Trail Notes: Hikes I’m looking forward to this Spring

Trail Team 11

(B.Stack/WJHL)

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.

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.

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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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