Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pharr Family Preserve Trail

The Pharr Family Preserve Trail checks all the boxes for a satisfying local, fresh-air outing, especially these days: Close to home. Spacious. Plenty of parking. Beautiful. Peaceful. Refreshing.

This 1.7-mile (one way) Carolina Thread Trail traverses 66 lush, green acres protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. Located in the rural farmlands of Concord, it's an easy, 30-minute drive from uptown, but feels many miles away from the increasingly all-too-familiar walls of home and the extraordinarily well-worn routine route around the neighborhood.

The single-track, packed-dirt, natural-surface trail is smooth with only gentle undulations and a few roots to navigate. It meanders through a rich forest ecosystem with an abundance of trees and wildlife. It is also part of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation's Butterfly Highway, a statewide conservation effort to restore native pollinator habitats.

The trail, which is good for both hiking and biking, runs parallel to the Rocky River and offers glimpses of the water along the way. At 0.2 miles from the trailhead, there's an official Rocky River Blueway boat launch for kayaks and canoes.

When we went, I walked while the kids rode bikes and everyone enjoyed the outing. (Please note that bike riding is only permitted when the trail is dry. If your tires are making prints, it's too wet to ride.)

The Pharr Family Preserve Trail gates are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from fall through spring and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer. In the parking lot, you'll find a map kiosk, but no restrooms (so plan accordingly!).

This destination offers such a pleasant journey through the woods that it's quite easy to get lost (figuratively, not literally) in a way that makes the "end of trail" sign at the terminus feel all too abrupt. We'll definitely be back to enjoy it again soon.

How to get there:
Pharr Family Preserve Trail is located near 9111 Mt. Pleasant Rd. South, Concord, NC, 28205. Follow a long gravel drive to the trailhead parking lot. The trail begins next to the map kiosk.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Something supportive, but hiking boots are not necessary.
  • Bikes and helmets: A fun option!
  • Water: Bring plenty; there are no facilities for refills.
  • Snacks or a picnic lunch: Take a break on the trail (there's a bench mid-way through) or at the trailhead.
  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The trail is mostly shaded, but not completely.
  • Bug spray: Especially during warmer weather.


  1. This trail is very nice, but be aware that it CAN flash flood very quickly after a rain, for that matter IF you can even get TO the trail itself. I went there a couple weeks ago and the road (from the north or south) to it was closed. I went a couple days later and while it was drying, it was definitely QUITE muddy in many places.