Weekend Pick: Hike the Tanawha Trail, N.C.

Spring is the perfect is the perfect season to hit the trail, and the Survival Guide notwithstanding, our latest April issue is all about hiking. The leaves are beginning to grow out green and strong like the planet is being born again after a winter underground. The mornings are cool but the afternoons can get downright balmy. It’s time to stretch those legs, people, and knock off the rust from a long winter’s nap. Thru-hikers are setting out on their epic, life-altering journey, but you don’t have to be locked into 2,000+ miles to get your rear in gear. All it takes is a little motivation and digging that day hiking pack or tent out of the gear shed.

This weekend, head for the rugged Tanawha Trail near Grandfather Mountain and Boone, North Carolina. This 13.5 mile trail alternates between gentle meadows and rocky boulder fields so it is the perfect mix for your first big hike of the season. Access is easy via the Blue Ridge Parkway and the trail goes under the Linn Cove Viaduct. The views are spectacular and should be even better with the weather forecast this weekend. Temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s and sunny makes for optimal hiking weather.

Due to the distance of this trail it can be tackled in one long day hike or split into a weekend camping trip. Either way, you’ll have a great jump on the spring hiking season. The trail begins at Mile Post 305.5 at the Beacon Heights Parking Area and heads north to Julian Price Lake Campground and the Boone Fork Overlook near Mile Post 297.

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