Ten to Try: Trails, showcases ten spectacular trail experiences across North Carolina. Shown through the eyes of nature lovers, trail experts and outdoor equity advocates, the half-hour show on PBS will highlight the rich diversity of nature opportunities in the “Great Trail State.”
It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1973 North Carolina Trails System Act, which instituted a state system of scenic and recreation trails. North Carolina’s abundant trails offer a broad range of terrains, activities and natural beauty. Proving that there is truly an NC trail for everyone, Ten to Try: Trails takes you to ten scenic locations for hiking, biking, jogging, horseback riding, waterfall chasing and boating. Highlights include an exhilarating mountain bike ride in Cherokee, a peaceful hike along a historic speedway, a scenic climb up an iconic Appalachian peak and a paddleboarding excursion on the coast alongside dolphins, otters and wild horses.
1. Spearfinger at Fire Mountain Trails High atop Fire Mountain Trails in Cherokee lies Spearfinger, one of the fastest downhill mountain biking experiences in North Carolina. Longtime trail-riding friends Laura Blythe and Jeremy Hyatt, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, lead the way down the mountain.
2. Daniel Boone Scout Trail, Grandfather Mountain The majestic peak of Grandfather Mountain makes up one of North Carolina’s most iconic vistas, and the Daniel Boone Scout Trail is arguably the best route for hikers looking to climb to the top. The trail offers an abundance of biodiversity and scenic views the whole way up. Set off on the trail with local author and avid hiker Randy Johnson, who helped build and manage the mountain’s trails.
3. Three Waterfalls Hike, DuPont State Forest Nothing draws visitors to DuPont Forest like the beauty of its majestic waterfalls. Roughly four miles long, Three Waterfalls Hike is made up of a series of shorter trails and spurs that take you to every major cascade in the park. Leading the way is nature lover and outdoor equity advocate Vivianette Ortiz Caraballo, cofounder of Latinos Aventureros en las Carolinas, a Latinx hiking club.
4. Little Sugar Creek Greenway, Charlotte Charlotte is a city full of outdoor opportunity, and its Little Sugar Creek Greenway might just be the perfect urban trail. Popular with trail runners, hikers, bikers and birders alike, the popular footpath links neighborhoods from Uptown all the way to the South Carolina border. Take a jog with Charlotte native Kim Olige, a young man using exercise to mentor the next generation.
5. Uwharrie Trail The Uwharrie Trail is a well-marked, well-maintained Piedmont trail that runs just under 30 miles point to point. Seldom crowded and with several trailheads and campsites, it’s perfect for day hikes, overnights or extended thru-hikes. Hit the Uwharrie Trail with the Culture Queens, a group of local women who believe the outdoors should be accessible to everyone.
6. Occoneechee Speedway Trail, Hillsborough Nestled along the banks of the Eno River in a forest of pine and sycamore trees lies an oval-shaped dirt track that makes up one of the most unique trails in North Carolina. The Occoneechee Speedway Trail in the quaint historic town of Hillsborough offers visitors the perfect mix of exercise, nature and history. Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver is the perfect guide for this riverside stroll.
7. Roanoke River Paddle Trail Winding nearly 140 miles from Roanoke Rapids to the Pamlico Sound, the Roanoke River Paddle Trail offers boaters of all levels options from scenic day trips to multiday adventures. Overnight camping is easy thanks to 16 sleeping platforms along the route. Local outfitter Captain Heber Coltrain leads the way down this scenic river trail brimming with history, wildlife and natural wonder.
8. Rachel Carson Reserve Paddle Trail, Beaufort The Rachel Carson Reserve Paddle Trail lies just off the port city of Beaufort and offers up-close access to some of the most beautiful and biologically diverse areas in the state, from rich marine habitat to small islands abundant with wildlife. Explore the islands and coastal waters of the trail with reserve site manager Paula Gillikin of the NC Division of Coastal Management.
9. Sugarloaf Trail, Carolina Beach State Park North Carolina’s coastal trails may not get as much attention as those farther inland, but they have much to offer in the way of ecological diversity and natural beauty. The Sugarloaf Trail, a three-mile loop at Carolina Beach State Park, offers a great alternative to crowded beaches nearby. Join local coastal naturalist Cathy Meyer as she explores her favorite places along the trail.
10. Longleaf Pine Trail, Carvers Creek State Park The Longleaf Pine Trail is the longest out-and-back among the multiuse trail network at Carvers Creek State Park. Relatively flat and seldom crowded, it’s a great trail for hiking and mountain biking and the perfect route for an afternoon trail-ride for equestrians of all levels. Saddle up with equestrian and literacy advocate Caitlin Gooch as she sets off to discover the trail on horseback.
Ten to Try: Trails premieres Thursday, August 31, at 8:30 PM, on PBS NC, as well as online and on the PBS App. Ten to Try: Trails was produced in partnership with the Great Trails State Coalition and with generous support from the SECU Foundation. The program was produced in honor of North Carolina’s 2023 Year of the Trail initiative, the largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history.
Trail stories from the broadcast presentation and profiles of the people featured in the show will be shared on YouTube and the PBS App. In addition, PBS North Carolina welcomes all to a free virtual screening of the program and a community discussion on Tuesday, August 29, at 7 PM. Register for the event at Eventbrite.