Best-Kept Secrets: NC has many spots for a still travel in a woods

May 29, 2016 - Picnic Time

There are times when we conduct out into a woods, anticipating for a tiny one-on-one time with nature, that we find yourself bumping into lots of people.

But this spring, my teenage son and we hiked for 3 hours in a Uwharrie Mountains, about a half hour southwest of Asheboro, on a balmy Saturday afternoon and didn’t see a soul.

The route was a comparatively new prolongation of a Uwharrie National Recreation Trail, that runs from N.C. 24/27 north by a Uwharrie National Forest. Most maps and online guides uncover a route finale 20 miles north during a parking area during Jumping Off Rock on Flint Hill Road. But in 2014, a route was extended north another 6 miles, apropos what outside author and former News Observer contributor Joe Miller calls a many scenic widen of route in a Uwharries.

North Carolina is sanctified with a far-reaching accumulation of places to hike. From a coastal forests and swamps by a ancient plateau and tide valleys of a Piedmont to a soaring peaks of a Blue Ridge, a state offers something for usually about each taste.

And with 67 state distraction and healthy areas and parks, a inhabitant park, dual inhabitant seashores, 4 inhabitant forests, dual dozen internal land trusts and 3 long-distance trails – a Appalachian, Overmountain Victory and a ever-growing Mountains-to-Sea Trail – well, there’s lots of trails to select from.

Still, there aren’t any undiscovered gems, says Charlie Peek, orator for a state Division of Parks and Recreation and an zealous hiker.

“There are no hikes that people haven’t listened of,” Peek said. “Hiking is so renouned right now that somebody is seeking out each throw of trail.”

But a afternoon travel my son and we took shows it’s still probable to find solitude. For starters, a northern widen of Uwharrie Trail isn’t easy to find. The Jumping Off Rock parking area has a map that shows usually a route streamer south – no signs or other indications that it also goes north.

We wanted for a route adult and down Flint Hill Road. About 100 yard to a west, usually over Barnes Creek, we saw a tiny pointer for a Uwharrie Trail and an arrow indicating into a woods.

The route gains some betterment quickly, afterwards levels off by a hardwood timberland before dropping down into a muddy area and a tide called Poison Fork. There we encountered a pen for a Uwharrie Trail audio tour, an Eagle Scout plan by Chris Moncrief of Indian Trail in 2014. Unfortunately, ATT’s cellphone use didn’t extend this low into a woods, so we couldn’t use a QR formula to listen to what Chris had to say. (You’ll find it during

The tide is about 15 feet wide, and to cranky it though removing your feet soppy you’ve got to leave a route to find a mark where we can jump from stone to rock. The route follows a tide on what looks like an aged logging road, afterwards turns to follow a highway adult Little Long Mountain.

The route leaves a highway and climbs by a camp of pines, their trunks charred by fire. The pines skinny as we proceed a tip of a mountain, and during a limit we emerge during an open area that offers singular views of a other plateau in a distance. This opening is a outcome of logging and might not final long; immature trees are already flourishing up. There’s a safety here, another Eagle Scout project, finished in 2015.

From here, a route continues north to a trailhead on Thayer Road and another leg of a route that crosses King Mountain and ends during Pisgah Covered Bridge Road. For a finish beam to hiking in a Uwharries, check out “Uwharrie Lakes Region Trail Guide” by Cary author Don Childrey.

Deep Gap Trail, Mount Mitchell State Park

You don’t have to be a super contestant to scale some of North Carolina’s tip peaks, since a Blue Ridge Parkway gets we many of a approach there. You can’t get many aloft than a parking lot during Mount Mitchell State Park, usually next a limit of a tip indicate easterly of a Mississippi River. This travel lets we extend that feeling of being adult high while evading a crowds of a park’s signature attraction. It starts nearby a cruise area and follows a crests of a Black Mountains, channel Mount Craig (the second tip rise in a east, during 6,647 feet), Big Tom Mountain and Balsam Cone before withdrawal a park. It’s a 4.3-mile “strenuous” travel one way, though we can spin around any time.

Iron Ore Belt Access to Haw River State Park

While Mount Mitchell is North Carolina’s oldest state park, Haw River State Park, usually north of Greensboro, is one of a newest and still lacks a camping and cruise comforts found during many parks. But this spring, a state non-stop a Iron Ore Belt Access and a new 3.2-mile Great Blue Heron Trail that loops around a wetland by mature forest, meadows and past a rust-colored stone that gives a entrance indicate a name. The route is so new that it doesn’t seem on a Haw River State Park website or park map yet. You’ll find a entrance highway during 6068 North Church Street, on a right a few miles north of N.C. 150.

Max Patch Mountain

If we haven’t gifted an Appalachian Mountain bald, we owe it to yourself to travel to a tip of one, both for a overwhelming views and to knowledge an ecological oddity. Balds like Max Patch are towering peaks surfaced with weed or shrubs where trees would be approaching to grow. It’s suspicion that some originated with a ice age, when icy winds kept trees from growing, afterwards were confirmed over a millennia by extending animals, initial furious and afterwards domestic, or by fire. Max Patch, on a Tennessee line, is now confirmed by periodic mowing. Getting here by automobile is half a adventure. From Asheville, take Interstate 40 west and get off during Exit 15 by a tiny village of Fines Creek and follow Max Patch Road as a turf becomes steeper and a homes fewer. Or take Exit 7 and follow a sand Cold Springs Creek Road by a Harmon Den Wildlife Management Area. Both roads accommodate nearby a parking area usually next a summit. The travel itself is a assuage stand of reduction than a mile, and during a tip you’ll find a peculiar juncture of families drifting kites and scabby by hikers on a Appalachian Trail, that traverses a summit. You’ll feel like you’re during a tip of a world.

Catawba Falls

You shouldn’t design many waste during Catawba Falls. The route is usually a few miles off Interstate 40 during Old Fort, and a 1.2-mile travel adult to Lower Catawba Falls is easy adequate that tiny children (and tiny dogs) are a common steer on a trail. The falls are in Pisgah National Forest though were not publicly permitted until a Foothills Conservancy began appropriation land next a falls and creation it accessible to a Forest Service. The route follows a Catawba River, that is tiny some-more than a tide here, and passes a hull of a dam and dual aged energy houses that once supposing electricity to Old Fort. From Exit 73, follow a signs for Old Fort Recreation Area onto Catawba River Road, afterwards take a highway all a approach to a end.

The Neusiok Trail, Croatan National Forest

Hiking is a year-round activity in North Carolina, and in fact some hikes are best finished in cold weather. The Neusiok Trail in Croatan National Forest passes by cypress swamps, hardwood forests, longleaf hunger savannahs and shrubby bogs, and offers a possibility to see furious turkeys, black bears, bald eagles, alligators and red-cockaded woodpeckers. But a mosquitoes are thick in a summer heat, and a hiking is best from Oct by May. For a desirous hiker, a route is 20 miles long, from a shores of a Neuse River south to Newport River. But for a 9-mile loop, start during a Pine Cliff Picnic Area on a Neuse River and take a route south to where it crosses Ferry Road, afterwards follow a highway behind north to a river. The route was built by a Carteret County Wildlife Club, and is partial of a 900-mile Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail. You’ll find a couple to a route leaflet during

Nags Head Woods Preserve

For many people, hiking during a seashore is singular to walking adult and down a beach. But there are countless coastal parks and inlet preserves to take we divided from a crowds and into nautical forests, wooded dunes and marshes plentiful with life. The Nature Conservancy’s Nags Head Woods Preserve offers all of these on a sound side, between Jockey’s Ridge State Park and a Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk. There are several trails on this 1,111-acre preserve, trimming from a 3.75-mile loop over high dunes, to brief though scenic trails for families, including a route grown in and with a N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen that accommodates wheelchairs and strollers. Trails open emergence to eve each day. Information:

Look for other installments in the Best-Kept Secrets array each Monday by Labor Day.

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