Winter hikes, steep ascents, great views, all nearby

As winter closes in, hiking opportunities in the Western North Carolina mountains often close down. Wind chills can plunge into the single digits or below on high peaks, making hiking hazardous. Snow and ice can leave rural roads leading to trailheads impassible.

Still, hikers cooped up for the holidays feel twinges of cabin fever. They hanker to buckle on a day pack and put their boots on the trail. But for an aerobic workout, where to find trails with steep ascents and descents that offer sweeping views of the surrounding countryside?

The Piedmont, that’s where. More specifically, the mountains of the Piedmont.

The Piedmont contains isolated mountain ranges that can replicate treks in the big mountains in a climate that’s much milder, mountain ranges such as the Sauratowns and the Uwharries.

Consider these five destinations as candidates for winter hikes in the North Carolina Piedmont. All are within three hours of Raleigh. They’re listed from east to west.

 

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