Great Hiking Near Charlotte

great hiking near charlotte dr. allen chererWhile Charlotte isn’t the world’s premier hiking destination, I’m still blessed to have plenty of great hiking destinations not too far away.  I recently read a blog post that shares five quick and easy hiking destinations in and around Charlotte for those who want some good hiking without running into too many other hikers, but don’t want to go too far.  Here they are:

Seven Oaks Preserve: You can find plenty of popular hikes from Lake Wylie to Lake Norman, and you’re guaranteed to see plenty of hikers.  Yet one trail, the 2.8-mile stretch at Seven Oaks, remains relatively isolated.  Located on land purchased and protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy due to its native flora and fauna, it also connects to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, which allows you to put together a five-mile loop.

Latta Plantation Nature Preserve: The 1,343 acre Latta Plantation preserve is a fairly well-known waterside park.  But it’s also pretty large, covering 16 miles of trail, offering its many visitors plenty of space, so you won’t even notice all the people there.  One great highlight is the Piedmont Prairie restoration, which before Europeans settled in the area was home to grazing bison.  

Crowders Mountain: While the main part of Crowders Mountain is fairly crowded (it can take 30 minutes just to get a parking space at the more popular access points), it’s a wildly different situation at Boulder’s Access at the southwest end of the park.  Here, you can see giant boulders, some of them larger than a house, reminiscent of the Stone Age.  Right next door is Kings Mountain State Park, which, in addition to offering great hiking, is the site of a vital battle in the American Revolution.  

RibbonWalk Nature Preserve: Even though it’s located in the heart of Charlotte and surrounded by city, the 188 acres that make up RibbonWalk are able to rapidly transport you into the remote wilderness.  The preserve is home to plants up to 200 years old and from over 180 different species, not to mention 53 bird species and 24 types of butterflies.  

Rural Hill Nature Preserve: Rural Hill, located on Mountain Island Lake, was once home to the plantation of the Davidson’s, who first settled there in the mid 1700s.  Like many of the settlers who arrived in the Carolinas at that time, the Davidson family’s roots were in Scotland.  Thousands of miles from their homeland, they brought their heritage with them, and it can be seen at their plantation.  But Rural Hill goes beyond that, with a diverse bird population supported by the hay fields.  Rural Hill is home to plenty of different species, many of them rare, ranging from sparrows to larks to bluebirds.