To the tourist’s perspective, the woods and trails in Western North Carolina may all look very similar. Because of the area’s temperate climate, the forests on this side of the state are home to deciduous ecosystems which all share the same type of organisms, trees, and wildlife.
The area is known to be home to a very multitude of trails and many are unique to their location because of their deep history.
Senior Madi Loftis is an avid backpacker and is familiar with trails in the area, including difficult and easy routes.
“I feel so blessed because I was born and raised in such a beautiful area; there is so much diversity in western North Carolina,” Loftis said.
Loftis recommends hiking in either the fall or spring because of the moderate temperatures in both seasons, the flowers in bloom in the spring and the colorful trees in the fall.
Appreciation for the outdoors is a common thing at Roberson–a Twitter poll conducted by the Golden Fleece of four of the most popular places to visit in the area revealed the most popular place was Craggy Gardens.
It was closely followed by the views available at Frying Pan tower. Both are located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and are categorized as easy trails: the two are both about 1.5 miles round trip.
According to WNCHikes.com, some popular but moderately difficult hikes in include Graveyard Fields, a mile 3.2 long walk, Devil’s Courthouse, a steep 1.5 mile trip, and the hike to Mount Pisgah, which is about 3 miles roundtrip.
For those who prefer hikes with more difficult routes, the Mount Mitchell hike (a steep 11 miles), Harper Creek Falls (an 8.5 mile long trek), and the 6.5-mile long Looking Glass Rock Trail all provide beautiful trips for those willing to make the journey.
Whether the hike is about the journey or the destination, natives like Loftis trust that getting outside is worth the walk.
“The outdoors is the most natural thing to us and we should love it, feel connected to it, and learn to appreciate it more,” Loftis said.