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Long Trails of the Southeast

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Eight states, over 600 miles of long-distance hiking

This article profiles over 600 varied miles of long trails, from the cypress swamps of South Florida to the high mountains of North Carolina. Each offers its own beauty and challenges. The Wild Azalea Trail, the shortest of the trails at 26 miles, is Louisiana’s longest footpath. It will surprise visitors as it rambles over pine-covered hills into lush bottomlands where clear, sand-bottomed streams flow. Wetlands abound in these creek bottoms, locally known as bayous, where the cypress trees grow tall. The 41-mile Black Creek Trail of Mississippi runs along the course of the federally designated Wild and Scenic Black Creek, amid cypress swamps, by sugar-white sandbars, and through hardwood forests with amazingly large trees.

outdoor-visitors

Reduce your impact on other visitors

outdoor-visitorsReduce your impact on other visitors. Being friendly and outgoing toward other hikers and campers is a natural trait of backcountry visitors, but every visitor has a desired level of socialization or solitude. Around shelters or designated camp sites, share news of the day’s events with other groups, and enjoy the camaraderie fostered by a dry spot in a rainstorm, but remember to be respectful of others’ needs for cooking and sleeping space, and for a good night’s sleep.

Portable radios and tape players often disturb other visitors and wildlife. Technological “conveniences” such as cellular phones, GPS devices, etc. harms the integrity of the wilderness experience for many people. If you plan on using such items, do so unobtrusively and consider whether they contribute to the backcountry experience you are seeking, or instead cause you to miss elements of it.