Hiking may conjure up images of long days – or even months – alone in the woods with heavy packs and clunky boots. Truth is, a great hiking experience is as close as the many Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation greenways and nature preserves, no heavy packs required. We know a few friends who’ve spent time on the trail, so we asked them for some of their favorite hiking spots!
Christine Tarlton, Jesse Brown’s
Latta Plantation is one of my favorites! It’s location is great for me in North Charlotte. I take the dog hiking there often. She loves to swim in the lake and check out the horses we pass on the trail. It’s the perfect little slice of nature to get in an hour hike without a drive. I’m lucky to have the Mallard and Clark’s Creek greenway complex run through my neighborhood. We take daily walks there and my husband enjoys running on the paved trail without worrying about cars. A great place to get some fresh air and say “hi” to a neighbor!
Ed Barnhart, Greenways for Mecklenburg Foundation
My favorite is my “local” greenway, McMullen Creek. From the trailhead off highway 51 I have approximately six miles to enjoy with my neighbors in the pleasant shade of this beautiful trail. I can travel all the way to Rea Road and get a coffee, pastry or even some groceries before I make my way back to the start. This particular greenway provides one of the only natural surface paths in the County system and I can exercise in the serenity of nature. I also find this path to be cooler and believe me, even a couple of degrees in the scorching heat of a Charlotte summer can make a difference.
Ginni Lane, Blue Blaze Brewing
Charlotte is home to many beautiful greenways, all unique in their own right. My favorite has to be the Irwin Creek Greenway that connects West End to Uptown. This particular greenway features spectacular views of the city skyline, a little free library, and large trees that keep the walkway shady and cool. Another great perk is the brewery at the end! I use this greenway 2-3 times a week for walking my dog, bike riding, and jogging.
Rich Daileader, NC Outward Bound board member
Colonel Francis Beatty. It’s close to my house, and I can get off the roads and onto the trail with my dog. The trail here is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop that circles the lake and then some. The trail here is perfect for hiking, walking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Yes, you can bring your leashed dog, and respect other trail users along the way.
Chris Elkins, Owner, Run For Your Life – University
Mallard Creek, Clark’s Creek and Toby Creek Greenways. Mentally, it’s so nice to run in the woods and away from the noise of cars and traffic. It’s flat. In Charlotte, we runners deserve an easier elevation workout every now and then. It’s safe from driveways, broken sidewalks, and other safety hazards of neighborhoods and subdivisions. It’s super easy to get to with multiple points of entry along Mallard Creek, Prosperity Church, the research park area, and UNCC. And shade. Summers are hot here you know. Most of the greenway has a nice tree canopy.
Looking for a great hike near your neighborhood, school, or work? Start by checking out this link to Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Nature Preserves and Greenways: https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/Documents/brochure%20files/prk%20brochure%20nature.pdf