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A Walk With Nature | By Allison Williams

08/01/2008 05:52PM ● Published by Anonymous

There’s nothing greener than foot power.

So strap on your boots and check out these trails. Though North Carolina boasts many of the country’s top trails, some of the hippest hiking can be found right here.

The All American Trail follows the boundary of Fort Bragg and offers front row seats to the best nature views in the Sandhills. The 11-mile trail includes a new 1,000-foot boardwalk across and beside Rockfish Creek. Run, walk or bike past more than 1,000 different types of plants and trees and 400 wildlife species, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

You can access the trail from two spots, Raeford-Vass Road, between Plank Road and U.S. 401 and west of Moll Lake and Upchurch Lake. The other is off Plank Road near the intersection with King Road and N.C. 211.

And that’s just the beginning – the trail will eventually circumnavigate the entire boundary of Fort Bragg and extend through Cumberland, Hoke, Moore and Harnett counties. Visit www.allamericantrail.org for details.

A river runs through it – literally. The Cape Fear River Trail is a paved path with spectacular views of the Cape Fear River. Visitors can begin their hike either at the Jordan Soccer Complex near Methodist University or Clark Park Nature Center, during its operating hours. Clark Park is located near the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. With restrooms at both ends and water stops along the way, this trail is for both hardcore hikers and those looking for a casual stroll. Visit www.fcpr.us/river_trail.php for details.

For another glimpse of the river, check out Harnett County’s new River Park in Erwin. The park features walking trails, river overlooks, a shelter and, best of all, an access point for canoes and kayaks. It’s part of the 100-mile Cape Fear Paddle Trail that ends in Wilmington.

But back to land.

City slickers, fear not, there is even a trail for you. The newest section of Linear Park opened in April. With views of downtown, this walking path meanders from the Cumberland County Library and along Cross Creek, offering views of the city’s most historic sites.

And for the more ambitious, we’d be remiss if we did not mention the grandfather of all trails, the Appalachian Trail. With its stunning mountain views, enthusiasts call this the “hike of a lifetime.” The North Carolina section of the trail offers nothing less. Visit www.appalachiantrail.org for details.

No green issue would be complete without mentioning one of the coolest green inventions, the Segway, the two-wheeled electric scooters, available at one of the state’s best trails.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located on 434 acres in Asheville and offers mountain peaks, a stream, gardens aplenty and trails. And yes, visitors can “glide through nature” by exploring the trails on a Segway. Visit www.ncarboretum.org for details.

Green and “green” – it doesn’t get any better.

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