The Triangle area is full of great adventures for those of us who love to be outside. Pick up a few of these guides and hike, bike, float, skate, and fish your way through our beautiful surroundings!
by Sarah Goddin and Mamie Potter
Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail, edited by Jim Grode, is a new addition to UNC Press’s excellent Southern Gateways Guides series. It features 40 of the best hikes from every region touched by the iconic trail, some forested, others winding through villages, historic sites, or farmlands. A great introduction to outdoor North Carolina for anyone new to the state.
Best Hikes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill: The Greatest Views, Wildlife, and Forest Trails by Johnny Molloy features trails within 100 miles of the Triangle and proves you don’t have to drive hours to the mountains or the coast to enjoy some wonderful hikes and beautiful views.
If you must choose just one book for hiking in North Carolina, Falcon Guides recently updated Hiking North Carolina: A Guide to More than 500 of North Carolina’s Greatest Hiking Trails by Randy Johnson is the one. Well organized, with superb maps and detailed descriptions, this book will provide a hike for any destination or length of time you have to hit the trail.
It’s also time to hit the beaches, and Fishing North Carolina’s Outer Banks: The Complete Guide to Catching More Fish from Surf, Pier, Sound, & Ocean by Stan Ulanski combines great natural history with insiders’ tips for finding the fish you want. Our QRB guide- to- everything-fishing, Cam Steele, says this is an excellent resource on coastal fishing for the beginner or experienced angler.
Weighing in at 5 pounds, Birds of the Central Carolinas by Donald W. Seriff is not a field guide! But an evening spent poring over its entries will inspire you to get up and out early the next morning in search of one or more of the 400+ species it includes. With photos, as well as lovely illustrations drawn by Leigh Anne Carter, it provides engagingly written history and anecdotes on each bird.
Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas: A Field Guide to Favorite Places from Chimney Rock to Charleston by Kevin Stewart helps explorers of all ages learn about the formation and shifting of the geological make-up of North and South Carolina. Contains suggestions for more than 30 field trips!
Use 30 Great North Carolina Science Adventures: From Underground Wonderlands to Islands in the Sky and Everything in Between by April Smith as a guide to learning about plants and animals, and the earth and water we inhabit. Suitable for both kids and adults.
Bicycling the Blue Ridge: A Guide to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, by Elizabeth and Charlie Skinner, gives you over 500 miles of adventure through some of the most gorgeous parts of the Virginia and North Carolina mountains. Includes maps and information on places to eat and stay along the way.
For those who prefer the water to the blacktop, there’s Paddling Eastern North Carolina by Paul Ferguson. This is a comprehensive guide to more than 100 streams in NC on which to take your kayak or canoe. Includes maps.
It’ll take a while to get through this one! Trails of the Triangle: Over 400 Trails in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Area, by the late Allen de Hart, contains a phenomenal list of hikes of all distances within the Triangle area. Get to know this area by foot, bicycle, skates, or even on horseback!