Thursday, February 22, 2018

McApline Creek Park: Trails, Puddles and Wildlife

If you can muster a little child-like abandon, McApline Creek Park is a great place to visit after a good pouring rain. Situated in a low-lying area on the banks of the sizable creek, it puddles easily. And that can be fun.

McAlpine Creek Park is the Monroe Rd. access point for the McAlpine Creek Greenway, a natural surface, gravel and paved path that stretches three miles from Sardis Rd. to Margaret Wallace Rd. in East Charlotte.

But it's also home to a three-acre lake, several miles of non-greenway nature trails and a remarkable collection of wildlife, including beavers that have built dens and dams you can observe from the trails.

After a rain, we like to strap on our rubber boots and traipse on over to McApline Creek Park for a nature walk. It's a quiet, spacious area, good for exploring and puddle-jumping.

In addition to beavers, we've seen cranes, hawks, ducks, turtles and frogs. The mostly-flat trails wind around the lake, soccer fields and through the woods, which keeps the stroll interesting. There's also a fishing pier, picnic area, dog park and restrooms.

You won't find playground equipment at McApline Creek Park, but it is a fun destination for exploring nature, rain or shine.

How to get there:
McApline Creek Park is located at 8711 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 28227. To access the trails, follow the large footbridge at the back of the parking lot across the creek toward the lake. Here's a trail map.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Water and snacks: There are a number of good picnic spots.
  • Comfortable shoes: Consider boots if it has rained lately.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: There are some shady spots on the nature trails in the woods, but the park and greenway are largely wide open.  

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