Thursday, February 8, 2018

3 Reasons to Visit Reedy Creek Nature Preserve

Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve, part of Charlotte Mecklenburg Park and Recreation, is a sprawling, 927-acre natural, forested habitat 10 mile east of Uptown Charlotte. There, you’ll find all the outdoor sporting amenities, including volleyball and basketball courts; softball, soccer and cricket fields; horseshoe pits; picnic shelters; ponds; fishing, a dog park, playgrounds and a disc golf course.

Here are our three favorite reasons to visit.

Hiking trails
There are 10 miles of well-marked, gravel hiking trails winding through the nature preserve. Wide and relatively flat, the trails are accessible to hikers of all ages and offer fun opportunities for exploring.

Our favorite is the Dragonfly Pond Trail, which hugs the trail shoreline where you’re likely to spot turtles and other wildlife. Another popular route is the Robinson Rockhouse Trail, which leads the ruins of the Robinson Rockhouse, built circa 1790.

If you’re itching to get out in nature, but don’t want to hassle with a long drive, Reedy Creek is a perfect outdoor retreat. Dogs are welcome to hike with their friends on a 6-foot or shorter leash.

Reedy Creek Nature Center
The Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is an interactive nature museum and gift shop located in one corner of the preserve. It features a woodland-themed hands-on educational area and live native animals. Just outside is a National Wildlife Federation certified Backyard Habitat Garden that includes a demonstration compost area, butterfly garden and bird feeding stations.

The Nature Center offers dozens of fun, engaging and educational programs each month. See what they offer and register here.

On a very practical note, there are restrooms and a water fountain in the Nature Center.

One of our favorite playgrounds in Charlotte is just outside the Nature Center at Reedy Creek. It features a giant tree house with a climbing wall, swinging bridge and tube slide. Other highlights are a sharks-tooth-digging sand pit, natural materials building area, climbing and balancing equipment and two xylophones, one made with wood and the other out of wrenches.
We also like to stop at a newly opened NFL Play 60 challenge course, sponsored by the Carolina Panthers. 

A tip for your visit: You can park at the Nature Center parking lot and visit the Nature Center, play on the tree house playground and access a number of trails. We like to park at one of the other parking lots and hike our way over to the Nature Center. Check out the park map to decide how you want to plan your visit.

How to get there:
Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is located at 2900 Rocky River Road. Follow park signs to the Nature Center parking lot. Or park in another lot and hike your way around the preserve. Check out the park map.

Don’t forget to bring:
  • Picnic or snacks and water: There are a number of great picnic shelters throughout the park.
  • Comfy shoes: The trails are easy, but wear something supportive.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The park is well shaded throughout, but you might want some cover if you visit the NFL Play 60 challenge course.
  • Bugspray: In case of mosquitoes and ticks.

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