November is the best time to hike in the Appalachians. The fair-weather foliage tourists have gone home, but the temperatures are still relatively mild, making it just the right time to cover a lot of miles in the mountains. Here’s a rundown of quintessential hikes being offered in the region.
CUMBERLAND FALLS STATE PARK, KY.
Nov. 7 • parks.ky.gov
Spend a crisp fall day on the Moonbow Trail, trekking either five or 10 miles through Kentucky’s stretch of the scenic Cumberland River Gorge.
COHUTTA WILDERNESS, GA.
Nov. 7-8 • georgia-atclub.org
Hike with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club in this revered wilderness down the Hickory Creek Trail to the Conasauga River Trail to Bray Field where hikers will set up base camp for the night, followed by a pack-free exploration of Panther Creek Falls.
SHACKELFORD ISLAND, N.C.
Nov. 13-15 • brmsstore.com
This coastal trip with Blue Ridge Mountain Sports actually leaves from the outfitter in Charlottesville, Va., and travels to the remote island for some quiet time with wild horses, superb shelling, and the fall migration of shorebirds. A reasonable $75 gets you a lift, boat transport, and two meals.
MASSANUTTEN CIRCUIT HIKE, VA.
Nov. 14 • sierrapotomac.org
A great taste of rugged Virginia backcountry in the George Washington National Forest, this 16-mile hike features panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley and western slopes of Blue Ridge. Plan to climb about 3,000 feet throughout the day as you ascend Kennedy Peak and Duncan Knob.
PICKENS NOSE BUSHWACK, N.C.
Nov. 15 • georgia-atclub.org
Hike out to this strange rock outcropping that sits in the Standing Indian area of North Carolina’s Nantahala Mountains. Pickens Nose is named after the honker of South Carolina Revolutionary War General Andrew Pickens, who has a divisive historical reputation as a tactical war hero and a Cherokee mass murderer. The hike is full of fun bushwhacks and offers awesome views of the Betty Creek Valley.
GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK, VA.
Nov. 20 • wildsideadventures.com
Spend the day traversing wind-swept high country among the tallest peaks in Virginia. You’ll cross over rocky outcroppings and mingle with wild ponies on this trip being led by Wildside Adventures.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, TENN.
Nov. 27 • smhclub.org
To celebrate the national park’s 75th anniversary, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club is leading nine different hikes this year that total 75 miles. Hikers who complete the predetermined routes are eligible for a special patch. Join the group for an eight-mile jaunt from Ramsey Cascades, then complete the rest on your own.