Best Easy Day Hikes Charlotte  by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Best Easy Day Hikes: Charlotte Guide Book

by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Charlotte  by Jennifer Pharr Davis
Best Easy Day Hikes Charlotte includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for twenty easy-to-follow hikes in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metropolitan region. Discover historically significant and ecologically diverse routes in Piedmont's rolling hills and forests- from trails that take you past 200-year-old homesteads and abandoned mine shafts to a Revolutionary War battlefield and a Native American Trading Route.

© 2010 Jennifer Pharr Davis/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Charlotte" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 20.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 20.

The Historic Lake Haigler Trail at Anne Springs Close Greenway is a sampler of everything that makes Charlottearea hiking so fantastic. The trail starts by traveling through open pastures and beside a 200-year-old homestead. It then traces the route of the Nation Ford Road, which today leads over a swaying suspension bridge to the ASC Nature Center and then continues to Lake Haigler, where it circumvents the water on a wonderful self-guided nature walk.
Fort Mill, SC - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: Various
The easy accessibility, medium length, and moderate terrain of the Mill Loop make it a favorite “after-work” hike within the Charlotte region. Part of the Anne Springs Close Greenway, the urban Mill Loop starts at the Leroy Springs Recreation Complex and contours the woods past local neighborhoods. The midway point of the hike passes the reconstructed Webb Gristmill and then hedges Fort Mill Elementary and Middle Schools before returning through a tunnel to the recreation complex.
Fort Mill, SC - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4.6
The Badin Lake Loop is located to the east of Charlotte in the northern portion of Uwharrie National Forest. The trail is valued for its wealth of undeveloped shoreline, which provides picturesque views for hikers and undisturbed homes for wildlife. The mostly level trail contours the shoreline and then ventures into the diverse Uwharrie Forest, where it weaves through a variety of vegetation before returning to Badin Lake and concluding along its banks.
Badin, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.6
This path leads to the summit of Crowders Mountain and, on a clear day, to views of the Charlotte skyline. Following the Crowders Trail to the ridgeline, you’ll enjoy a gradual ascent through a hardwood forest before ascending a challenging set of stairs to the top of the mountain. Leaving the overlook, the Rocktop Trail travels over several boulder scrambles before descending back down to the visitor center. In 1970 strip mining and drilling threatened many of the mountains within North Carolina’s Piedmont, including Crowders Mountain. Gaston County residents joined forces and began the Gaston County Conservation Society to protect and preserve the mountain. They succeeded in blocking excavation attempts by convincing the state to purchase the property for a state park.
Kings Mountain, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
This hike leads to rocky Kings Mountain Pinnacle—at 1,705 feet, the highest point overlooking Charlotte. The Pinnacle Trail begins with a gradual incline but becomes more challenging as it continues up the spine of Kings Mountain and concludes with a heart-pounding ascent to the summit. A small rock scramble will allow you to explore the pinnacle and its views. An easy return on the Turnback Trail contours a shaded stream back to the parking lot.
Kings Mountain, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
What the Jetton Park pathways lack in mileage, they make up for in adventure. The trail system passes by a maintained garden, restored barn, lookout point, swimming beach, and playground—making it a great option for the young or the young at heart. Families with young children or strollers will appreciate the level terrain throughout Jetton Park. If you are craving a lakeside walk but don’t have private access to Lake Norman or the time to travel outside Mecklenburg County to Lake Norman State Park, then Jetton Park can provide a scenic and convenient option. The hiking paths feature smooth surfaces with flat terrain, and the park amenities can turn a short jaunt into a half-day adventure. Although the park boasts both paved and dirt paths, the hike described here attempts to follow predominantly dirt trails as it passes Jetton Park’s most popular attractions.
Cornelius, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
This hike starts and ends at the historic Kings Mountain Battlefield. The path begins by climbing several small hills that surround the battlefield before reaching a valley and contouring a small creekbed. Leaving the valley, there is a gradual climb to the ridgeline that leads to the summit of Browns Mountain. After taking in the views and the historical magnitude of the surrounding landscape, you’ll backtrack to the Kings Mountain Battlefield.
Kings Mountain, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.5
This hike passes through Kings Mountain National Military Park and Kings Mountain State Park. It starts beside the Kings Mountain Battlefield but soon finds its way to the banks of bubbling Clarks Creek. After caressing the creek’s shoreline, the trail climbs into a mixed hardwood forest and weaves its way to the amenities of Kings Mountain State Park, which include a picnic area and seasonal aquatic opportunities at Lake Crawford. This is a great hike to enjoy in the hot summer months due to its shaded path and frequent proximity to water. If it is not unbearably hot and you want to add difficulty to the hike, consider completing the adjoining 1.5-mile paved Battlefield Trail at the start or finish of your hike. Whether or not you decide to tackle the Battlefield Trail, be sure to check out the historical displays in the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center when you register your hike.
Kings Mountain, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
This path makes a loop within the borders of Lake Norman State Park. It meanders 5.2 miles—primarily along the shoreline of Lake Norman—and offers stunning views of the remote northern portion of the lake. Following a wellmaintained, well-marked trail, the hike is pleasant yet offers a nice challenge with its brief but frequent up-and-down climbs. Covering more than 32,750 acres and with 520 miles of shoreline, Lake Norman was formed in 1964 when Duke Energy completed construction on the Cowans Ford Dam across the Catawba River. The dam was put in place to generate electricity for the Charlotte area and aid in the Queen City’s industrialization and growth skyrocketed.
Troutman, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
There are so many terrific short loops at Latta Plantation, it is hard to pick a favorite. This hike features the four best loops at the plantation—split into two separate figure-eight formations. Enjoy the hardwood forests on the Beechwood and Treasure Tree Trails before taking a short 1-mile car shuttle to embrace the Mountain Island Lake shoreline on the Audubon and Cattail Trails. There are four hiking circuits at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve measuring 1 mile or less that can be enjoyed together or as separate hikes. The itinerary here gives a description of each trail and a way to combine the paths if desired. All four hikes described below—especially the Audubon Trail—are great for young children. The first figure eight starts at the back of the horse trailer parking lot and combines the Beechwood and Treasure Tree Trails.
Huntersville, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
The Mountain Island Lake Trail at Latta Plantation offers both beauty and variety. The hike starts at the center of the preserve and passes over rolling terrain and beside the equestrian facility on its journey to the rocky shoreline of Mountain Island Lake. Leaving the waterfront, the path turns inland and travels through recovering farmland before retracing its route back to the heart of the plantation.
Huntersville, NC - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6.1
McAlpine Creek Park is a wonderful place for the urban hiker to explore level dirt trails and granular greenways that weave through wooded areas, along a creek, and past two park ponds. The suggested 7.0-mile route allows hikers to meander around the McAlpine Cross-Country Course and then venture to the southeast portion of the greenway before exploring the adjoining Cottonwood Nature Trail on the return route.
Matthews, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 7
This path follows some of the best short circuit walks at McDowell Nature Preserve. From the nature center the path follows an inland trail to a beech forest before finding a small stream and winding its way to the shoreline of Lake Wylie. After traveling along a peaceful cove, the trail leads back to the visitor center to conclude the hike.
Lake Wylie, SC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
The Fall Mountain Loop at Morrow Mountain State Park offers a surprising amount of variety in a 4.1-mile hike. The trail starts at the Yadkin River and gently climbs up the Fall Mountain ridge to reveal views of the neighboring mountains and Lake Tillery. The path then eases its way back down to Falls Dam and concludes with a peaceful river walk along a dirt track and over wooden boardwalks. The Fall Mountain Loop is a well-marked trail that is moderate in difficulty and above average in variety. The start of the trail coincides with the trailhead for the 0.8-mile Three Rivers Trail, which can be a nice warm-up loop and add a bit of mileage to your hike.
Badin, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.1
The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail, located at the heart of Morrow Mountain State Park, is a short hike that offers both a physical challenge and a great reward. After a short but challenging climb, the trail follows the ridge of Sugarloaf Mountain to reveal views of Morrow Mountain, Fall Mountain, and the neighboring Uwharrie National Forest before descending quickly back to the trailhead. One of the best ways to scope out the park is to hike the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail and survey the territory that lies beneath Fall Mountain and along the banks of the Pee Dee River. The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is a loop with a 0.1-mile stem. Travel the loop clockwise for a more gradual grade to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Badin, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
The hike at Reed Gold Mine will captivate the imagination of visitors young and old. The historic adventure starts with an underground journey through a mine tunnel and then climbs a gentle hill to the remains of a nineteenth-century engine house. Next the trail follows informative markers beside a creek to the mine’s working stamp mill and several open mine shafts before looping back to the visitor center. Reed Gold Mine has been closed to commercial mining for more than a hundred years, yet a wealth of history and natural beauty remain available at the historic site. Located amid the cotton fields of Cabarrus County, Reed Farm was once home to John Reed and his family. In 1799 Reed’s young son was playing in the creek and found a large shiny stone.
Locust, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
This path follows the perimeter of Reedy Creek Nature Preserve and features a short out-and-back to the historic Robinson Rock House Ruin. To start, the trail skirts Dragonfly Pond and then joins the Sierra Loop Trail, where a side trail takes you back in time to the remains of one of Charlotte’s first homesteads. Journeying away from the ruins, the route passes large hardwood trees and smooth boulder fields before concluding at the nature center.
Harrisburg, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
This hike explores Ribbonwalk Urban Forest, a 200-acre natural jewel near the heart of downtown Charlotte. The start of the trail skirts the Ribbonwalk forest wetlands and wanders through the woods to a covered bridge. After exploring the open meadow past the bridge, the trail weaves through a treasured grove of beech trees more than a hundred years old and then passes beside an active beaver habitat before returning to the trailhead through a hardwood forest.
Charlotte, NC - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
The U.S. Whitewater Center is an urban playground for the outdoor enthusiast. There are numerous activities and amenities to keep you occupied and entertained for an entire day—or more. The center boasts more than 13 miles of trails for hikers, including the scenic North Trails Loop, which follows moderate terrain beside the perimeter of the center before contouring the Catawba River back to the trailhead. The U.S. Whitewater Center is to the outdoor enthusiast what Disney World is to a young child. Opened in August 2006, the center offers a climbing tower, zip line, challenge course, multichannel whitewater river, eco-caching adventures, bike rentals, and yes—hiking trails. To begin the scenic North Trails Loop, start from the green flags in the parking lot and hike downhill on the gravel trail.
Mount Holly, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4
Traveling out and back from the southern terminus, the path leads you past small streams, through green mountain laurel tunnels, and along rockstrewn ridges. This small portion of the Uwharrie Recreation Trail provides the feel of true wilderness and will leave you yearning to hike more of the trail.
Badin, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4.6
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