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Upcoming Fall Events in Area State & National Parks

 
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The Indian Summer we’ve been experiencing in the southeast is slowly coming to an end. As we continue to celebrate this Centennial Year of the National Parks, we offer a few suggestions for fall events for the whole family in these beautiful places. Our State and National Parks offer much to enjoy and explore the first weekend in October:

nps-fall-tn-1.jpgTENNESSEE
Grist Mill Demonstrations at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove is a broad valley surrounded by mountains in the Great Smokies. European settlers came to this region in the 1700s. Over the decades, settlers began growing grains that were ground in grist mills. Open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. now through October, and on weekends in November, visit the water-powered Cable Mill in Cades Cove or the turbine-powered Mingus Mill to see these grist mills in action. There’s more information HERE.

nps-fall-tn-2.jpgMonarch Butterfly Tagging at Seven Islands State Birding Park
Every fall, monarch butterflies fly south thousands of miles to winter in Mexico. How they know where to go and when to leave is still unknown. This Saturday, October 1st, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., bring your family and friends out to Seven Islands State Birding Park to help catch, tag, and release monarch butterflies with Steve McGaffin, Curator of Education at Zoo Knoxville. Learn about the life of this delicate and enduring butterfly while helping scientists learn more about their migration and conservation.

This is a free event, but donations are welcome. Donations will benefit Zoo Knoxville and the Friends of Seven Islands State Birding Park. Registration is required and spaces are limited. To register, e-mail smcgaffin@zooknoxville.org. The park is only 20 miles east of Knoxville, TN. For directions and more information, click HERE.
 

nps-fall-nc-2.jpgNORTH CAROLINA
Children’s Events at Hanging Rock State Park
Hanging Rock State Park has offered the best of a traditional outdoor experience since its creation by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Only 45 minutes north of Winston-Salem, the park is perfect for a full fall day (or weekend) of hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and fishing. Access to the Dan River is a favorite for paddlers, too.

Hanging Rock State Park is hosting a couple of events the kids will enjoy this Saturday, October 1st. From 11 a.m. until 11:45 a.m., the “Leave it to Beaver” event includes stops along the Upper Cascades Trail to learn about this champion of home-building. Feel a beaver’s lustrous fur, examine its skull, and discover the abilities of this aquatic genius.  The group will meet at the Upper Cascades.

And from 3 p.m. until 3:30 p.m., join an Assistant Park Ranger at the Lake Bathhouse to learn about the species in their waters and how to catch them.  Children are invited to try their hand at casting in a fun Backyard Bass game! The fun starts at the Lake Bathhouse. Click HERE for more information.


nps-fall-nc-1.jpgGrandfather Mountain Guided Centennial Hike in Banner Elk, NC
Grandfather Mountain has been an icon in North Carolina’s landscape for generations, offering stunning scenery and unmatched ecological diversity. This state park opens the mountain’s 2,456-acre backcountry to spectacular hiking and backpacking.

On Friday, September 30th from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., join a Park Ranger for a leisurely guided hike of the Profile Trail.  The hike will be approximately 2 to 3 miles in length and take approximately 2.5 hours. This program is appropriate for all ages, but pets should be left at home.  

Grandfather Mountain is only a handful of miles from Mast Original Store and Annex in Valle Crucis, NC and about 9 miles from the Boone Store. There’s directions and more information HERE.


nps-fall-sc-1.jpgSOUTH CAROLINA
Owl Prowl at Congaree National Park near Columbia, SC
This Saturday, October 1st, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., join a Park Ranger for an exciting evening walk along the boardwalk and learn about owls and other nocturnal creatures that call Congaree National Park home. You’ll also learn about the adaptations they’ve made that help nocturnal birds survive and thrive at night. To sign up for this tour, please inquire at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center on the day of the tour. Flashlights will be needed for this hike. The park has a limited number of flashlights, so it is recommended that participants bring their own. For more information, please call 803.776.4396 or click HERE.
 

nps-fall-sc-2.jpgFall Color Walk at Paris Mountain State Park
In a lower elevation, the leaves change a bit later at Paris Mountain State Park in Greenville, SC, but they’re no less brilliant. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 22nd, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a hosted leisurely walk to Mountain Lake. The music of Mountain Creek will accompany the group along the way as you identify leaves and investigate the reasons for their colors. Meet at Shelter 6 in the Sulphur Springs Picnic Area. The program is $7.00 per person. Admission to the park is waived, but registration is required. To register, email ctaylor@scprt.com, or call the park office at 864-244-5565. There’s plenty more information at the park HERE.