It’s that time of year again. No…I’m not talking about the holidays or ski season. It’s winter hiking season! What?! You didn’t know about winter hiking? If you think winter means it’s time to hang up your hiking boots, store the pack away, and hibernate until Spring, you are missing out! Winter can be one of the best times of the year to hike if you are willing to brave the cooler temperatures. Minimal crowds, little to no insects, and fantastic views due to less foliage are just a few of the perks. It does require a little more research and few extra steps during the planning process but it is well worth it. And speaking of planning, you may be wondering where a great winter hike in Haywood County is since sections of Blue Ridge Parkway are often closed during this time of the year. Well, as always, we’ve got you covered here in the NC Smokies!
The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority recently announced a partnership with local certified naturalist and avid hiker, Ken Czarnomski on a very special hiking project. Ken recently released the Purchase Knob Hiking Guide which is available exclusively through the HCTDA. Purchase Knob is not only a perfect year-round hike, but a winter hiking highlight of Haywood County. And let me tell you, this is no ordinary hiking guide. It is truly a work of art as it was personally mapped, cataloged, and illustrated by Ken, which resulted in both a colorful and unique guide of Purchase Knob. So where did he get the inspiration for this special guide? Well, it started as a simple project to obtain his Blue Ridge Naturalist certification but quickly grew into a passionate venture to share his vision of a Haywood County hiking jewel, Purchase Knob. At first, Ken didn’t know exactly what path his final project would take but knew it had to encompass his three greatest passions: hiking, cataloging, and sketching. He also wanted to entice people to experience the natural wonder of Haywood County and so the Purchase Knob Hiking Guide was born.
Purchase Knob is a perfect winter hike due to its accessibility and the ability to cover a wide range of terrain and panoramas in a 4 hour or less hike. The guide not only provides a detailed map that doubles as a work of art, but also includes components not normally seen in other hiking guides. Not only will you find the necessary information such as directions and points of interest, but other highlights such as the Purchase Knob Symphony and local history of the area. The guide makes for a special experience that encourages hiking with ease while discovering the wondrous beauty of the North Carolina Smokies. So don’t hang your hiking boots up just yet! The guide is available exclusively at the HCTDA Visitor Centers and on our website: Purchase Knob Hiking Guide. And make sure you come back in the Spring and Summer because the butterfly and wildflower abundance is unlike anywhere else in the county. We look forward to seeing out on the trail and around Haywood County this winter. Happy Hiking, y’all!
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