Have you ever considered hiking the whole state of NC? Did you even know it was possible? The Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) is a simple footpath that goes for almost 1,200 miles across NC from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks.
The MST — known as the highest elevation long-distance trail in the eastern US at Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet) — would take the average hiker three to four months to complete in total, without biking on greenways or paddling the Neuse River. If you don’t have that much hiking spirit or PTO left in 2020, we suggest checking out segment 10 and segment 11, which pass through Durham and Raleigh, respectively.
Distance: 77.6 miles
Type: all on trail, with a few incidental road sections
Difficulty: easy to moderate
With 22 day trails, ranging from one mile to seven miles, this segment is known for being surrounded by water, with the Eno River and Falls Lake intertwining with almost all of the trails offered.
Distance: 64.8 miles
Type: 37.5 miles on greenways or paved paths, 27.3 miles on road
Raleigh is full of an ever-growing greenway system. In this segment, a handful of trails correspond with Raleigh’s Horseshoe Farm, Milburnie Dam, and Anderson Point Park along the greenway system. Once you get to the end of the Raleigh trails, this segment will lead you to hikes in Clayton and Smithfield.
The Friends of the MST are celebrating the trail’s 43rd birthday this month, with some fun challenges to complete on the segment closest to you. Check out what they have in store for the rest of September here.