville