Five-Star Trails: Raleigh and Durham is a guide to the best day-hiking trails within a two-hour drive of the urban areas of Raleigh and Durham. Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital and an anchor for the state's famous Research Triangle that includes Durham and Chapel Hill. Amid this metropolitan complex that also embraces Cary, Apex, and Wake Forest—home to more than 1.7 million people—the author leads readers to myriad places for scenic beauty, to sites of historic significance, and to neighborhoods that showcase the charms of urban life.
All of the routes stay true to the book's "Five-Star Trails" title, based on the book series' rating system for scenery, trail condition, suitability for children, difficulty level, and solitude. To be selected for the book, each trail must truly shine in one or more of those areas while, at the same time, all of the trails combine to offer diversity for a wide range of hikers. Thus, this is the guidebook for a hiker seeking an arduous climb to a scenic overlook as much as it is for a weekend walker who wants an easy trail for his or her family.
Joshua Kinser is a writer and musician based in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, east of Raleigh-Durham, but he spends much of his free time anchored in the Research Triangle that he covers in this book. He grew up on the beaches of Pensacola, Florida, and developed a passion for the outdoors and hiking during the many summers he spent backpacking in North Carolina. His love of travel and enthusiasm for new experiences has led him to some of the coolest jobs in the world. They include travel writing for magazines and guidebooks, exploring national parks and forests as a backcountry wildlife biology research technician, and professional drumming in cruise ship bands.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Montana's Glacier National Park, and the forests surrounding Yosemite National Park count among his job sites. His cruise-ship gigs have taken him to Caribbean islands, Australia, Japan, China, New Zealand, Borneo, and South Korea.
Joshua wrote Moon Handbook’s Guide to the Florida Gulf Coast, 3rd edition, and he has published more than 200 articles online for websites such as Trails.com, Ehow, and USA Today Travel. He has worked as a staff writer for Gannet with the Pensacola News Journal, and has contributed to publications that include Sail, Times of the Islands, Bonito and Estero, and Northwest Florida Business. He earned a degree in journalism from Pensacola State College in December 2010.