River Link Greenway, a short but compelling stretch of the Carolina Thread Trail.
This smooth, flat, 0.7-mile (one way) out-and-back trail is paved from end-to-end, making it excellent for strollers, bikes, skates and scooters. It runs along the banks of the South Fork Catawba River and is tucked neatly behind a neighborhood development, though you wouldn't know it for most of your stroll.
A really cool feature of the River Link Greenway is its proximity to other connector trails, including the Goat Island Greenway, which is a short walk over the footbridge from the River Link Greenway trailhead parking lot. At the west end of the Goat Island Greenway, you can hop on the Riverside Greenway, and at the east end, the Stuart Cramer High School Trail.
South Fork Blueway, an approximately 10-mile stretch of the river for folks to paddle through more than 1,300 acres of land permanently protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy.
Another perk: Just on the other side of Goat Island is the quaint downtown Cramerton, where you can find a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
How to get there: The River Link Greenway trailhead is in the Goat Island Park and Greenway Belmont Access parking lot, which is located at 305 Greenwood Pl., Belmont, NC, 28012. There are no restroom facilities; plan accordingly.
Don't forget to pack:
- Comfortable walking shoes: Sneakers will do
- Water: Bring enough for during and after your trek; there are no facilities to refill nearby
- Bikes, scooters or other riding toys and a helmet: The paved trail is good for wheels
- Hats, sunscreen and sunglasses: The trail is partially shaded, but not completely
- Bug spray: Especially during warmer months