The guide includes maps and tips for the best hikes for children, seclusion, history lovers and scenery. Kinser, of Chimney Rock, is a writer, musician and wildlife biology field technician for the U.S. Forest Service. He’s been in the backcountry of Florida, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Montana’s Glacier National Park, and in California’s National Forest lands surrounding Yosemite National Park.
Kinser took time from his travels to answer a few questions about Charlotte-area trails. The Latta Plantation in Huntersville was the first trail he hiked for the book.
You’ve been on some pretty adventurous hikes. How does an experienced hiker get excited about trails through Charlotte when there aren’t really mountains here?
I love the diversity of landscapes that you can find around Charlotte.
Actually, the mountains are a lot closer than most Charlotteans think. South Mountains State Park is just an hour’s drive from west Charlotte, and it is one of my favorite parks in western North Carolina.
In this book, I took special care to cover the best trails that the Charlotte region has to offer. I love hiking in Charlotte, because you can spend the morning on a beautiful greenway trail that cuts through the heart of this modern city, then have lunch and hike on a mostly level trail that skirts Lake Norman at Jetton Park, and then end the day hiking to a 60-foot high waterfall at South Mountains State Park where you feel like you are in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.
How much sweat equity went into writing “Five-Star Trails: Charlotte?”
I hiked every single trail in this book and many more trails, as well. There were a lot of trails I hiked and mapped and wrote about, but then they just didn’t make the cut. They just didn’t stand up to the 32 trails that I included in the book.
When I write books, I want to take readers on a journey. This is about presenting the complete picture of a place to the reader, and in this case, this is the trail.
The guide features Lake Norman’s Latta Plantation. What makes that trail memorable?
Latta Plantation was the first trail that I hiked for this book.
I had hiked it before, but when I hike while I am writing a guidebook, I have to take it slower. It was nice to rediscover this hike at a slower pace and really have the chance to explore the plantation preserve like it was my first time there.
It was a great place to start because the trail covers so many different landscapes and is such a great example of what the Charlotte area has to offer.
What is the most beautiful trail in the Charlotte region?
A special trail to me in its unique and astounding beauty is the Falls Mountain Trail in Morrow Mountain State Park. I love the tranquility and the peacefulness that you can find in particularly beautiful wilderness, and the Falls Mountain Trail has that perfect combination of natural beauty, solitude, physical challenge, and a changing landscape that keeps you engaged and amazed from the minute you step foot on the trail to the second you drive out of the park. I could hike that trail everyday and never get tired of it.
About the book
“Five-Star Trails: Charlotte” by Joshua Kinser
ISBN 978-0-89732-888-3 –October 2012 –$15.95
Trade paper –240 pages
– Justin Vick