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:
- Photo guide to hiking 8 North Carolina State Parks
- Photo guide to 7 breathtaking North Carolina Waterfalls
- 3 hikes that will blow your mind — all within an hour and a half of Charlotte
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. Are 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 Ribbon Walk Nature Preserve to that list of close-by destinations. It’s at 4601 Nevin Road, in North Charlotte, near the Derita neighborhood. It’s 5.6 miles from the very center of Charlotte.
NOTE: We did this hike in the summer. The landscape looks very different in the winter.
The 188-acre urban forest contains wetlands, a hardwood forest, an American Beech grove, and two ponds. Irwin Creek runs through it.
If you walked every step of the trails, you would walk 3.15 miles. There are a couple of hills, but none are too strenuous. All of these trails would be categorized as “easy.”
Click on the map, below to see a full-size version.
The ground is uneven in spots. Make sure to watch for roots and stones. Most of the surface is dirt, and can get muddy when it rains. This trail is not wheelchair-accessible or stroller-friendly.
Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Don’t let your dogs (or children) go into the two ponds. They are stagnant and may, at times, harbor dangerous blue-green algae.
Most of the trails are covered by a tree canopy, so it’s a welcome relief from the heat if you’re reading this in the summer. 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, there’s a small paved parking lot, and open field, and a port-o-john.
Our video, below, and the pictures beneath them reflect the following path, starting at the trailhead, but you can vary your walk by selecting different trails or a different order. Our walk was about 2.95 miles, including the walk from and back to the parking lot.
- Enter the nature preserve on Hoyt Hinson Road, and then turn left onto Irwin Creek Trail.
- Take this up to the top of the preserve and then turn right on Covered Bridge Trail.
- From there, turn right on Tricklin’ Stream Trail.
- Then turn right on Hoyt Hinson Trail.
- On the way out we made a quick detour by turning right The Glen Trail, and then back.
- We turned right onto Hoyt Hinson Trail again, which led us out of the preserve.
We didn’t walk on Beech Walk Trail, Wetland Trail or the part of Hoyt Hinson Trail that cuts straight through the middle of the preserve.
You can look at the trail system as an “outer loop” and an “inner loop.” We walked some of both. The inner loop (Tricklin’ Stream Trail and Beach Walk Trail) is a nice, short walk to take with kids.
Ribbon Walk Video
Please take a look at our video, and then keep reading for a description of the trails and some more pictures.
Ribbon Walk Nature Preserve Trails Description and Pictures
We started on the wide, paved Hoyt Hinson Road, which leads into the nature preserve.
Then, we turned left onto Irwin Creek Trail. That warning sign is telling you to stay out of the ponds. We don’t think you’ll be tempted to go into the ponds.
Right next to where we turned onto Irwin Creek Trail is the very short Glen trail, which is the only paved trail in the preserve. It looks over the pond. We’ll show that to you on the way back.
On Irwin Creek trail, Irwin Creek will be on your left, and, on parts of the trail, will be visible to you.
You’re truly in the middle of nature here, so take some time to look around (but stay on the trail.)
Irwin Creek Trail transforms into a grassy path.
The green trail marker indicates that you’re about to turn onto Covered Bridge Trail. There’s no other way to go, so if you miss this marker you’ll be fine.
Part of Covered Bridge Trail is bordered by stones, which makes it easier to tell where the trail is.
You’ll also see more stones in the woods here. Part of an old stone wall? Extras from the stone borders? Sorry, we don’t know.
Now you’ll approach the covered bridge.
After the covered bridge you’ll reach the point where trail runners are most likely to trip, so watch out!
There are lots of mushrooms in the nature preserve. These were our favorites.
Soon after, we turned right onto Tricklin’ Stream Trail. The trail marker is an orange triangle.
You might see several ivy-covered trees.
The path is narrow here, and the foliage is beautiful and lush.
You’ll approach one of the ponds, and if you’d like to take a break there’s a bench overlooking it.
Soon after, we turned right onto Hoyt Hinson Trail, which leads out of the nature preserve.
On the way out you’ll see a paved path on your right. This is The Glen Trail, which we skipped on the way in. It’s worth a quick detour. It’s a good place to rest and have a snack or a drink of water.
The brick path into The Glen widens into a circle with curved stone walls, and then continues for a very short distance at a picnic table that overlooks the pond.
Then, we headed back to Hoyt Hinson Trail, turned right on it, and it led out of the nature preserve.
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