4 parks, 3 miles, 2 girls, 1 day.
That's the story-line. As we ventured onward to acquire more stamps for our #ncpassport, it was just the girls this time and Caroline was stoked.
As I've been a local to the area of Winston Salem for my entire life, I've frequented Pilot Mountain State Park & Hanging Rock State Park numerous times. Had to get some stamps, and since they are only a 30-minute drive apart, I went to collect.
The first stop was Pilot Mountain and I have some pictures worth sharing of a hike done in November of last year (2016). I usually like to take the trail that the rock climbers use because it provides some challenging aspects. It's called the Ledge Spring/Grindstone Trail (about 2M). It loops around and involves rocks and steep climbs, but overall it's a great workout and you can observe as some of the climbers are doing their thing.
Pilot Mountain is absolutely beautiful with views in the distance of Charlotte, Winston Salem, and Greensboro. Well worth the visit. I love to come here and relax while reading a good book, or to write my heart out. With the short drive (about an hour) from home, it's a good spot to come and get away real quick.
The next stop was Hanging Rock State Park, and it didn't take long at all to get there. As I have already blogged about this park, I don't have any pictures to share except of the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich I engulfed and Caroline taking a break.
We basically stopped here, got a stamp, ate some lunch, took a quick break and hit the road.
Hanging Rock is a great place to come, but oftentimes it's overly crowded, and especially so on the weekends. Just be aware of that aspect, but keep in mind that Hanging Rock is also a GREAT PLACE with many activities to keep you occupied. Here's the website: https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park.
On to the next stop. About 45 minutes away was the Mayo River State Park, located in Mayodan, NC.
This park is relatively small, with only one trail, a lake, and some picnic areas. As I walked into the Ranger office, he handed me directions to the Waterfall Trail Access, but I ended up doing the main trail, The Mayo Mountain Loop Trail (1.8M). I'm curious about the Waterfall, but because of the heat, Caroline and I kept it short and sweet.
As we made our way around the loop, we were the only two out here and it was actually quite peaceful. You can hear a little bit of traffic off the Highway 220 in the distance, but overall it was a good, easy trail. With the many cedar trees, and random findings on the forest floor, we made the best of such a small park and enjoyed the near 2 miles.
The Mayo River State Park website: https://www.ncparks.gov/mayo-river-state-park. If you live around the area of Mayodan, this would be a good spot to frequent and catch a nice little escape.
As we hopped back into the car and headed to the next stop, I had the AC on high as we were both panting. At about 85 degrees this day, and no real high elevation, a lot of water to keep hydrated was necessary.
The next stop was about a 30-minute drive and it was the Haw River State Park.
As we pulled into the parks driveway, it was very secluded with many trees surrounding, but one cool thing I noticed was the houses along the entrance that makes it similar to a neighborhood. As we continued on down and made our way to the park office we hopped out, got our last stamp of the day and a park map. The trail I picked was the Lake Loop Trail (0.66M). Also inside this park is a Summit Environmental Education Center. They use this to host groups of all ages and specialize in environmental education with many activities including overnight field trips. They host summer camps, and plenty of events to get children and young adults outdoors and interactive with nature. As we began the lake loop trail, we went through the woods and came upon the housing options for groups before we found our way to the lake.
When we approached the lake, Caroline ran around and sniffed the many wildflowers surrounding in the overgrown grass. We made our way to a bench, and ate some snacks. This place seems perfect for children to come and spend a weekend, or even a summer with friends. Here's the website: https://www.ncparks.gov/haw-river-state-park.
And just like that we completed our goal for the day and began the journey home for some R&R. What a perfect girls day! <3