Where WithersRavenel Employees Love to Hike – WithersRavenel

Where WithersRavenel Employees Love to Hike

Where WithersRavenel Employees Love to Hike

Put on your boots, grab your backpack and fill up your water bottle. It’s Nov. 17, National Take a Hike Day. To celebrate, WithersRavenel workers are sharing some of their favorite hiking spots – not only in North Carolina and nearby states, but across the nation and around the world.

North Carolina hikes

Devin Owen, Utilities Staff Professional:

Gorges State Park – Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls

I grew up right next to Gorges State Park in Transylvania County, the wettest county in all of North Carolina.  This translated into gorgeous waterfalls and fun day hikes on the trails.  Also, if you’re like me and see hiking as a chance to escape from society, try visiting these spots outside of peak tourism months.

DuPont State Park – Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls

DuPont is also located in Transylvania County and is frequented by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders alike.  Also home to gorgeous waterfalls, DuPont was once home to the DuPont company, which formerly employed a large portion of the community (including my grandfather).  When DuPont decided to close its doors, it sold the land to the state to create the park.  One claim to fame is that Triple Falls was in the first “Hunger Games” film.

Pisgah National Forest – Black Balsam Knob, Devils Courthouse, Looking Glass Rock, etc.

Pisgah National Forest is home to too many amazing places to name.  One of my favorites is a hike along the Art Loeb Trail to Black Balsam Knob.  From here you are looking over the Blue Ridge Parkway and can see for 50+ miles in all directions (depending on visibility).  Another quick hike off the Parkway is to walk up to the Devils Courthouse overlook (named after Cherokee folklore).  Looking Glass Rock rises thousands of feet above Pisgah National Forest and can be accessed by hiking the trailhead or climbing one of the marked rock-climbing routes.

Lindsay Thomas, GIS Project Manager:

White Pines Nature Preserve, Sanford

It has biodiversity not typically found in this part of the country, and is very family-friendly.

Joe Boyd, Utilities Project Manager:

Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach

Nice trails that run along the IntraCoastal Waterway. You can see work that we have been part of in the park including campsite upgrades, RV sites, cabins and updated bathrooms.

Other good choices: Belville Riverwalk and Brunswick Nature Preserve

Mark Brown, Senior Geologist:

Umstead Park, Cary

While in our Cary office, I spent countless weekend hours hiking the “Glenwood side” of the park.

Piedmont Environmental Center, High Point

A surprise park in the Triad, connected to the Greensboro greenway system.

Other good choices: Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock State Parks

Brandon Inscore, GIS Manager:

Upper and Lower Pond Creek Trail at Beech Mountain

The Upper Pond Creek Trail is a gradual slope path that meanders along Pond Creek.  It is great for younger kids.  The Lower Pond Trail is a bit more intense with rushing water and waterfalls.

Justin Richardson, GIS Technician:

Appalachian Trail: Carvers Gap to 19E (NC and Tenn.)

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016, and this was my absolute favorite stretch in the South. Amazing balds and wonderful views.

Clark Maness, Utilities Project Manager:

Grandfather Mountain Profile Trail

Challenging day hike and best views and scenery for a hike in North Carolina.  My first “big” hike.

Keith Pugh, Client Success Manager:

A smorgasbord

I’ve enjoyed knocking out portions of the Mountains to Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway since moving to the Asheville area. Craggy Garden Overlook, Mount Mitchell, Pisgah Inn, Buck Springs Lodge, Pinnacle, Black Balsam, Graveyard Fields, Rough Ridge, Linville Gorge, Beacon Heights, Waterrock Knob and many others. I love it all (in truth, I love the higher elevation hikes due to vegetation and the very unique smells of 5,000+ elevations).

I also enjoy my time on the AT: Max Patch, Beauty Spot, Camp Creek Bald, Blackstack Cliffs, Roan Mountain, Grayson Highlands and many others…..

And, I always enjoy my hikes when training for the Trailblaze Challenge (Make A Wish): Hanging Rock State Park, Pilot Mountain State Park, Doughton Recreation Area, Rock Castle Gorge, South Mountains State Park, The Foothills Trail, Twin Falls, Hot Springs….

Virginia and Tennessee

Casey Dolan, Utilities Staff Professional:

Dragons Tooth, Catawba, Va.

I liked this spot because the view was gorgeous, the hike was moderate so my family could all do it together, it’s part of the Triple Crown in Virginia, and it’s a part of the Appalachian Trail, so we got to meet a few through hikers!

Nichole Howell, Utilities Senior Project Coordinator:

Rainbow Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County, Tenn.

It’s about 6 miles out-and-back straight up a mountain the whole way through the forest. It was so neat experiencing the different fauna as we ascended higher and higher and the eerie areas that had been involved in a big fire several years prior. There were a lot of stream crossings as we switched back and forth with what I lovingly called “danger bridges” they use in the Great Smoky Mountains Park – fallen trees made into bridges where one side has a handrail and the other side allows for easy access to tumble down the mountainside if you’re not careful.

Abrams Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Blount County, Tenn.

About 5 miles out and back with a great waterfall and swimming hole at the end. We spent about an hour swimming and snacking. The only way in and out is via Cades Cove, a slow moving, one-way scenic 11-mile loop drive.

Clark Maness, Utilities Project Manager:

Grayson Highlands State Park, Va.

Beautiful scenery, stunning views, wild ponies, and best place for a beginning backpacker.


Hiking across the U.S. and around the world

Justin Richardson, GIS Technician:

Appalachian Trail: White Mountains / Presidential Range in New Hampshire

My other favorite part of the Appalachian Trail. Probably the most difficult portion of the trail, but also likely the most beautiful and panoramic. If you can’t hike the entire stretch, this is a place to see.

Lester Armstead, Senior Resident Project Representative:

Saddleback Mountain in Maine

Lester has hiked hundreds of miles on the Appalachian Trail, from down south to Maine.

Clark Maness, Utilities Project Manager:

Rocky Mountain National Park, Long’s Peak, Colorado

Challenging 14,000-footer.  Stunning views.  Early morning alpine starts.

Bryce Gardner, GIS Technician:

Check out the out-of-this-world view from Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in Hawaii.

Todd St. John, Utilities Project Manager:

Near Monkey Bay on Lake Malawi in Malawi