Hiking in the North Carolina High Country is a popular activity that the area is known for. The trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Grandfather Mountain State Park International Biosphere, and other spectacular North Carolina State Parks can provide weeks of unique hiking opportunities. Hiking is especially unique during the winter months. Here are our top reasons why:
- AMAZING VIEWS– The winter months provide relief from the humidity that comes with the unique temperate rainforest ecosystem around the High Country. The lack of high humidity in the winter provides an opportunity for clear long range views from the mountain tops. What better reward to a day of uphill hiking than a spectacular view! FACT: On a clear day the Charlotte city skyline can be seen from Grandfather Mountain
- TERRAIN VISUALS– The lack of leaves and other deciduous plant life creates an opportunity to take in all the other unique features of the mountain land. You will notice giant boulders, natural springs and interesting root formations that are hidden by the foliage in the spring and summer months.
- FEW PEOPLE– Few people recognize the beauty and benefits of winter hiking so you will run into few people on your trek. This provides an opportunity to take in the forest sounds and beauty without distraction. Listen to the rustle of the squirrels in the tree tops…and see them due to the lack of leaves! Listen to the unique sounds of a mountain stream or waterfall as is makes its way around pockets of ice. … And you will always get the opportunity to sit on the “boulder bench” at a popular overlook!
- GET HEALTHY– Did you know that hiking in cooler temperatures burns more calories? Walking through snow, snowshoeing and cross country skiing will burn even more calories!
- Its a good way to CHILL!!
If you are ready to go for a winter hike, remember these tidbits:
- Dress in layers: Wearing layers not only keeps you warmer, but can prevent overheating and sweating as you climb steep terrain or experience a change in temperature.
- Check the weather: Weather can change drastically and fast in the mountains. The temperature could drop 40 degrees or a storm could move in with a couple hours! Check the local forecast or call the High Country Host Visitors Center at 828-264-1299.
- Check to make sure trails are open: The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina State Parks and Grandfather Mountain will close in inclement weather. Some trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway can be accessed when roads are closed. Call the High Country Host Visitors Center for information on current trail access at 828-264-1299