I have always loved nature. My earliest childhood memories are of me playing for hours upon hours in the woods behind my parents home. As I got older and started traveling the world, I always made certain that I hiked in whatever country I was exploring. Not only is it a great way to get up close and personal with your new surroundings, it is also a great way to not feel guilty about indulging in the local food and drink since you burn a lot of calories walking.
Having said that, I am blessed to live in North Carolina — a state that has some of the best hiking in the world. I live in Charlotte and my favorite hiking is found in and around Asheville, which is about a 2.5 hour drive away. Perfect for a day trip, although on this particular visit we decided to make a weekend trip out of it.
I was invited, along with my husband and son, to participate in Hike NC! by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Hike NC! is an initiative aimed at making hiking an easier, more approachable experience for North Carolinians across the state. Hike NC! is the next step in BCBSNC’s Get Outside North Carolina (GO NC!) community program, which was created in 2012 to encourage North Carolinians to get outside and get active. If you happen to live in or are visiting North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting GoHikeNC.com to find a desirable hike near you.
We chose Asheville for one simple reason: it was peak season for the autumn foliage. We knew that the leaves were going to be absolutely dazzling and we truly could not have picked a better weekend to visit. The leaves did not disappoint and even our toddler was constantly pointing at them in awe.
Hike NC! makes it super easy to choose the right hike. It divides North Carolina into six regions. Once you choose your region, select the hike that is right for you by deciding between: easy, moderate, and strenuous levels. Since we had our son with us, we wanted something easy to moderate, so that he could walk next to us instead of carrying him, which freed my hands up for taking photos.
Hardwood forests, tumbling waterfalls, boulder fields, and breathtaking overlooks; these are just a few of the sights you might enjoy on a hike in the Asheville area. Unless otherwise noted, the only things you will need are drinking water and comfortable walking or athletic shoes. Does not get easier than that, right?
We ended up hiking part of the Tanawha Trail in the Appalachian forest. The Tanawha Trail is known for exploring the rugged east flank of Grandfather Mountain. It is an almost 10 mile hike, but we only made a couple of miles with our son before returning back to our car. Still, it was an absolutely memorable experience for all of us and we would do it again in a heartbeat. I hope this post has encouraged you to add a hike in North Carolina to your future Bucket List!
I was invited to participate in Hike NC! by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and received a travel voucher for my participation. All opinions are my own.