I hike frequently on trails on or near the northern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. I also spent a lot of time on the trails in Hanging Rock State Park and Pilot Mountain State Park. All three locations are close enough to be an easy half-day trip for me. But sometimes you can’t drive 1-2 hours to get to a good hike. The solution: check out local trails.

If you aren’t blessed to live in the mountains, where peaks are easy to find, you might be able to find a few interesting locations without the massive views that a peak provides. For example, Salem Lake in Winston-Salem NC provides a seven-mile hike around the lake. You will see a few houses (it’s downtown) but for the most part it’s a nice, fairly flat, trail through the woods around the lake with many opportunities to bird watch. Depending on the time of year, there are fantastic flowers in bloom.

Less than a mile from my home, there’s a wooded trail along the Yadkin River. In the winter, it’s a great place to see the river and observe the wildlife, as well as the fenced in horses and cows. In summer the leaves close in the trail and you feel like you’re walking through the woods in the middle of nowhere. The changing seasons ensure that the trail never gets old.

More hiking posts.