Even as the changing fall scenery provides picture-perfect views, many are still reluctant to explore the outdoors. Some people don’t venture out to North Carolina’s parks, forests and trails because they don’t know about all that the state has to offer. Others are worried they aren’t in good enough shape to take on nature, or that they might get lost by themselves out in the woods.
This fall, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the N.C. State Parks system launched Hike NC!, a new community initiative that will take the hesitation out of hiking and encourage North Carolinians to get moving. Hike NC! is a series of more than 60 guided hikes in North Carolina’s state parks and nature preserves, led by the state’s top hiking and nature experts.
There are 17 local hikes. They begin Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. with a 2.7-mile, two-hour hike along Sal’s Branch Trail in the William B. Umstead State Park and continue through Nov. 19.
Local hikes include:
•Oct. 22 — Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake (Day-Hike Section F), at 1 p.m.. This 3.1-mile, two-hour hike is rated “easy.”
•Nov. 5 — Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Day-Hike Section T, MST at Falls Lake), at 10 a.m. This 3.9-mile, two-hour hike is rated “easy to moderate.”
•Nov. 12 — Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake (Day-Hike Section G), at 10 a.m. This 4.2-mile, two-hour hike is rated “easy to moderate.”
Hike NC! will help make hiking easier and more approachable for North Carolinians, regardless of their age, fitness level or hiking experience. Each hike will be led by a trained guide or park ranger.
“As a North Carolina company, it’s our mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities,” said Kathy Higgins, Blue Cross’ vice president of Corporate Affairs. “This fall, Hike NC! will help North Carolinians connect with their communities and state by making it easier to get outside and be active with friends and family. We’re removing all the barriers that prevent people from hiking so that now the only thing that should stop people is the beautiful scenery they’ll experience.”
See gohikenc.com for more information.