Free Guided Hikes Invite All to Explore NC State Parks

Ready to see the fall foliage?
Photos courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina

If you’ve ever wanted to hike North Carolina’s state parks with your family but were hesitant to explore the trails on your own, here’s an incentive to get going. Hike NC!, a free series of 60 guided hikes in North Carolina’s state parks and nature preserves, just kicked off and runs through the end of the year.

The community initiative — launched by the North Carolina State Park System and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina — aims to make hiking easier for North Carolinians no matter their age, fitness level or hiking experience. With fall in the air, this is the perfect time to head out. Your family will not be alone as each hike is led by a trained guide or park ranger. The hikes offer a way to see the beautiful fall foliage, to try hiking for the first time and to enjoy nature with family, friends and pets. You can also learn about plants and animals in the state parks and nature preserves. At least 17 statewide hikes are scheduled in the Triangle area.

To find hikes near you, visit Search by region and sign up for a hike that suits your family, based on distance, time, location and level of trail difficulty. After you sign up online, just show up, meet your guide and begin hiking.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina State Park System

As part of Hike NC!, you can also sign up for the “100-mile challenge,” a new health and wellness program launched by North Carolina State Parks and Gov. Pat McCrory that encourages people to complete 100 miles of hiking, walking, running, paddling, skating, rolling their wheelchairs or riding their horses within the state. The 100-mile challenge is designed for anyone — even beginners — and you can sign up for an account at Users keep track of their miles as they progress toward 100 miles and earn digital badges along the way for exploring state parks, participating in events and reaching mileage milestones. For more information on the new program, visit the FAQ page at


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