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Hiking Essentials from Anna Claire Richardson

Apr 04, 2018

Whether you’re hitting the trail for a quick day hike or overnight adventure, The Cliffs’ Outdoor Recreation Manager Anna Claire Richardson shares her top tools you shouldn’t leave home without, as well as the best trails to hit this spring.


      Supportive trail shoes or hiking boots, moisture-wicking clothing and a compact day pack will keep you comfortable on a quick day hike. A just-in-case rain jacket or trekking poles are a great addition. Longer trips will require additional gear.
    • WATER
      Perhaps the most important item to bring along is plenty of water! It’s crucial you stay hydrated, whether you’ll be on the trail for a few hours or a few days. For shorter trips, an extra water bottle should do. Water treatment supplies are a must for longer backpacking trips.
    • FOOD
      A quick snack on the trail may give you the burst of energy you need to reach the summit — wholesome energy bars, nuts, dried fruits and jerky are great options. For extended backpacking trips, freeze-dried meals are an option, but may require additional cooking equipment.

      Whether a GPS-enabled device, classic compass or trail map, be sure to bring along some form of navigation.
      Even on a cloudy day or under the cover of trees, you’ll want to keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended for extended outdoor activity — and an SPF-rated lip balm and pair of sunglasses are always a good idea.

      Blisters from a new pair of boots, a scrape from a scramble — accidents sometimes happen on the trail. A simple first aid kit for day hikes should include adhesive bandages, disinfecting ointment and over-the-counter pain medication. Longer backpacking trips may require additional supplies.
    • CAMERA
      Whether a professional-grade digital camera, handy point and shoot or even your smartphone, you’ll want to bring a camera to catch spring’s blossoming wildflowers, rushing waterfalls and awe-inspiring views!


      This 3.7 mile out-and-back trail in Cleveland, SC visits a breathtaking 400-foot waterfall and features a suspension bridge over the falls at the hike’s halfway point. A 3-hour hike with a moderate difficulty, it’s a great way to explore this spring — in fact, Anna Claire is leading a group hike along this trail on Wednesday, April 11.

      Members of The Cliffs can register for the Raven Cliffs Falls hike here.

      Located just off the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway, this 5-mile loop allows for sweeping, panoramic views across bald mountaintops. Don’t forget your camera on this group hike on Wednesday, April 18!

      Members of The Cliffs can register for the Black Balsam Knob hike here.

      This hike in nearby Jones Gap State Park will combine the Pinnacle Pass Trail and Rim of the Gap Trail for a 6.2-mile hike with almost 2,500 feet of elevation gain! This strenuous, 4-hour hike on Monday, April 30 will pass picturesque streams, amazing lookouts and massive boulder and rock formations.

      Members of The Cliffs can register for the Pinnacle Pass hike here.


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