Another big draw for us, though, are the lightly-trafficked natural-surface hiking trails on the outskirts of the 380-acre Daniel Stowe property. When a leisurely stroll through the gardens isn't quite enough to justify the car trip out there, these trails are excellent options for enhancing the adventure.
Persimmon Trail is a half-mile loop that begins and ends on the far left side of the main parking lot. The trailhead is marked with a large sign. From the trail you can take a side trip to hop on the Seven Oaks Preserve trail, a nearly 3-mile out-and-back trail that hugs the banks of Lake Wylie. Sticking to the Persimmon Trail will return you to the main parking lot in short order. This is an easy, highly accessible trail.
Meadowood Walk Trail is a one-mile, natural surface loop trail that begins and ends at the far end of the gardens, inside the gates. To access it, follow the garden pathways to the perimeters of the main gardens to a gravel service road. There's a sign marking the trailhead. You'll pass by a tall wooden hut as you head for the tree line at the far end of the field. There are educational signs throughout this trail.
You'll be handed a garden map at the door, but here's one if you want to get your bearings before setting out.
Check the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden website for hours, admission and programs and events. With the number of things to do (including the Christmas lights and regular activities), we've found it worthwhile to have a family membership.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located at 6500 New Hope Rd., Belmont, NC, 28012. The Persimmon Trail trailhead is located at the far left side of the main parking lot. The Meadowood Walk Trail trailhead is located at the back of the main gardens inside the gates.
- Water: Especially on a hot day.
- Money: For garden admission.
- Snacks: During special events, food and drinks may be available.
- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The main gardens are only sparsely shaded.
- Bug spray: Especially during the warmer months.