August 11, 2013

Top Five Favorite Hiking Trails

Welcome to my first-ever blog! I hope you’ll enjoy “traveling” with me on my hiking adventures.

Along the way, I’ll explain how I got hooked on hiking, and why I recommend it to others—especially women of a certain age like me who wish to get or stay active, make new friends, and enjoy the bountiful natural beauty of our many parks and wilderness areas.

I’m an avid day hiker and love the anticipation, exhilaration, and therapeutic aspects of being in nature, even in the extreme temperatures of summer or winter.  Both seasons have their advantages, especially the beautiful vistas of winter and the gorgeous green shade of summer.

My favorite hikes include mountain tops, rivers, waterfalls, and scenery too dramatic for words. It’s tough picking favorites, but here are my “top five:” 

Number five:  The John Muir Trail along the Hiwassee River near Reliance, Tennessee.

The Childers Creek trailhead is a good place to start your hike. 

The river contains more species of fish than the entire Colorado River watershed.

This trail makes for a beautiful hike in the Fall.  Here is more information on the John Muir Trail along the beautiful Hiwassee River in Tennessee. 

Number four:  Blood Mountain near Suches, Georgia.

Blood Mountain is named after a native American battle (pre-white settlers) that was so vicious, the mountain ran red with blood, or so the story goes........

A beautiful vista awaits at the summit of Blood Mountain which is 30 miles from the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain.  It is the second highest peak in Georgia, and the highest in Georgia on the Appalachian Trail.  See here for more information on  hiking in the Blood Mountain Wilderness Area.  

Number three:  Walls of Jericho (Jackson County, Alabama) near Hytop.

The Walls of Jericho tract, purchased by the State of Alabama's Forever Wild Land Trust in 2004,  was made possible with the help of The Nature Conservancy.

In the late 1700's, Davy Crockett explored the area since his family owned land there.  A traveling minister came upon the Walls of Jericho in the late 1800's and was so captivated by the cathedral-like beauty that he declared it needed a biblical name and the name stuck. (Photograph courtesy of Beth Hemann.)

The Walls of Jericho is perfect for photographers.  Some unique flowers and trees include the yellow lady slipper, pink lady slipper, showy orchid, nodding trillium, smoke tree, yellow buckeye, and basswood.  Here is more information on the Walls of Jericho. (Photograph courtesy of Beth Hemann.)

Number two:  Little Hump and Big Hump Mountain on the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Highlands, North Carolina.

The hike from the Roaring Creek trailhead to the summit of Big Hump Mountain is a 9.2-mile "in and out hike" (round trip)  and is one of the best hikes for long range views that you can find. Here is more  information on locating the Roaring Creek trailhead. (Photograph courtesy of Beth Hemann.)

The summit of Big Hump Mountain is a great place to enjoy lunch and soak in the beautiful vista.  A friendly deer wanted to share lunch. (Photograph courtesy of Beth Hemann.)

The trail to Big Hump Mountain requires great stamina and endurance, but it is well worth the hike. Here is more information on hiking at Roan Mountain.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.)

Number one:  House O’ Dreams atop Lavender Mountain located on the campus of Berry College near Rome, Georgia.

Martha Berry's impressive mountaintop retreat built in 1922 by Berry students and staff as a gift to Miss Berry on the 20th anniversary of the school.  Here is more history on the House O' Dreams.  (Photograph courtesy of Leigh Callan.)

The Outhouse O' Dreams, designed and built in 2011 by the 1961 college class in honor of their 50th reunion. 

Goldfish pond is part of beautifully maintained gardens. (Photograph courtesy of Leigh Callan.)

Beautiful waterlilies atop the goldfish pond. 

Mountain Day, celebrated the first weekend in October, commemorates the birthday of Martha Berry, and the gardens are ablaze with colorful chrysanthemums.   Here is information about recreational use privileges at Berry College.  

I hope you've been inspired and motivated by my first-ever blog showcasing my "top five" favorite hikes.  Until next time, Happy Trails! 


  1. I knew House of Dreams would be #1. Always your favorite back in the day.....And how fitting the name! You always have had your lipstick handy! Love you now have a blog. Miss you and our walks when we solved the problems of the world......xoxo

    1. How could the House O' Dreams not be my favorite hike since that's where I fell in love with hiking and Berry is my alma mater! Miss seeing you too, and we can still solve the world's problems electronically! LOL

  2. Congrats on a beautiful first blog. Soon it will be a list of your top 5 paddles! See you soon. Leigh

  3. Thank you, Leugh, and I look forward to a few more paddles with you before it gets too cool. Have you ever done the Hiwassee River near Reliance, TN?

  4. I love your blog Barbara and you have done a wonderful job! Now aren't you glad I was taking so many pictures all the time to get a lot of those great shots of you!!! This is the best blog ever and love the "eats" part of it too!! Congrats on a great blog!!

    Your hiking partner in crime!!! LOL