The following items are from our GetExploring! Greenville and GetHiking! Charlotte, Triad and Triangle enewsletters. All enewsletters are delivered, upon request, to subscribers’ email boxes on Mondays. If you’d like to sign up for this free service, email

Our upcoming adventures


GetHiking! New Hope Overlook on a Sunday Afternoon
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Sunday, March 6, 2:30 p.m.
Where: New Hope Overlook Access, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, New Hill (Apex) area

Think of Falls Lake in a hiking context and you think of the 60-mile stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Think of nearby Jordan and you think of — well, in terms of hiking, not much.
Unless you’re familiar with the two loops making for 5.4 miles of hiking at the lake’s New Hope Overlook area. Some hiking along the lake, more in the surprisingly hilly coves sheltering the lake’s tributaries. This time of year, you should see the first wildflowers of spring, including the spring beauty and trout lily.

Hike leader: Lori C.
More info and to sign up, visit the GetHiking! Triangle Meetup site

DSCF2873GetHiking! Half-Day Loop at South Mountains State Park
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m.
Where: South Mountains State Park

At approximately 18,000 acres, South Mountains State Park south of Morganton is the biggest park in the North Carolina State Parks system. It also may be the least well-known. That’s not because of a lack of great hiking, however: more than 40 miles of trail explore a park that has a mountain feel minus the additional drive. Dense pine stands, trout streams, the 80-foot High Shoals Falls, views and more all make South Mountains a great place to explore. On our trip, we will do a challenging 12.5-mile loop including the Chestnut Knob, Sawtooth, Horseridge, Possum, Shinny, Headquarters, Upper Falls and High Shoals Falls trails.

Hike leaders: David Brantley and Lisa
More info and to sign up, at the GetHiking! Charlotte Meetup site.

GetHiking! Crowders Mountain Out-And-Back
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Sunday, March 13, 10 a.m.


Perhaps you’ve hiked Crowders Mountain State Park, but have you hiked the Ridgeline Trail out to The Boulders Access? From the Visitor Center, the Ridgeline Trail takes you far from Crowders’ maddening crowds, over wooded ridges all the way into South Carolina. We’ll stop at The Boulders Access to explore and check out the views, then head back. About four hours of hiking on moderate terrain.

Hike leaders: David Brantley and Lisa
More info here.

GetHiking! Southeast’s Classic Hikes: Doughton Park
GetHiking! Triangle, Triad, Charlotte
When: Saturday, March 19, 9 a.m.


Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Escarpment offers an early opportunity for a mountain hike. That’s why this hike is one of only two hikes from our 2015 GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes series to make it onto our 2016 GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes schedule. Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park, Doughton is one spot along the 469-mile scenic byway better known for hiking than motoring. With 30 miles of trail, this 7,000-acre park offers a variety of ways to explore the gateway to the Appalachians.

Again, we will have two hikes. Both will start from the Longbottom Road Access, at the base of the escarpment. We’ll take the 4.5-mile Cedar Ridge Trail up to the Parkway; a steady climb that, this time of year, before the trees have leafed out, offers views of the Yadkin Valley to the east. At the top, we’ll make a short side trip to the Brinegar Cabin for a bit of history, then head south on the Bluff Mountain Trail. Here, the trail sticks to the ridge, starting in a hemlock forest, then meandering through a series of mountain meadows (channel your inner fraulein Maria ) to Bluff Mountain. The Long Hike will continue along the Bluff Mountain Trail to the Flat Rock Ridge Trail for a total of 18 miles; the Short Hike will head down the Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail and return to the trailhead, a total of 12 miles. This is a fee hike.

Hike leaders: Joe Miller, Anne Triebert
More info here.

GetHiking! Grandfather Mountain: Profile Trail to Swinging Bridge
GetHiking! Triad
When: Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m.

GH.GrandfatherThis 9-mile hike has a little of everything. It starts peacefully enough, along a mountain creek through mature hardwoods. Then it climbs and climbs, switchbacking its way to the ridge, a rough-and-tumble spine of ancient rock. In some spots, you’ll need to climb ladders. In some, you cling to cable to work your way across a steeply sloped rock slab. And there’s the scrambling. No wonder hike leader Jean Hylton advises you should expect a pace of 40- to 50-minute miles. This hike is weather dependent (you don’t want to be atop Grandfather Mountain when dark clouds begin gathering to the west.

Hike leader: Jean Hylton
More info here

In Greenville …

GetExploring! Kickoff Party
When: Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Our Greenville Great Outdoor Provision Co. shop at 530 Greenville Blvd. SE in Greenville.

Technically, the kickoff party precedes the events the party is kicking off (see above). At least we’re close. Anyway, come and hear about all of our great adventures — hiking, cycling, kayaking and more — we have on tap into spring. Light refreshments and a free pair of Smartwool socks to everyone who shows. Or at least to everyone who registers for the event on our GetExploring! Greenville Meetup page.

Event hosts: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here.

GetExploring! at Carolina Beach State Park
When: Saturday, March 5, 1 p.m.
Where: Carolina Beach State Park, 1010 State Park Road, Carolina Beach

We’ve got 5 miles of hiking planned that will showcase Carolina Beach State Park’s remarkable diversity, from the forested 60-foot dune that is Sugarloaf, to forests of live oak, pocosin pine and cypress, to the meat-eating Venus flytrap. A great day at the coast.

Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here.

On the horizon

There’s more on our calendar; for details, go here.

  • Hike at Umstead State Park, Raleigh, Saturday, March 19
  • Cycling the Roanoke Canal Trail, Roanoke Rapids, Saturday, March 26
  • Paddle at Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville, Saturday, April 2
  • Hike at Medoc Mountain State Park, Hollister, Saturday, April 9
  • Paddle at Goose Creek State Park, Washington, Saturday, April 23


GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking program

GetHiking! Triangle
When: Begins Saturday, March 6

GBP.SouthMountainsGroupOpenings remain in our next GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking clinic, which begins Sunday, March 6. Three training sessions each focused on a specific backpacking skill — gear and packing, setting up and breaking down camp, nutrition and cooking — followed by a weekend graduation backpack trip to South Mountains State Park. Training sessions are at Umstead State Park, Eno River State Park and at Falls Lake (we’ve had participants from the Triad in the past). This is a fee program, nearly half of which is recouped in the form of a Great Outdoor Provision Co. gift card.

Program leader: Joe Miller
More info here.


GetHiking! Finding Your Way
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Saturday, March 26, 1 p.m.
Where: Umstead State Park, Harrison Avenue entrance

Love the trail but uncertain about your wayfinding skills? This three-hour session goes over basic map and compass skills, then hits the trail to offer key tips on how to follow and stay on the trail, how to find it again if you stray, and how to explore off trail. We’ll start with a 30-minute map-and-compass introduction, then use that map and compass — and some Daniel Boone skills — to find our way in the woods. We’ll also do some off-trail exploring, with the goal of purposefully venturing off the trail, then rejoining it again. Our goal is to make you confident hiking alone or taking a novice friend on the trail. Course fee of $35 includes a compass.

Hike leader: Joe Miller
More info here

Gear: Helio Pressure Shower

GH.Gear_This 11-liter welded fabric water tank is pressurized by a foot pump, and comes in a small kit. It does a lot more than just give you an opportunity to shower while on the trail; it also provides a way to do your dishes, rinse gear, wash your dog, even water your plants at home.It is a freestanding system and provides 5-7 minutes of steady water pressure while pumping. Overall, this equipment weighs less than one liter of water and is a must have for anyone with plants, or who enjoys a shower every now and then while backpacking.

Tip: Avoid the crowds

We’re getting into that time of year — of longer, sunny days, and shorts-and-T-shirt temperatures — where everyone wants to hike. For the year-round hiker it can be a trifle discouraging, this thought of long lines of hikers congaing through your solitude. It doesn’t have to be that way, however.
When the next gorgeous weekend hits, find peace on the trail by:

  • Avoiding main trailheads, especially those with paved parking lots and “facilities” (restrooms). Casual hikers shy away from more primitive points of entry.
  • Hitting “neighborhood entrances” — entrances that are less well-known and that serve more remote trails. Most N.C. State Parks have them; peruse a park map online and you usually can identify where those entrances might be.
  • Heading out early. Especially on Sundays, if you hit the trail before noon you can often avoid the masses.
  • Visiting a park well off the beaten path. A favorite that comes to mind: Medoc Mountain State Park, which is an hour and a half from the Triangle but way off the radar. Medoc offers quiet hiking on even the most fetching spring weekends. The farther from an urban area the better.

Resource: Hike with a view

Western North Carolina has some of the best views you can get while hiking, but because of the dense forests they aren’t always apparent. So where some of the most enjoyed hikes with views in the high country? Right here.

— Gear and Resources by Intern Emily Reeves