We aren’t far from adventure here in the Carolinas. Despite our big-city vibes, a short jaunt to one of the numerous area parks offers locals the opportunity to feel the wind in their hair on top of 2 wheels. There is something for everyone from the avid mountain biker…to the weekend warrior road cyclists…to the family looking for a fun and active way to spend time together right in our backyard. With Spring in full swing, add these parks and trails to your warm weather bucket list.
Address: 1200 W. Tyvola Rd, Charlotte, NC
Features: In addition to the bike trails, Renaissance gives park-goers no shortage of choices for outdoor activities. From golf to volleyball and tennis to softball, take your pick for an exciting day under our famous Carolina Blue skies.
Trails: 2 3-mile loops. A great place for beginner mountain bikers with some hills and minor technical stretches.
Landsford Canal State Park
Address: 2051 Park Dr, Catawba, SC
Features: A gem on the shores of the Catawba River, nature enthusiasts flock to this park in the spring for the famous spider lily bloom- there’s even a festival in May in honor of these water-dwelling beauties! The park also has a playground, museum, fishing, and canoe/kayak access to the river.
Trails: The Canal Trail is a 1.5 mile one-way route where bikers can take in the outdoors as well as a bit of history as they cruise along the park’s historic tow path including an early-1800’s mill site.
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
Address: 4330 Weddington Rd., Weddington, NC
Features: In addition to the multi-purpose (run, walk, and bike) trails, the park also features basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields, and picnic areas.
Trails: Perhaps a little more technical than a family Sunday cruise might allow, this park has one fast-riding, 7-mile trail. Although mostly flat, there are also some variations in the trail (like jumps and bridges), that make it a bit more challenging than our greenway suggestions.
McAlpine Creek Greenway/Park
Address: 8711 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC
Features: From runners to loungers, McAlpine Creek gives you the freedom to get a good sweat in or refresh and reset in peaceful scenery. There are cross-country running trails, sports fields and courts, seating areas, and more at this local favorite.
Trails: An easy but fun 2 mile trail within the park connects to the McAlpine Greenway and 4-Mile Creek/McMullen Creek Greenways.
Address: 1900 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC
Features: Although the park’s shelters and other facilities are in the midst of a massive renovation project, there is still plenty of space to soak up some vitamin D on a nice Carolina afternoon. With baseball fields, tennis courts, soccer fields, a basketball court, sand volleyball, a 7-acre lake, a music pavilion, playgrounds, NFL Play60 KidZone, walking trails, and gardens, Freedom Park firmly holds it’s position as one of Charlotte’s favorite and most-visited parks. Don’t miss Festival in the Park here in the fall when artists line the walking trails around the lake and the smell of kettle corn popping in a copper cauldron fills the air.
Trails: The Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of trails that touches 15 counties, 2 states, and 2.3 million people with over 250 miles of trails, passes through our own “CLT Central Park.” Take a leisurely spin around the lake, or jump on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway for a longer ride.
Anne Springs Close Greenway
Address: 104 Adventure Rd, Fort Mill, SC
Features: The address says it all, folks! Area adventure-seekers need look no further than just a hair south of the Charlotte skyline to Anne Springs Close Greenway. Boating, camping, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and more are at your fingertips at this park. ASCG also hosts events from a jammin’ summer concert series under the stars to beginner courses in everything from bird watching to mountain biking.
Trails: Although these trails are not recommended for beginners, there is a Beginner’s Basics Mountain Bike Clinic sponsored by Rock Hill Bicycle Club on June 24th suitable for both children and adults. Score! Once you get the hang of mountain biking, take part in the park’s weekly bike meetup.
US National Whitewater Center Trails
Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC
Features: One of the most-visited attractions in the Charlotte area, the US National Whitewater Center lets you play how you want: be it on the trail, in the water, or in the air. There are running and biking trails, flatwater activities on the Catawba River, whitewater rafting on the Olympic course, climbing, ziplines, and ropes courses.
Trails: Clocking in at over 20 miles, the trail system at the USNWC has well-marked beginner, intermediate, and advanced options for your day in the saddle.
Riverwalk: Piedmont Medical Center Trail
Address: Terrace Park, Rock Hill, SC
Features: Fun fact, there are not only amateur biking trails at Riverwalk, but also hardcore, professional-level cycling facilities. The Giordana Velodrome gives Rock Hill a taste of the Olympic sport of track cycling, the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track lets both everyday and elite BMX-ers fly over ramps and through the air, and the 1-1.5 mile paved road course has limited vehicle access for an undisturbed road cycling experience. Two wheels and a helmet open the door for endless options for an afternoon well-spent.
Trails: The Piedmont Medical Center Trail offers a taste of nature with the comfort of a gently rolling and winding paved trail along the banks of the Catawba River. For the more adventurous, there are mountain biking trails for beginners through advanced riders.
Baxter Village Trail
Address: 1712 1st Baxter Crossing, Fort Mill, SC
Features: Baxter Village offers fitness opportunities from lawn yoga to biking in a picturesque and dang-near idyllic town setting. The Baxter Town Center also has shopping and dining options whether you’re in the mood to treat yourself after breaking a sweat or come back for a different (hopefully less sweaty) kind of excursion.
Trails: At 3.3 miles one-way, this trail is the perfect length whatever your biking goal for the day might be. Cutting through woods and residential areas, the Baxter Village trail is complete with an observation deck overlooking the Catawba River.