Mountains To Sea Trail Celebrates 42nd Anniversary

The mountains so sea trail (MST) begins at the iconic Clingmans Dome observation tower.

The mountains so sea trail (MST) begins at the iconic Clingmans Dome observation tower.

Mountains To Sea Trail Celebrates 42nd Anniversary. The 42nd anniversary of North Carolina’s the Mountains-to-Sea Trail celebrates with some 33 planned group hikes.

Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail invite interested parties, of all skill levels, to participate in one of 33 group hikes in 27 trail towns across the North Carolina beginning Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 8. Hikers (or walkers) can choose any of one -12 mile hikes which traverse all types of terrain (rated from easy to strenuous) scheduled from Cherokee to Nags Head. Hikers can opt for the closest trail or venture to another area of North Carolina and explore.

Chuck Millsaps, president of the Great Outdoor Provision Co., the exclusive sponsor of the MST Birthday Hike, was quoted as saying, “We are thrilled to see so many communities hosting hikes across the state as we celebrate the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Its fun to send folks out on the trail then hear their hike stories the next time they stop by.” Great Outdoor Provision Co. is a North Carolina-based outdoor equipment and clothing retailer, with nine stores across the area.

 According to Wikipedia, this long-distance hiking and backpacking trail, established in 1977, will connect the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks by weaving a thread of interconnected trails. A little more than half the trail is complete in multiple segments across the state. Sometime, in the near future, you can step on MST at Clingman’s Dome and many, many miles later dip your weary toes into the waters of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Mountains To Sea Trail offers a wide variety of terrain to explore!

The Mountains To Sea Trail offers a wide variety of terrain to explore!

MST’s western point begins at Clingman’s Dome, connects to the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and culminates at its eastern end point in Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the tallest sand dune on the east coast, according to information provided by Wikipedia. The trail’s architects designed the route to connect as many trail systems and scenic areas as possible. Granted official land-based unit status of the state park system on Aug. 2000, MST has expanded to cover some 691 acres in three tracts and 87 acres in conservation easements. Each of these tracts is leased to local governments for management as nature parks, under the guidance of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR). The vast majority of the foot trail is located on lands not directly managed as part of a state park unit. The trail is a part of the North Carolina State Trails System, which is a section of NCDPR, and as of January 2019, 669 miles of trail has been designated as a part of the MST by NCDPR. The segments of MST along the Blue Ridge Parkway were designated as National Recreation Trail in 2005.The MST has the distinction of being the highest elevation long-distance trail in the eastern United States as it crosses Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet.

Betsy Brown, outreach manager for the Friends of MST, was quoted as saying “This will be a great opportunity to explore North Carolina’s natural beauty with the help of hike leaders who have extensive local knowledge of the trail and area attractions.

Those hikers who want to push their mileage and also raise funds to support the Friends’ work on the MST can do the 42-Mile Challenge. Hikers will trek 42 miles on the trail near Blowing Rock raising $10 for each mile hiked. Or hike wherever and however long you like over the weekend and share your hiking tales on the Friends website.

Detailed information about all the hikes may be found at MSTHIKE.

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