Black Mountain Recreation and Parks offers annual fall hiking series
Black Mountain Recreation and Parks offers its annual fall hiking series beginning in October, leading participants on local hikes showcasing fall colors.
Outdoor programing began through the department during the pandemic, allowing people to get outside. This year's fall peak series will be the second year the program has run.
Clint Bowman, the recreation coordinator for the town of Black Mountain, said the color changing of the fall leaves is based on elevation. The program begins with hikes taking participants to higher elevations, around 6,000 feet, and gradually progresses to lower elevation hikes each week.
As the series runs into early November, the lower level leaves will change and the program will take hikers to elevations around 1,000-2,000 feet.
Each group holds a maximum of 15 participants to keep the hikes manageable and more readily able to follow COVID-19 safety measures, according to Bowman. At the start of each hike, the department conducts a brief check to ensure no hikers show signs of the virus or could have been exposed.
"Everyone meets at the recreation offices," Bowman said. "They get checked in, the masks are required, we do a COVID screening."
If a hiker registers a temperature of over 100.3 degrees, Bowman said they will not be allowed to participate. In a further effort to prohibit close contact, hikers will be given a map and directions to the trailhead rather than riding all together.
Regardless of vaccination status, if standing within 6 feet of one another, hikers will be required to wear masks.
Bowman said most hikers come from Black Mountain but with promotions of the hiking program throughout the past year, people come from all over the Asheville area and Fairview.
The hikes planned for the fall series, according to Bowman, are rated more moderate and strenuous than other hikes currently conducted by the department. He said the same location is rarely used more than once. The hikes in the fall peaks series range from 1-5 miles.
"A lot of them have ascents and climbs," Bowman said. "We try to mix it up all the time."
The fall hiking series is free to participants. For more information, visit the Black Mountain Recreation and Parks website or call 828-669-2052.