Enjoy the Outdoors!

The outdoors can provide a much-needed respite and breath of fresh air during this period of self-isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. It can also provide an important way for kids to experience something new and enriching during a sudden bout of homeschooling.

Most green spaces and trails remain open in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area at this time — check out our previous blog for the most up-to-date information. AWARE, the Flat Rock Archives, and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit are closed to the public as of the time of writing, as are the Nature Centers at Arabia and Panola Mountains. However, the parks remain open to visitors. 

We remind all visitors to practice social distancing and frequent handwashing in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines from the CDC. And, as always, stay home if you are sick. 

Here are a few ways to get outside, enjoy the NHA, and feel better while you do it. 

1. Take a walk.

Trails throughout the National Heritage Area, including the 33+-mile, paved Arabia Mountain PATH trail, remain open and provide a wonderful way to get outside. Take a stroll, jog or bike ride through rolling hills, peaceful forests and along otherworldy monadnock ecosystems. 

2. Try out geocaching. 

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that guides you to “caches” hidden across the landscape. All you need is a smartphone and a sense of curiosity. Learn more here.

3. Monadnock Madness is still going on – and you can still earn your hiking prizes.

 Although the outbreak has forced us to cancel most guided events, you can still “Hike as you Like” to earn the Monadnock Madness bandanna and prize button. Start your adventure here.

4. Earn your Junior Ranger Badge.

You can earn your Junior Ranger badge and discover more about the history and nature of the National Heritage Area by completing our Junior Ranger Booklet. You can learn more and start your Junior Ranger journey here.

5. Try out bird watching!

Birds thrive throughout the National Heritage Area, and going on a quiet walk by yourself or with a few family members is a great way to see them. Start out at Vaughters’ Farm or the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Center and wander the trails, looking for birds. Binoculars are helpful, but not necessary. Check out Atlanta Audubon Society’s Bird List for all the birds you might see.

6. Sit quietly and meditate.

Nature can provide a respite, especially as current events feel so hectic. As you hike, stop to reflect for a moment and listen to the sounds of wildlife around you. Breath deep and enjoy the outdoors.