Ready, Set, (Winter) Hike in Burke County, North Carolina

Get geared up at CBS Sports then hit the (snowy) trails.
Excellent views! No snakes!

By Hope S. Philbrick

Whether you’re new to hiking or a trail blazer, when hiking in Burke County, North Carolina, take time to visit CBS Sports before stepping on the trails. The right gear can make that great experience even better.

Before heading out onto the Appalachian Trail last fall, I bought some hiking shoes. They provide a walking-on-clouds layer of cushion yet look like regular walking/running shoes—so much so that one elderly hiker I met on the AT took one look at my shoes and said, “You can’t walk in those! You need hiking boots!” Yet even after 30 miles, my feet felt about the same as they would have had I spent those three days sitting on my couch instead of hiking. Not so much for my hiking partner, the rebooted Jill Gleeson; her pink boots looked cute but she had to ice her feet every evening. Lesson learned: Never underestimate the value of proper gear.

At CBS Sports, Bryan Searcy is the man to help you get what you need. For nearly 30 years his CBS Sports has been the area’s largest independent retailer of sports apparel, athletic shoes, outdoor gear, kayaks and more; you can also rent seasonal equipment like cross country skis and snowshoes. CBS Sports sells the top name brands at the best prices around. “Usually, you have to be a larger retailer to carry these brands,” says Searcy. “But the reps let me do it because of my customer volume and the type of customers who are really serious about their sports.”

“For winter hiking one of the keys is to make sure that you have the right stuff,” says Searcy. “Hypothermia is a big deal here. It gets real cold real fast when the sun goes down. People have a tendency to get places they’re unprepared for, so we always ask them where they’re looking to go and make sure they know that it’s 20 degrees colder 30 minutes from here when you go up in elevation. We make sure people get the right stuff.”

In my case, since it had snowed seven inches the night before my planned hike and below-freezing temps left a layer of ice on the ground, that meant buying something I didn’t even know existed: Yaktrax. “There are three different styles,” says Searcy. For around $20 I grabbed the original walk version, which are like bungie cord cables to stretch over treads for added grip. Heftier options with little spikes and chains are also available.

You can also pick up trail maps and the new winter hikes brochure. Since he’s so familiar with the area, Searcy can also recommend trails based on your interests, skill level, weather conditions, gear, and hiking goals.

Winter hiking? No problem with the right gear! You wouldn’t want to miss the excellent views.








Among our favorite sightings: Several ice rings on the river. You definitely would not see these on a summertime hike!

@21plusTravel Tip: Weather in Burke County, N.C. is subject to change. You may or may not see snow on your planned winter hike. But in any weather, any time of year, you can enjoy excellent views. Several trail options are available with varying degrees of difficulty, length and skill/endurance requirements. Stop by the Visitors Center downtown Morganton for information: As one of the County’s new ad campaigns points out, staff members know much more about the area than Siri.

More Information…

CBS Sports
911 N. Green St.
Morganton, NC 28655

Discover Burke County

Visit North Carolina

– Photo Credits: Top image by Ed Phillips; remainder © HSP Media LLC

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HSP15Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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