Hit the trail!
Jen Pace Dickenson
Hiking trails have been even busier than usual in our beautiful area this year, as many entertainment venues remain closed and folks are looking for something fun to do. Heading to a higher elevation or swimming hole is the perfect respite during the dog days of summer. Here are some resources to help you find the perfect trail, and try to head out early to beat the crowds!
With the AllTrails website or app, you can find trails in your area with maps, mileage, difficulty ratings, and reviews and photos from hikers who have visited recently. Melrose Falls Trail is the #1 rated hike in Tryon, a 1.1 mile trail that is moderate in difficulty with only 131 feet of elevation gain.
Romantic Asheville (romanticasheville.com)
Romantic Asheville is my favorite local website! There is a huge “outdoors” section on the website and it also offers information on other things to do in WNC. Browse articles like “20 Mountain Swimming Holes near Asheville,” “Waterfalls Near Asheville: 60 Favorites,” and “10 Ways to Beat the Heat in the Mountains” to find plenty of things to add to your summer bucket list.
Saluda Community Land Trust (saludaclt.org)
This organization is “dedicated to preserving Saluda’s rural, small town character by protecting its unique natural heritage.” Their website lists some unique Saluda hikes, such as Missing 40, and they also have a 2020 Youth Partner Challenge for ages 5-16.
Polk Trails (polktrails.org)
This website is maintained by the Americorps Trails Coordinator, who works for Polk County Parks & Recreation through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation. The website provides information on the various hiking trails in the Polk County area, such as the Palmetto Passage.
North Carolina Waterfalls by Kevin Adams
I see this book referenced often in the hiking groups I belong to, as Adams is considered the waterfall expert for our state. He also has waterfall challenges on his website, if you’re interested in adding specific goals to your pursuit. For each waterfall listed on the challenge, he provides the page number from his book where you can find information about it.
Hiking Waterfalls: North Carolina by Melissa Watson
This guidebook features hikes to more than 151 of the best waterfalls in the state, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Great Smoky Mountains, and features detailed maps and clear driving directions, GPS coordinates for both trailheads and waterfalls, comprehensive trail descriptions with mile-by-mile directional cues, and waterfall height and beauty ratings.
Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit polklibrary.org or call 828-894-8721.