Parks & Trails

The natural splendor of the Piedmont is on full display in every corner of the NC Triad, offering visitors easy access to hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails; camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing; and well-groomed parks, gardens, and arboretums. 

When you’re in the NC Triad, there’s simply no end to the encounters you can have with nature.

Pristine Wilderness in the NC Triad

At the confluence of the Yadkin, Pee Dee, and Uwharrie rivers that sluice through the Uwharrie Mountains is one of the Triad’s true gems: Uwharrie National Forest. More than 50,000 acres large, the national forest offers everything a lover of outdoor activities could want. 

Those who would like to see more of the mountains can hike, explore on horseback, or offroad their way further upland—there are several campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the Uwharrie. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission also offers seasonal hunting and trapping licenses, and the national forest contains a shooting range.

Thirty miles north of Winston-Salem and just outside Danbury is Hanging Rock State Park, another jewel in the NC Triad’s crown of natural wonders. With its namesake quartzite rock formation jutting out over the surrounding countryside and several waterfalls with a wow factor, the Hanging Rock Trail offers visitors the chance for unparalleled vistas easily in reach for even moderately skilled hikers.

If you’re interested in seeing how radically the landscape of the NC Triad changes just by rounding a corner, Pilot Mountain State Park is a must-visit. With elevations that exceed 2,000 feet, the range offers panoramas of the Piedmont. Pilot Mountain’s two most distinctive features – Big Pinnacle and Little Pinnacle – are enormous knob-like formations that jut from the range and tower over the surrounding valleys.

Nature Within Easy Reach

Near Greensboro is one of North Carolina’s newest state parks, Haw River State Park, home to trail loops suitable for every hiker (dogs welcome, too!). Plus, there are camping and picnic areas. The on-site Summit Environmental Education Center presents daytime and overnight programs that encourage respect for nature and are suitable for all ages. 

There’s such an abundance of open space in the NC Triad that you don’t need to travel far to find a way to reconnect with the outdoors. The Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden is an opportunity to immerse yourself in horticultural displays that highlight plants, both local and international, without ever leaving Kernersville’s historic downtown district.

Salem Lake Park offers more than seven miles of paved and unpaved paths suitable for walkers, runners, cyclists, and equestrians, linking up numerous centrally-located neighborhoods in Winston-Salem. The 365-acre lake is also open to fishing from boats.

Stretching from Clemmons to Bermuda Run, Tanglewood Park is home to outdoor adventures, including a dog park, two championship-caliber golf courses, horse stables, and fishing and paddleboarding on Mallard Lake. The Peter S. Brunstetter Aquatic Center in the middle of the park is perfect for family fun with a public pool, lazy river, and splash pad. The Tanglewood Park Arboretum presents visitors with carefully cultivated gardens that will delight all the senses.

Not to be outdone, the Greensboro Arboretum is laid out over 17 acres of Lindley Park and highlights species specially chosen for the Piedmont climate. Designed with both naturally occurring topography and visitors in mind, the walkways and greenspaces allow you to closely examine the plants, trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers that make up the arboretum’s collection.

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