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Make hiking a family affair

From Georgia to Maine, outings celebrating Family Hiking Day will provide opportunities to explore the Appalachian Trail the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 26. 

• A 4.4-mile hike starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, along the Max Patch Loop in Haywood County will give participants a chance to hike the Appalachian Trail through open meadows and forest. RSVP to Jan Onan, 828.606.5188. Organized by the Carolina Mountain Club. 

• Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, a three-hour event at Standing Indian Picnic Shelter near Franklin will give families a chance to partake of hikes of varied lengths and difficulties, with refreshments and nature-themed fun activities thrown in. Pre-registration required with Paul Dyer, 828.347.6752. Organized by the Nantahala Hiking Club. 

• A full schedule of events will celebrate Family Hiking Day at Fontana Village Resort Saturday, Sept. 26. The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a guided hike and scavenger hunt on the A.T., with nature activities and crafts running concurrently through 2:30 p.m. The afternoon will include a lunch cookout starting at 11:30 a.m.; a presentation by the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club on Leave No Trace and trail maintenance at 12:30 p.m.; a birds of prey program with Balsam Mountain Trust’s Michael Skinner at 1 p.m.; a guided hike on the Llewellyn Cove Nature Loop Trail at 2:30 p.m. and a pair of “what did you learn today?” sessions at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.

Free, with pre-registration required. 828.498.2103. Organized by SMHC, Fontana Village Resort and the town of Fontana Dam.

Family Hiking Day is part of National Public Lands Day. All participants will receive a pass good for one free entry to a participating public land any time over the next year.

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