14 Ways to Spend More Time Outside During January


3,469 hikers traveled 8,228 miles on NC state park trails on Jan. 1, 2016.

Photo courtesy of NC State Parks

Jan. 1-29

Piedmont Winterfest, 106 Barnhardt St., Greensboro. $6-$10. 336-207-5216. Outdoor ice skating, slide and snow play box. See website for hours and special activities. piedmontwinterfest.com.

Jan. 1

First Day Hike at Hanging Rock State Park. Hanging Rock State Park, 1790 Hanging Rock Park Road, Danbury. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free. 336-593-8480. Start off the new year atop the highest peak in Stokes County and join a ranger for Hanging Rock’s 2017 First Day Hike. The hike will begin at the lake bathhouse and venture up the Moore’s Wall Loop Trail to the tallest point in the Sauratown Mountain Range at 2,580 feet. Please come prepared for a strenuous 4.7-mile trek, wear appropriate footwear and dress for the weather. Remember, good hydration is just as important while hiking in wintertime as it is during the summer. We will begin at 9 a.m., and plan on finishing back at the lake by 1 p.m., just in time to observe (or participate) in the Polar Plunge. ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park.

First Day Hike at Morrow Mountain State Park. Morrow Mountain State Park, 49104 Morrow Mountain Road, Albemarle. 9 a.m. Free. Start the New Year 2017 off by joining a ranger for a hike along the Fall Mountain Trail. The hike begins at the Morrow Mountain Boat House Parking Lot. We will hike the 4.1-mile loop of the Fall Mountain trail. This hike is moderate and should take about two hours. Dress accordingly for weather and bring water. All children must be accompanied by an adult. If hike is canceled it will be posted on the Morrow Mountain State Park website. ncparks.gov/morrow-mountain-state-park.

First Day Hike at Haw River State Park. Haw River State Park, 339 Conference Center Drive, Browns Summit. 10 a.m. Free. This easy to moderate hike will lead first day hikers from the conference center down to the boardwalk and head waters area of the Haw River. We will continue from there through a mixed forest and wind our way back to the main lodge. We love having pets join us on our programs, but do ask that those walking dogs stay back in the line so those who aren’t as keen on dogs can stay towards the front. Meet at the main lodge at the Summit Conference Center. ncparks.gov/haw-river-state-park.

First Day Hike at Mayo River State Park. Mayo River State Park, 500 Old Mayo Park Road, Mayodan. 1-3 p.m. Come out to Mayo River State Park as we start the new year off with a First Day Hike. Take a stroll with the park ranger on the Mayo Mountain Ridge Trail. We will meet in the Picnic Area parking lot at 1 p.m. ncparks.gov/mayo-river-state-park.

First Day Hike at Stone Mountain State Park. Stone Mountain State Park, 3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap. 10 a.m. Free. Bring in the new year with a 3-mile, moderate First Day Hike past the Hutchinson Homestead, Black Jack Ridge and Cedar Rock. Bring shoes for hiking. Meet at the Lower Trail Head Parking Area. ncparks.gov/stone-mountain-state-park.

First Day Hike: Jomeokee Trail at Pilot Mountain State Park. Pilot Mountain State Park, 1792 Pilot Knob Park Road, Pinnacle. 2-3 pm. Free. Meet with a park ranger at the Summit Area display board located on the upper side of the Summit Area parking lot. We will be hiking along the Jomeokee Trail. During the hike we will be discussing the park’s history, geology, and the local flora and fauna. ncparks.gov/pilot-mountain-state-park.

First Day Hike: Mountain Trail at Pilot Mountain State Park. Pilot Mountain State Park, 1792 Pilot Knob Park Road, Pinnacle. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Learn about state park history, Pilot Mountain history and more. 6 miles round trip. Meet at the park office to hike the Mountain Trail. ncparks.gov/pilot-mountain-state-park.

Jan. 7 and 21

Tree Toss. Conservators Center, 676 E. Hughes Mill Road, Burlington. Noon-3 p.m. $24 per person. Tree Toss is the much-anticipated event that has become a tradition for our wild family. Each year, the friendly folks at Cranberry Tree Farm donate their unsold trees to the center, and we give them to our animals as a special form of holiday enrichment. They love the strong scent of the pine and scratchy textures. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be stationed throughout the grounds to tell you about our critters and answer your questions. conservatorscenter.org.

Jan. 7

Stargazing at SciWorks. SciWorks, 400 W. Hanes Mill Road, Winston-Salem. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Free. 336-767-6730. Join SciWorks and the Forsyth Astronomical Society for astronomy observation in the parking lot using professional telescopes. In case of bad weather, call 336-767-6730 after 5 p.m. for an update. sciworks.org.

Storytime at the Park. Fourth of July Park, 702 W. Mountain St, Kernersville. 10-10:30 a.m. Free. We’ll read stories, sing songs, dance around and color pictures together. For ages 8 and under. Parental supervision is required. Story time will take place in one of the covered shelters. In the event of snow or extremely low temperatures, story time will be canceled. forsythlibrary.org.

Jan. 8

River Walk. Deep Creek Market, 810 Deep Creek Church Road, Burlington. 1:30-3:30 pm. Free. 336-222-5135. Hike 4 miles total, Stoney Creek Marina to Carolina Mill. Get to know the Haw River! Section hike short segments of the 7.5 miles of completed trail through Burlington. These guided hikes are linear, out-and-back style trips. Expect natural surface trail and a moderate pace. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle. Hiking sticks optional. Dogs and kids (9+) welcome. Ages 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required. burlingtonnc.gov.

Jan. 16

Family Winter Hike. Piedmont Environmental Center, 1220 Penny Road, High Point. 10 a.m. $5. Join a Staff Naturalist for a winter day hike with your family on PEC’s forest trails and along the lakeshore. Participants will learn about native plants and animals through interpretive and interactive learning trail activities. We will also trace back the history of the PEC forest and High Point City Lake and their importance to the past and present. Bundle up and come out to explore the wonders of the natural world. For ages 7+. highpointnc.gov.

Treasure Camp. Piedmont Environmental Center, 1220 Penny Road, High Point. 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. $35 for PEC members; $45 non-members. 336-883-8531. On the school holiday, Treasure Campers at the Piedmont Environmental Center will learn how to use maps, compasses and GPS signal receivers while on a quest to find hidden treasures on the PEC trails. Campers need to bring a lunch, two snacks and a water bottle and should dress for the outdoor adventures and play. highpointnc.gov/pr.


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