It’s here friends! The long awaited season of FALL & we are so very thankful. It’s one of the best times of the year to break out your hiking shoes, throw a few granola bars in your backpacks & to hit the trail.
Because we know it can be hard to finally commit to a place & get out there – we wanted to share a few of our favorite spots with you. These have become our “go-to’s” on beautiful weekends. And of course, what is a hike without our trusty fur baby, Scout? He is always up for adventure!
1. Paris Mountain: Want a hike that’s close to town? Paris Mountain can’t be beaten! Even if it’s just for a stretch of our legs around the lake! Trails at Paris Mountain range in difficulty from easy to moderate depending on where you are. For families with children, try the loop around Lake Placid. It’s only 3/4 of a mile & very flat (not stroller friendly). For a longer more strenuous hike, park at the top of the ridge and try the Reservoir route via Sulpher Springs, Fire Tower, Kanuga, North Lake, Pipsissewa, and Brisy Ridge (that sounds super complicated, but it will totally make sense when you look at the map!
2. Jones Gap: Want to get a little bit further from the city? Jones Gap is absolutely serene. Our favorite part about this park is that you can hike along the beautiful Middle Saluda river for miles. The river is refreshing & beautiful any time of the year. We frequent Jones Gap all year around – but our favorite time to visit is during the winter! It’s less crowded, you can hear the crunch of snow & ice under your boots, & the creek is beautifully frosted over.
Some of our favorite times spent in this park have been when we are exhausted & just need to get away from it all. We have spent many afternoons walking these trails, praying & asking the Lord for wisdom in different areas of our lives. Fun fact: the weekend we found out about Baby Rainsford, we hiked together through these woods. We wept, we prayed, we rejoiced! And then on the way home, JP got so sick! Morning sickness right on time… But it was the beginning of a whole new adventure! Now Jones Gap will always hold a special place in our hearts!
3. Black Balsam Knob: Want a full day away from town? It’s hard to beat Black Balsam. We have explored so many places in Pisgah National Forest, but have been going back to Black Balsam for years. We think it is because this place is a bit mysterious. The knob is completely bare & beautiful, offering an incredible 360* view. But the base of the knob is shrouded in thick evergreen. Passing through these dense trees makes the meadow air beyond that much brighter!
From the Art Loeb trail head on the side of the road, you can hike over the knob and swing your first left (~2 miles from the trail head) on a spur before you get to Tennent Mountain. Hang a left on the service road the spur will dump you on & follow that to the parking lot. A quick hike up the hill and you’re back at the trail head! (~4 miles round trip.)
But lets be honest, is there a better way to top off a day in the woods than at Sierra Nevada? Sweeten the deal!
Enjoy, friends & happy hiking!
Love, The Rainsfords