Hiking in Western North Carolina

Embarking on a hiking adventure is more than just a physical journey; it's a profound exploration of the natural world and a deep dive into the essence of personal challenge. Hiking trails, from serene forest walks to rugged mountain ascents, offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature, witness breathtaking landscapes, and discover the boundless beauty that lies just beyond our everyday surroundings. Whether you're a seasoned hiker seeking your next great summit or a beginner looking to take your first steps on a wooded path, hiking embodies the spirit of adventure and self-discovery.

This guide is your compass to navigating the diverse and rewarding world of hiking. It's crafted to inspire and inform, providing essential insights into preparing for your hike, understanding trail etiquette, and ensuring safety while immersed in the wilderness. With each step on the trail, you'll find yourself moving closer to nature's heart and further from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Hiking is not just a physical activity; it's a pathway to mindfulness, a chance to rejuvenate, and a means to foster a deeper appreciation for our planet's incredible landscapes. Welcome to your hiking adventure—a journey that promises to enrich your body, mind, and soul.

  1. Plan Ahead

    • Research your trail: Know the distance, elevation gain, and difficulty level and check the weather forecast.
    • Inform someone: Always let someone know your route and expected return time.
  2. Dress Appropriately

    • Wear layered clothing: Adapt to changing weather conditions.
    • Choose proper footwear: Wear hiking boots or shoes with good grip and support.
  3. Pack Essentials

    • Bring the "Ten Essentials": Navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first-aid supplies, fire, repair kit and tools, nutrition, hydration, and emergency shelter.
    • Carry enough water and food: Stay hydrated and energized.
  4. Stay on the Trail

    • Follow marked paths and trails: Protect the environment and yourself.
    • Avoid shortcuts: They can cause erosion and increase your chance of getting lost.
  5. Be Wildlife Aware

    • Keep a safe distance from animals: Do not feed or approach wildlife.
    • Know what to do in an encounter: Understand how to behave around the local wildlife.
  6. Know Your Limits

    • Be realistic about your fitness level: Choose trails within your physical capabilities.
    • Take breaks: Rest when you need to, especially on longer or more challenging hikes.
  7. Stay Hydrated and Nourished

    • Drink water regularly: Don't wait until you're thirsty to hydrate.
    • Eat snacks: Keep your energy up with light, nutritious snacks.
  8. Handle Emergencies Wisely

    • Carry a basic first aid kit: Know how to use it.
    • Learn basic survival skills: Know how to signal for help and stay warm if you get lost.
  9. Respect the Environment

    • Stay on designated trails to minimize impact.
    • Avoid damaging plants or disturbing wildlife.


Our partner company is Foothils Kids Magazine, a non-profit (c)(3). Our most recent issue was about trails and hiking, so we are sharing the full issue here.