Colonel Francis Beatty Park in Matthews, about 30 minutes from uptown Charlotte.
I found the park by scouring the Tarheel Trailblazers website (a valuable resource!) for recommendations for easy, beginner-level trails. We chose the Main Loop Trail, and it couldn't have been more perfect.
Distance: The Main Loop Trail is a little over 4 miles long. Which is enough to feel like you've taken a good spin and walkable if you plan to hike alongside young riders.
Features: There are some sneaky roots you have to mind, but obstacles are mostly relegated to some really fun man-made bridges and ramps.
Proximity: Colonel Francis Beatty Park is an easy, 30-minute drive from uptown Charlotte. Quick to get to and easy to navigate.
To jump on the Main Loop Trail, park in the Lake Point Hall parking lot. There, you'll find the trailhead marked with an information kiosk. There are also restrooms, playgrounds and picnic shelters.
Unless you're feeling really adventurous, don't wander onto a Black Diamond Trail. Those are technically difficult.
Bike riders ride counterclockwise; hikers hike clockwise.
Be mindful of your surroundings. We spotted a large black snake and plenty of patches of poison ivy.
There's a TCBY two miles from the park (3116 Weddington Rd Suite 700, Matthews, NC 28105) . A promise of ice cream when we finished was a fun motivator for our crowd!
How to get there:
Colonel Francis Beatty Park is located at 4330 Weddington Rd, Matthews, NC 28105. To jump on the Main Loop Trail, park in the Lake Point Hall parking lot. There, you'll find the trailhead marked with an information kiosk. There are also restrooms, playgrounds and picnic shelters.
Don't forget to take:
- Water: And plenty of it on warm days. There are bathroom facilities for refills.
- Helmets: DO NOT RIDE WITHOUT ONE. Adults, too.
- Snacks: In case you need refueling.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen: The trail is only partially shaded.
- Bug spray: Especially in the summer to ward off mosquitoes and ticks.