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Local Hikes

Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.


Asheville, NC
Appalachian Trail: Brown Gap to Max Patch

Delicate pink-and-white mountain laurel hits peak bloom in late May along this 6.9-mile section of the AT, which traces the North Carolina-Tennessee border en route to 360-degree views atop grassy, 4,629-foot Max Patch. Trip ID 42374

Atlanta, GA
Gahuti Backcountry Trail

Tunnel through thickets of May-blooming rhododendron on this undulating 7.9-mile lap circling Fort Mountain State Park. Look for the remains of an 855-foot-long rock wall believed to have been built by Native Americans (the park is named for the relic). Trip ID 8223

Knoxville, TN
Ridge-to-Waterfall Loop

The hollows and ridges of 3,500-acre Bays Mountain Park serve up a sweet sampling of Appalachian spring. On this 12-mile route, you’ll find pink lady slippers beneath trailside hemlocks, and hooded warblers, scarlet tanagers, and pileated and downy woodpeckers in the leafy canopy. Keep an eye out for black bears and beavers, too. The latter are particularly active in spring, when sap flow returns. Another highlight: 50-mile views into four states (Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina) from the 2,465-foot lookout. Trip ID 36480

Memphis, TN
Chickasaw Bluff

The 13,467-acre Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park’s blend of mature bottomland hardwoods and upland forest boasts 200 species of birds and a wide variety of vegetation. Look for blooming yellow tulip poplar trees and red buckeye in the understory on this 7.7-mile, one-way trek to 125-acre Poplar Tree Lake. Trip ID 6948

Tallahassee, FL
Leon Sinks Loop

Explore a swampy, sinkhole-laden landscape—with a network of caves and deep blue pools—beneath the shade of oaks, tupelo, and citrus-smelling magnolias (blooming April and May) on this 4.4-mile loop inside a half million-acre national forest. Trip ID 22892

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