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Our upcoming adventures Hike, camp, backpack



GH.Charlotte.Cover_New Year’s Day Hikes
When: All hikes are on Friday, Jan. 1.

We aren’t planning any hikes for New Year’s Day, in large part because a state park near you likely is. As part of the nationwide First Day Hikes program, North Carolina and nearly every other state park system in the U.S. is holding a New Year’s Day hike. That said, here are several First Day Hikes in North Carolina, one of which is likely near you. For additional details on each hike, go here.

  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, Seven Springs: First Day Hike, 2 miles, 2 p.m.
  • Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain: Two States, One Hike: A First Day Hike, 5-6 miles, 9 a.m.
  • Eno River State Park, Durham: Two hikes, one of 2 miles one of 4, 2 p.m.
  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Wake Forest: First Day Scavenger Hunt Hikes at Falls Lake, 10 and 11 a.m., and 1 and 2 p.m. (reservations required)
  • Goose Creek State Park, Washington: First Day Hike, options between a half mile and 1.5 miles, 2 p.m.
  • Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury: Hike to Hanging Rock, 2+ miles, 10 a.m.
  • Haw River State Park, Haw River: First Day Hike, 1 mile, 10 a.m.
  • Jones Lake State Park, Elizabethtown: First Day Discovery Hike, 1 mile, 10 a.m. (a second, shorter hike will be held at 1 p.m.)
  • GHTriad.Pilot_Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, Apex: First Day Hike, 2.7 miles, a.m.
  • Lake Norman State Park, Troutman: First Day Hike, 1 mile, 9 a.m.
  • Mayo River State Park, Mayodan: First Day Hike, 2 miles, 1 p.m.
  • Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle: First Day Hike, 2.8 miles, 10 a.m.
  • Pettigrew State Park, Columbia: First Day Hike, short hike, 2 p.m.
  • Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle: Grindstone Trail Hike, 6.6 miles, 10 a.m.
  • Raven Rock State Park, Lillington: First Day Hike, 3-5 miles, 10 a.m. (a second, shorter hike will be held at 1 p.m.)
  • South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs: First Hike, 2.75 miles, 10 a.m.
  • Umstead State Park, Raleigh: First Day Photography Hike, short distance, 8 a.m.

GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes 2016
GetHiking! Charlotte, Triad, Triangle
When: Throughout 2016

Our Classic Hikes program returns in 2016, on an expanded scale: next year’s lineup includes two hikes in Virginia, hence the name change to GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes.

You can learn more about the program, get detailed information on the hikes, and sign up, at Here’s a quick lineup of what’s scheduled for next year:

January Neusiok Trail
Croatan National Forest, Havelock
Sunday, Jan. 24

February Uwharrie Recreation Trail
Uwharrie National Forest, Asheboro
Saturday, Feb. 20



The Appalachian Trail near Lynchburg, Va.

March Doughton Park
Blue Ridge Parkway, Roaring Gap
Saturday, March 19

April Appalachian Trail
James River Face, Lynchburg, Va.
Saturday, April 2

May Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Craggy Mountains, Pisgah National Forest
Saturday/Sunday, May 7-8

June Davidson River / North Mills River
Pisgah National Forest, Brevard
Saturday/Sunday, June 18-19



Standing Indian Mountain

July Standing Indian / Appalachian Trail
Nantahala National Forest, Franklin
Saturday/Sunday, July 16-17

August Great Smoky Mountains National Park / Deep Creek
Bryson City
Saturday/Sunday, Aug. 13-14

September Grayson Highlands / Mount Rogers
Saturday/Sunday, Sept. 23/24

October Sam Knob (Shining Rock area) / Panthertown Valley
Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 22/23

November  Appalachian Trail
Hot Springs
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Nov. 11-13




Admiring another view

December Mount Mitchell
Pisgah National Forest / Mount Mitchell State Park
Saturday, Dec. 31


GetBackpacking! on MLK Weekend?

Backpackers’ choice (see below)
When: Jan. 15-18.

The GetBackpacking! community has spoken: we will spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on the Appalachian Trail.
Late Friday, we will camp on or near Max Patch. Saturday, we will hike about 12 miles to Garenflo Gap (or thereabouts). Sunday, we will continue on into Hot Springs, noodle about a bit, then continue to the Rich Mountain area (about 15 miles). Monday, we hike out, on the Roundtop Ridge Trail, back to Hot Springs, about 5 miles.
Daily mileages will vary depending upon how far we hike in Friday evening (yes, a bit of night hiking is involved). Total distance: 32 miles.
More detailed information will be provided in the December GetBackpacking! enewsletter; if you are not a subscriber, email and we’ll get you on the list (it’s free and we don’t distribute our circulation list). You can also find details on this trip in “Backpacking North Carolina” (2011, UNC Press), Trip Nos. 25 & 26.
We will hold a trip planning meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. store in Raleigh’s Cameron Village.

Gear of the week: Gift yourself

Nice as you may have been in 2015, Santa may have missed an item or two on your list.
Good thing there’s a good chance that one or two of his misses are on sale at Great Outdoor Provision Co. Those fun Smartwools you requested? Fifty percent off. More stuff sacks? Again, 50 percent off all Granite Gear sacks. New hiking shoes? All kinds are on sale.

Check out some of Great Outdoor’s sale items here, swing by your local store for the full sale story.

Tip of the week: Setting 2016 goals

TentTentMelancholy can be a familiar feeling this time of year. There can be many reasons for this sense of year-end ennui; in our circles, it’s often a matter of looking back and realizing we weren’t as active as we’d hoped to be. Too few nights spent in a tent, not enough new trails hiked, no epic trips to speak of.
The good news?
The best time to make sure you don’t feel this way at the end of next year is right now. First, put your whining to good use. How many nights would you have been content — no, happy — to spend in a tent this past year? Write it down: that’s your 2016 goal. Same with the number of days you spent on the trail this past year. Was it half as many as you’d hope? Write down that number. Maybe you wanted to try backpacking in 2015 — but didn’t. Add that to the list.
Making a list of goals is a good — and fulfilling — first step. What next?
That’s the topic of the article “Avoid the Adventure Blues in 2016: Get an Adventure Coach,” which you’ll find at

Resource of the Week: New Year’s Day Hike

OK, we lied. Last week we said we wouldn’t run this as our “ROTW” for three weeks in a row. Yet everyone wants to hike on New Year’s Day and most of you are probably only starting to think about the when and where right about now. So, for the week in a row …

Planning your New Year’s Day festivities and wondering about group hikes? Odds are there’s a New Year’s Day hike near you, thanks to the North Carolina State Parks’ First Day Hikes. Initiated a few years back, nearly all state parks now have a ranger-led hike on Jan. 1. Find a First Day Hike near you, here.