The return of spring is the perfect time to get outside and check out what’s blooming across North Carolina. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross) and North Carolina State Parks announced today the return of Hike NC, the free hiking program that makes it easier to hike and enjoy nature regardless of age or experience level.
Hike NC’s spring season offers a series of more than 60 guided hikes across the state. Hikes give North Carolinians, who might otherwise be hesitant about exploring the outdoors, an opportunity to be active and focus on their health and well-being. Hike NC debuted in fall 2016, and is back due to overwhelming participation across North Carolina.
Hike NC makes hiking convenient and achievable for all North Carolinians. There’s something for everyone, with hikes designed for all ages, fitness levels and hiking experience. All hikes are free and led by a trained guide or park ranger. The guided hikes will help participants:
- Try a new form of physical activity individually, or with friends and family members
- Take a break from busy schedules to enjoy the natural wonders of North Carolina
- Experience spring beauty in North Carolina’s state parks and nature preserves
- Explore the outdoors with convenience and ease without the need for any special equipment
“Hike NC’s fall launch was a success, with more than 800 people across the state signing up for a guided hike,” said Kathy Higgins, Blue Cross’ vice president of Corporate Affairs. “We want North Carolinians to discover what spring has to offer on the trails with friends and family. Hike NC not only gets people outside and active, but allows them to explore their breathtaking state in a unique way.”
Hike NC is part of Blue Cross’ efforts to promote health and well-being among North Carolinians. Regular physical activity is shown to help control weight, improve mental health, increase stability and lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Spring hikes began in early March and run through mid-June. Residents can learn more about hikes in their area by viewing the full list at gohikenc.com. Visitors can find hikes by region and sign up for a hike that’s right for them, based on distance, time, location and level of trail difficulty. After people sign up online, they’ll simply need to show up, meet their guide and begin hiking.
Hike NC is a collaboration with leading hiking experts across the state. Guides from North Carolina State Parks will lead hikes and foster memorable experiences for hikers. Hike NC! is supported by North Carolina State Parks, Friends of North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Recreation & Park Association, Great Outdoor Provision Co., Mast General Store and GetGoingNC.com. Joe Miller, author, avid hiker and Chief Exploration Officer at GetGoingNC, will lead hikes as well.
“There’s nothing quite like experiencing spring up close in North Carolina,” Miller said. “As a seasoned hiker, I’m passionate about what the state has to offer, and Blue Cross’ Hike NC initiative continues to be a great way for residents to experience North Carolina’s full beauty.”
Hike NC is a continued campaign within Blue Cross’ broader Get Outside North Carolina! (GO NC!) program. GO NC! launched in 2012 to encourage North Carolinians to get outside and get active by creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation. As part of GO NC!, Blue Cross has helped:
- Launch the Hike NC initiative, with guided hikes across the state
- Launch North Carolina’s first bike-sharing program, B-cycle, in Uptown Charlotte
- Expand the art park at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh by adding a two-mile “Blue Loop” walking and biking trail
- Complete the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail that connects Wrightsville Beach to downtown Wilmington with a paved biking and running trail
- Add 1.4 miles of trails, additional outdoor learning space and a Walk of the Week educational program at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham
- Introduce PlayPrints, a series of colorful ground marking and game installations across North Carolina parks
- Fund the extension of the Middle Fork Greenway between Blowing Rock and Boone
Residents can join the Hike NC conversation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using #HikeNC.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute every year since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
 The Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/