The 10 Most Popular Stories of 2017

2017 was another banner year for the outdoors, and the team here at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine enjoyed documenting it every step of the way.

Like in years past, we covered a wide range of topics. They ran the gamut from pressing news stories like booby trapped trails and mountain bikers being held at gunpoint in Pisgah National Forest to more lighthearted stories about backpacking meccas and must-fish West Virginia trout streams.

We’ve rounded up the top ten for your reading pleasure. 

1.The East Coast will be a Lyme Disease Warzone This Year

It’s no secret that climate change is having drastic effects on the way we recreate out-of-doors here in the Blue Ridge. Back in 2016 we covered a rash of rare wildfires that swept across a drought-ridden Southeast. Before that we focused on the detrimental effects climate change is having on our Southern ski resorts. In 2017, the most widely read article on was piece about the expected rise in lyme disease brought about by a climate change-fueled increase in disease-carrying ticks.

2. Hidden Spike Impales Western North Carolina Trail Runner

Pinnacle Park, located near the town of the Sylva in Jackson County, North Carolina, was closed for several days in February of 2017 after local authorities realized that someone had been deliberately planting spikes on the park’s heavily used hiking trails. The terrifying news of this incident, which broke here on, evoked fear across the region and quickly made national headlines.

3. 8 Perfect Weekend Trails

This one is an oldie but a goodie, and it was extremely popular with our readers in 2017. It focuses on the loads of sub-100 mile trails criss crossing the Blue Ridge that offer an authentic thru-hiking experience in just a few days.

4. 10 Spectacular Overnight Trips in Shenandoah National Park

2017 was another big year for BRO readers in the backcountry of Shenandoah National Park, and this informative piece on 10 of the best backcountry excursions in the Virginia park was one of our most frequently viewed articles.

5. Mountain Bikers Held at Gunpoint in Pisgah National Forest 

If you were anywhere near western North Carolina around mid July of 2017, chances are you were inundated with news about the ongoing saga of a meth-addled mad man on the loose in Pisgah National Forest. What started with a shocking incident wherein two mountain bikers were held at gun point near Brevard, North Carolina, quickly devolved into a highly publicized man hunt before culminating in the death of a Mills River man and the eventual capture of the culprit.

6. Sexual Harassment in the Outdoors

2017 saw a seismic shift in the way society as a whole deals with sexual harassment issues. It seems almost every industry, from journalism to food and beverage, is finally coming to terms with serial sexual harassers in its midst. Unfortunately, the outdoor industry is no exception. This article, written by BRO Travel Editor Jess Daddio, takes an unflinching look at the sexist attitudes playing out on rivers and trails in ways you’d never imagine.

7. 6 Women Who Are Revolutionizing Fly Fishing

Women have long been an integral part of the fly fishing world, and in recent years they are finally getting some of the recognition they deserve. This recognition is due in large part to the fact that, as the New York Times reported earlier this month, women comprise the fastest growing demographic in the sport. In our March 2017 fly fishing issue, I interviewed and profiled six women who are revolutionizing the fly fishing game, from local standouts like Katie Kahn to national sensations like April Vokey and Hilary Hutcheson.

8. Big Foot in the Blue Ridge?

Is there an undiscovered species of bipedal hominid lurking in the hills and hollers of Western North Carolina? Not likely, but hey, we want to believe! Apparently lots of BRO readers do too because this story about about an alleged sasquatch sighting in McDowell County, North Carolina made our top ten list. But the story doesn’t end with the sighting. A few weeks after this news about the legendary ape made ripples across WNC, a new character emerged.

9. 48 Hour Travel Guides

Once again, our 48 Hours Travel Guides were some of the most consistently read features on These guides profile some of the best towns in the Blue Ridge and beyond. From hiking hotspots to the area’s best breweries, they have all the beta you’ll need for your next weekend excursion.

48 Hours in Greenville, South Carolina was one of the most popular travel guides of 2017.

10. 4 Must-Fish West Virginia Trout Streams

The Mountain State of West Virginia is a mecca for a wide range outdoor activities, but some would argue that fly fishing for trout is its biggest draw. That was certainly the case for our readers in 2017, who made this  article on West Virginia’s best trout streams one of our most visited webpages of the year.