Finally! Fall is here. If you’re like us, you’ve probably been craving cooler weather and a reason to get outside. Well, here it is. We can’t think of a better way to spend Fall in North Carolina than exploring the great outdoors and hiking amongst the changing leaves. So grab your mask, your best hiking boots and hit the trails!
photo: Christopher Ciccone/Courtesy North Carolina Museum/via Conde Nast Traveler
Art to Heart Corridor, a trail for the whole family
Explore art outside our walls with a trip to North Carolina Museum of Art, which is also free to visit! Conveniently, you will find the trailhead to Art to Heart Corridor at the museum. Follow this almost 6-mile paved path and eventually you will land in the heart of downtown Raleigh, passing by plenty of noteworthy landmarks along the way.
For the slightly more adventurous… visit William B Umstead State Park
Find some of the best hiking trails near Raleigh at William B Umstead State Park. This 5,000 acres Park has 13-miles of multi-recreational paths and more than 22-miles of relatively flat hiking trails with pockets of rolling hill for a more mountain-like experience.
You’ve likely worked up quite an appetite and thirst by this point. Next stop, Trophy Brewing, which has three locations throughout downtown Raleigh. Indulge in a craft brew (or a flight if you’re feeling extra thirsty) and some ‘za while you cool off on their outdoor patio – you’ve earned it!
photo: NC Tripping
Immerse yourself in learning about nature at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
There is plenty to see and learn at the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. In addition to the 3-mile hiking trail, this 140-acre forest is also home to a unique community of nearly 200 Eastern Hemlock trees, children’s area, recycled art garden and nature center.
Hiking options include Chestnut Oak Loops (1.2 mi), Swift Creek Loop (0.8 mi), Beech Tree Cove (0.9 mi) and West Hemlock Overlook (0.7 mi).
Bond Brothers Beer Company
With fourteen taps to choose from, Bond Brothers Beer Company has all the bells and whistles of the ideal brewery – a spacious dog-friendly taproom, killer views of the brewery and an outdoor beer garden.
photo: Carolina Outdoors Guide
Willing to venture a little further north of Durham? Be sure to visit Hanging Rock State Park
Located at around 100 miles from Durham, is Hanging Rock State Park. Here you will find more than 20 miles of hiking trails with impressive views and endless water features, including Lower Cascade Falls trail, a forest-like hike along the edge of the gorge, which eventually leads to a 35-foot waterfall.
Wise Man Brewing
After hitting the trails, quench your thirst with a craft brew at Wise Man Brewing in downtown Winston-Salem.
photo: Jeff Soo/Duke Forest
You don’t have to go far from Durham to find a good hike and beer. Stay close and hit the trails like a local.
Looking for a casual Fall stroll? Duke Forest is the place for you. Managed by Duke University, this forest land consists of over 7,000 acres of trails and recreation. Find access points along Whitfield Road, Erwin Road, Mt. Sinai Road, and Highway 751.
Al Buehler Trail
Although it’s not technically part of Duke Forest, Al Buehler Trail is a favorite spot among locals for running. Don’t be fooled by the relatively short distance, this nearly 3-mile trail consists of some challenging hills to get your heartbeat racing!
American Tobacco Trail
Traveling with your bicycle? You should visit the nearly marathon-long Rails-to-Trails project of the American Tobacco Trail, which follows the old CSX railroad from downtown Durham to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Eno River State Park
Looking to find some quiet time to reconnect with nature? Find over 27 miles of hiking trails at Eno River State Park. Embark on adventurous trails like Cox Mountain, which crosses a cable suspension bridge over the Eno.
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Seeking a breathtaking mountain peak view? You’re in luck – Occoneechee Mountain Loop is a 2.2 mile trail, which winds along the Eno River and eventually leads to an impressive overlook of the area.
Afterwards, grab a local brew from Ponysaurus Brewing. Brought your favorite four-legged pal along? Good news! They have a pet-friendly spacious outdoor patio filled with grassy space and plenty of picnic tables.
Another great place to grab a craft beer with your furry friend… Fullsteam Brewery!
Click here for map of Trail & Breweries.
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