Thursday, January 18, 2018

Find Serinity on the Broad River Greenway

I'm usually able to achieve some measure of serenity on even the most strenuous of trails. After all, that's part of what makes hiking fun for me: Getting away from the noise and stumbling on the kind of peace that only lives in nature.

A couple weeks ago, we discovered a trail where tranquility embraces you from the first step.

The Broad River Greenway, located in Boiling Springs, NC, just past Shelby about an hour west of Uptown Charlotte on US 74, is a natural surface trail that hugs the banks of the Broad River for about 4 miles. There are also a number of spoke and loop trails accessible from the main stretch.

The Broad River is wide and calm. It flows soothingly, punctuated by rock outcrops that stir up gentle whitewater here and there. The sounds of the water are a perfect complement to the easy terrain that ushers you along the greenway. Flanked by woods on one side and the river on the other, the path is flat, bright, and clear, adorned with benches and picnic tables along the way. There are several small beach areas, providing unobstructed access to the river.

From the parking area (which is equipped with bathroom facilities), you can access the Cottonwood Trail (1.8 miles, one way) by taking a left at the river, or the River Trail (2.2 miles, one way) by taking a right. Here's a trail map. Both are part of the Carolina Thread Trail.

I suggest taking the Cottonwood Trail (start at the information board next to the restroom in the parking lot), which begins with an interpretive trail and takes you by a kids' play area and historic homestead. Going that direction will also take you to a fishing pier.

It's worth noting that mountain bikers and horseback riders are welcome on the trails as well.

All together, this is a lovely outing from the word go. I highly recommend it if you're looking for some fresh air and serenity.

How to get there:
The Broad River Greenway parking area is located at 126 Broad River Dr., Shelby, NC 28152. The trailhead to the Cottonwood Trail is next to the information board beside the restrooms.

Don't forget to take:
  • Water: Stay hydrated on your hike. There are restroom facilities to refill.
  • Snacks: Throw in a granola bar, trail mix or crackers.
  • Backback or bag: Something lightweight and comfortable to carry your essentials.
  • Bug spray: Fend off mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Shoes: Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The river is bright and the trail is only partially shaded.

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