The fake-spring weather has me more than ready for spring hikes and backpacking. It hasn’t helped that all the best hiking days have been during the week, when I’m at the TV station.
In advance of actual spring and wildflower season, here’s some of the hikes I’m most excited about.
1. Fred Behrend Trail; Roan Mountain State Park
This is actually a little bit of a cheat trail, as I’m hiked part of this one as part of a Roan Mountain Naturalists Rally wildflower hike. The loop trail is just over 2-miles in length and starts in the campground area of the park.
My time on this trail was brief but among the flora spotted were various orchids (including pink lady’s slipper!) and Conopholis americana, or squawroot.
2. Sugar Loop Trail; St. Paul, Virginia
I discovered the trail thanks to a post on Instagram. It looks absolutely beautiful. This 3.5 mile loop trail is said by AllTrails users to include “beautiful wild flowers.” There’s also educational markers about a French settlement in the area and the different types of trees found in the area.
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Need a trail fix… Here you go! Sugar Hill Trail in St. Paul! Lace up your shoes, throw on a little sunscreen and come on!!! Get up and move! #trail #sugarhilltrail #stpaulva #wisecounty #russellcounty #swva #vaisforoutdoorlovers #heathy #healthyliving #walkingtrail #walking #hiking #exercise #peaceandserenity Photo credit: RJ Rose
3. The Channels; Washington County, Virginia
I have talked and talked about doing this hike since I moved here. This one is not about the flowers, this is about the geology. This six mile out-and-back hike has me excited for a when leaves are on the trees for gorgeous spring photos.
4. Maddron Bald Trail to Albright Grove Loop; Great Smokey Mountains National Park
This 6.6 mile “lasso” trail is another that’s been on my list for a while. Located in the eastern part of GSMNP near Cosby, people I know who have hiked it say that its small parking lot is never full. It also includes one of my favorites – old buildings. You can see more about the trail here.
5. Bays Mountain Reservoir Trail; Bays Mountain Park
I’m probably hiking this before the wildflowers (or spring) really gets here. I have only visited Bays Mountain once, but plan to change that in February. Look for Trail Notes from my hikes, including about the 2.8 mile loop around the lake!
6. “Backcountry” Loop; Rocky Fork State Park
I can’t talk enough about Rocky Fork State Park. Not only is it home to many rare species of plant and a pristine creek, it’s just a downright great park with hiking opportunities for just about everyone. This wildflower season, I’m planning a hike-a-thon, including three nights in the park, one at each of the park’s new backcountry campsites.
7. Congaree National Park
I’m excited for my first visit to this South Carolina national park coming up this spring. At about 3.5 hours from the Tri-Cities, it’s in easy driving distance. The park is a mixture of woodlands and marsh. I’ll be headed there for an overnight trip. I’ll be sure to let you all know how the trip was.
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With cool autumn temperatures and sunshine in a abundance, this weekend is a great time to come out and visit Congaree and enjoy a walk in the woods. But are you ready for your hike? Before coming out, make sure you are prepared for anything that might come your way. Hikers and paddlers should at a minimum have the following: – Plenty of water and some snacks for each member of your party. – Don’t forget to get a trail map and have a compass or GPS. – A first aid kit – A flashlight (and not the one on your cell phone). – A communication device such as a cell phone, with a spare charge if possible, as well as a whistle. – A tool such as a pocket knife or multi-tool. – Proper clothes for the conditions. Carrying a rain jacket or poncho is always recommended. If making longer hikes on our backcountry trails, consider a shelter, portable camp stove and a way to ignite its fuel. If paddling, have all necessary safety gear, such as a PFD. Being prepared can keep you from getting lost and ready for almost all situations. And don’t forget to stop at the Visitor Center from 9-5 for the most up to date info and to ask any questions you might have. We look forward to seeing you at the park! . . . #congareenationalpark #safetyfirst #tenessentials #hiking #explore #leavenotrace #autumn #nps #findyourpark