Really, though, this city just north of Concord along I-85 was born as a textile mill town, suffered momentarily when the mills closed, and has undergone a remarkable rebirth as home of the North Carolina Research Campus.
Kannapolis has definitely retained its small-town vibe, but also feels fresh and modern.
Among many other reasons to visit is a lovely greenway, part of which is part of the Carolina Thread Trail, that loops Kannapolis. From start to finish, it offers two miles of flat, paved, intermittently shaded trail that is perfect for walking, jogging or biking at all skill levels.
Of particular interest for families with small kids are a couple of remarkable parks along the trail route.
Baker’s Creek Park, where there’s plenty of parking, a couple of large sets of playground equipment and two giant picnic shelters. There’s also a municipal miniature golf course.
Hop on the greenway trail behind the playground. Taking a left puts you on the 8th Street Greenway that runs about three-quarters of a mile to Loop Rd. We took a right, which puts you on the Baker’s Creek Greenway that connects Baker’s Creek Park with Village Park a little under a mile away.
Take a quick look at the map to familiarize yourself with the route.
Village Park is the more spectacular of the two parks, complete with playground equipment, an impressive carrousel, splash pad, and the Rotary Express Train (a g-24 scale replica CP Huntington engine and three coaches that visitors can ride). Attractions at both Baker’s Creek Park and Village Park are seasonal. You can find run times and prices by visiting the Kannapolis Park and Recreation site. Both parks have bathroom facilities.
When you’re finished at Village Park, you can retrace your path back to Baker’s Creek by way of the Baker’s Creek Greenway. Or, if you’d prefer, you can take Loop Rd from Village Park toward the opposite end of the 8th Street Greenway and come full circle to Baker’s Creek in just over two miles round trip.
If you’re looking for new ground to cover – and certainly if you’re in the Kannapolis area already – this greenway and accompanying parks are definitely worth the visit.
How to get there:
Baker’s Creek Park is located at 1275 West A St., Kannapolis, NC, 28081.
Don’t forget to take:
- Water and snacks: Keep the essentials handy! There are facilities for refilling water if needed.
- Bikes and helmets: It’s an easy, pleasant ride, but also doable by foot if you’d prefer to stroll.
- Swimsuits and towels: In case you want to take advantage of the splash pad.
- Cash: You’ll need to pay a small fee to ride the train or carrousel or to play miniature golf.
- Bug spray, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: I pack ‘em everywhere we go.