Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Lake Norman Gem

You know the feeling of finding a dollar in your pocket or a perfect shell on the beach? That’s how I feel when I discover a new trail. I get excited at the prospect of expanding our Charlotte playground. Recently, we sought out a trail on Lake Norman in Cornelius that a friend from church had mentioned, and were exceedingly pleased.

The mostly flat, two mile (one way), natural surface trail hugs the shore of quiet stretch of the lake behind the Victoria Bay neighborhood. The biggest obstacles were roots here and there. It was perfect for three beginner mountain bikers and me hiking along beside.

The shady trail felt secluded and peaceful as we enjoyed song birds and the hum of cicadas. There were several breaks in the trees where we could stop to explore the banks of the lake, as well as a couple of benches to enjoy a rest if needed.

Since there’s no parking at the trailhead or along the trail, we parked at the Lake Norman Y, just a few blocks away. Which meant we could also go for a swim at the outdoor Y pool to cool down when we returned!

The out and back was lovely and, to cap it off, there’s Carolina Cones conveniently located blocks from the Y for a quick stop on the way home!

How to get there:

Bike path to from the Y to Church St.
There’s no parking at the trailhead or along the trail, so to get there, park at Lake Norman YMCA. Looking at the front of the Y, there is a short, paved walking/biking trail to the left at the back of the parking lot. Take that to join Church Street and take Church a few blocks to Washam Street, where you’ll take a right. Shortly after Washam Street curves sharply to the left, you’ll see the trailhead on your right (it starts at a wooden footbridge 20 yards into the woods). Coordinates are 35 degrees 29’17”N 80 degrees 51’ 46” W if you want to plug it into GPS. From the Y to the trailhead is just over half a mile.

Don’t forget to take:

Bikes and helmets and/or comfortable shoes: The terrain is easy; wheels or sneakers will do the trick.

Water and snacks: Always keep the essentials handy. You can refill water at the Y.

Swim suits and towels: Consider timing your hike such that you can take a dip in the Y pool when you’re done.

Ice cream money: A little sweet treat can be very refreshing!

Bug spray: Mosquitoes and gnats weren’t bad, but ticks are always a threat.

Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: I pack ‘em everywhere we go, though the canopy was thick enough on this hike we didn’t need any of them until we went swimming.

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