Fall hiking favorites

We love hiking in the Fall! The leaves are starting to change color, it’s not blazingly hot, and it is significantly less bug filled, which we all find to be a plus. It’s really glorious this time of year:

It makes for fun hiking for us all:

And camping for the boys:

And I have to share my favorite Fall hiking gear:

This is really perfect for hiking at this time of year because it’s lightweight, but also provides a little extra warmth when it gets cool in the shade. J is in full on Under Armour which is his clothing of choice. My pants are NorthFace, my tank is Athleta, my pullover is Lily Pulitzer, and then my shoes are my standard trailblazer.

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Blevins Gap Nature Preserve

Nestled behind one of our local churches, this hiking preserve has three different trailheads ranging from very easy and family friendly, to much more elevated and advanced. Since we were testing it out for the first time we did the straightforward Jones Valley loop:

This little loop is a walk around a long stream.

It is only about a mile from start to finish and great for younger kiddos, or ones who love looking for rocks and minerals like J:

It’s beautifully shaded, and the light streams through the trees while you’re walking which is really fun to see:

At about the halfway point of the loop, there is a fork in the trail that takes you up an incline of the Bailey Cove Trail portion. In addition, at the very beginning of the trailhead is the Fanning trail which is a 3.8 mile trail that is a much steeper elevation. We were not prepared for that trail, but have plans to go back and do it in the future. All three are great hikes for the weekend!

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Bethel Springs Land Trust Hike

We are finally all moved in to spend several months with my parents while we wait for our new house to be completed. We almost feel at loose ends because there is no packing, or really anything that we have to do on the weekends. My sister and her family had gone on a hike a week ago and recommended it to us, so we set out on Saturday morning to try it out. Located off of Hwy 431 in Madison County are several trails at the Bethel Springs Nature Preserve. There is a little scenic loop at the start:

And then there are three trails, The Mill Trail, Fallen Sink Trail, and Carpenter Trail.

All of them lead toward one of the largest waterfalls in our area. The Mill Trail is the quickest to the waterfall as far as distance, but parts of it are very steep, so we took the slightly longer and slightly less steep Fallen Sink Trail & Carpenter Trail combination.

There is a lot of tree cover, so it helps to keep the temperatures slightly cooler, and the waterfall at the end was definitely worth the hike! It was about 2.5 miles from the bottom to the top of the waterfalls and back. To give you an idea of how steep it is my Apple Watch said I’d climbed 22 flights of stairs by the end of the hike.

Some of the things that are really helpful to have on hikes like this are B’s hiking backpack:

And hiking poles, even just having one for each of the boys makes a big difference in the descent from the top back down:

I wear Nike Pegasus trail runner shoes:

And the boys all have Merrell hiking shoes, except we realized when we were moving that both boys needed new boots. And then put that on our list to buy, and then didn’t buy, so I’ve now got it on my list. Their regular sneakers are fine, but the Merrell’s have better cushion and traction for the steeper hikes. I also love my adidas running shorts, and the Zella tank top because they are durable, but also light weight. I also love Athleta Powervita sports bras, which I have at least six of, and always buy when they are on sale.

We have plans to try to attempt the Mill trail in the future, when the boys have sturdier shoes, and the boys want to get closer to the waterfalls next time we go. You can go right underneath, but there were several groups there already and we wouldn’t have been able to keep a good distance. It was a fun way to spend our Saturday morning! To find out more about waterfall trails in the Madison County area there is a great post here.

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