A lot of what we normally do for entertainment is closed these days, so we’ve been turning to nature more than ever. We’ve provided photo guides to some popular (and some unexpected) places to hike:
But the problem is that lots of people are heading to the same places. So we’ve especially been looking for natural places to be that are uncrowded, and, as temperatures soar, shady. And we’re looking for places that are in or near Charlotte.
Here are a few hikes and walks that we’ve enjoyed:
Today we’re adding Evergreen Nature Preserve to that list of close-by destinations. It’s at 1336 Norland Road in East Charlotte, near Central Avenue. Kilborne Avenue turns into Norland Road when it crosses Central Avenue.
The 77-acre nature preserve is bordered by Evergreen Cemetery, Eastway Middle School, Sheffield Park, Winterfield Elementary School and some residential developments.
One unique quality of this nature preserve is its location, just 5 miles from the very center of Uptown Charlotte, and just 1.8 miles from Bojangles’ Coliseum. This is not an out of the way place. It’s just a heartbeat from Independence Boulevard, and while on the trails you can hear some traffic noise, which just makes the untouched woodlands all the more magical.
The trails are easy and mostly flat. If you walked every bit of the trails, it would be just a 1.7 mile hike, and very suitable for children. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.
Almost all of the trails are covered by a dense tree canopy, so it’s a welcome relief from the heat. Bug repellant isn’t a bad idea.
This is an ideal destination for bird watching and exploring nature. If you have kids who are learning about nature or botany this is a perfect spot.
At the trailhead, across the street from Eastway Middle School, there’s a building with a trail map, restrooms, which are closed, and picnic tables. There’s a small paved parking lot for 11 cars, including 2 wheelchair accessible spots.
If you park here, you’ll start out on Norland Loop Trail, an even, paved, and accessible trail that is .25 mile long. It starts and ends at the building. It’s a stroller-friendly little loop that winds through the woods.
From Norland Loop Trail you’ll access Evergreen Trail, which will lead you further into the woods, and to the other trails.
From here on out the trails are a mix of dirt and gravel. They are extremely well maintained. Make sure to stay on the trails.
The main section of trails is sort of a figure 8, with the 2 loops formed by the Evergreen Trail, Tuliptree Trail and Creek Crossing Trail.
While we were on the trails we noticed several trees (both living and fallen) with some interesting fungus and moss growing on them. If you or your kids are learning about fungi, see if you can identify them.
You’ll find some benches throughout the preserve.
Most of the preserve is in dense woods, but there’s one section that opens into a grassy area. It’s here that you’re most likely to see wildflowers at the right time of year.
Then, just as quickly as you stepped into the sunshine, you tunnel back into the woods.
While you’re walking on the trails, don’t forget to look up and enjoy a different perspective.
Although most of what you’ll see is green, there are also colorful splashes of flowers throughout.
And, where there are flowers, there are bees at work.
One of the newer developments of Evergreen Nature Preserves are the boardwalks over some marshy areas.
What hidden natural places have you enjoyed in Charlotte? Let us know and we might feature it in a future article.Subscribe to Charlotte on the Cheap