We are lucky to live in a part of the country that is rich in natural resources. Western North Carolina boasts lush mountains; cool, pristine streams teeming with fish; dense forests; breath-taking waterfalls; and a dizzying array of wildflowers, all of which can viewed while hiking one of the many trails that meander through our mountains. Thousands of people visit our mountains each year to take in their beauty from the trail. There are lots of great reasons to head outdoors and explore a new trail, here are just 5 of our favorites.
- Hiking is great exercise. Like walking, the calories burned while hiking can help you lose weight, thus, reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. And according to the CDC, 150 minutes of hiking per week will keep your joint flexible and your muscles strong over the years. Regular hiking helps develop strong bones and slows bone loss.
- Hiking is uncomplicated. Hiking is just walking on unpaved sidewalks (okay, we might be oversimplifying a bit, but you get it). There is no need to learn complicated moves. Simply, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail. Most trails are rated from easy for beginners to difficult for seasoned hikers. Regular hiking can build fitness and endurance.
- Hiking is a stress reliever. Experiencing nature in real time has a natural calming effect that helps you to get back to the basics and get in touch with nature. While on a hike, you can observe animals in their natural habitat, hunt for wildflowers, or take in a waterfall. Even a trail hiked many times, can offer up new surprises throughout the year.
- Hiking does not require fancy, expensive equipment. To get started, you need a good pair of hiking shoes, a small backpack to carry water, snack, map, and anything else you might want for the hike.
- Hiking is an activity for the whole family. From babies to grandparents, hiking can be enjoyed at any age; simply pick a trail with the appropriate mileage and difficulty level.
To find a trail that’s just right for you, click here.