Camping: Summertime in the Blue Ridge Mountains

By Fan Hughes

Graveyard Fields pictured above. Photo credit:  wnc.com

When thinking about summer in the south, many locations and activities come to mind: South Carolina’s busy beaches, Georgia’s green golf courses, and Alabama’s warm Gulf waters.  This summer, it’s time to head north…  North Carolina that is! Home to hundreds of different scenic camping and hiking attractions, North Carolina is perfect for a family summer adventure. You don’t have to go far to experience the cool mountain air found in the west. The western region of North Carolina is the epicenter of the counties Appalachian mountains that can keep your family cool and active in the summer months.  Once you go, you get it!

The beautiful National Forests of North Carolina contain over 1.2 million acres of public land. Below are a few worth-while day hikes within these National Forest:

1. Craggy Gardens- This nature trail passes through a Northern Hardwood forest and on to a grassy summit. There is even a trail shelter along the way, a perfect place for a family picnic!

Length:1.4 mi

Difficulty:Easy

2. Moore Cove Falls- This hike is great for a family with younger children and is located in one of the most popular areas of the Pisgah National Forest. It is short in length and located near the Davidson River in the “Land of Waterfalls”. 

Length: 1.4 miles

Difficulty:Easy

3. Graveyard Fields- Start this hike at Graveyard Fields Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 418. This unique trail winds through both higher elevations and flat valleys. Two spurs lead to some of the most photographed and enjoyed waterfalls in the state!

Lenth:3.2 mi

Difficulty:Moderate

4. Whiteside Mountain- This loop climbs so the top of Whiteside Mountain with spectacular 700’ high cliff walls with amazing views for the hiker. The cliff-top views are lined with beautiful mountain laurels which bloom in mid-june.

Length-2.5 mi

Difficulty-Moderate

1. Mt. Mitchell- Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi and is the crown jewel of all day hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains.Starting from the Black Mountain Campground, this climbs 3600 feet in 5.5 miles to reach the summit of Mount Mitchell. Although steep and rough in sections, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views.

Length:11.4 mi

Difficulty:Strenuous

Hundreds of North Carolina trail descriptions and maps can be found at http://www.hikewnc.info/ . If you are looking for a camp ground great for the whole family, a helpful resource is North Carolina’s number one travel website VisitNC.com

Now get out and explore the mountains this summer!

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Tags: Sports&Outdoors, Travel, c-teamblog

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Comment by Ryan Hines on August 15, 2012 at 3:58pm

Great post! Thanks for the info

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