At Lake Norman State Park, fun is just a matter of scale. On one hand, there's the largest manmade lake in the state, Lake Norman. When filled to capacity, its surface area is 32,510 acres with a shoreline of 520 miles and a main channel 34 miles in length thus its nickname, the "Inland Sea." Thirteen miles of the shoreline are in the state park, which provides boating access. On another hand, the park boasts its own 33-acre lake where fishing and boating are enjoyed. And with hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, interpretive programs and campgrounds, there's more to Lake Norman State Park than merely water.
Expected more from a state park, it's extremely boring and long. Walking in the woods is NOT hiking. I started running half way to get it over with....Bikers are everywhere and are inconsiderate on the trails. A park to fool people from the queen city that think they are "adventurist."
The full loop is 5.0 miles from the trailhead and 6.3 miles when adding the out and back Group Camp Spur. When using the Short Turn Trail on the regular route, the northern loop is 2.6 miles and the southern loop is 3.2 miles (according to the Lake Norman State Park website). I had an enjoyable time following the southern section along the shoreline back in late January. There actually was a little snow remaining in a few shady places along the trail.
A short, easy and scenic trail that begins behind the very nice visitor center. There are great views of the water throughout the loop. Be sure to include the two short spurs for even more views. Unfortunately the water level is lower than normal right now due to the drought conditions. There are several longer and more challenging trails near the visitor center that you can combine with this one.
So close to Charlotte, and what a great escape!
We took a mid-day hike, and the weather was outstanding.
Alltrails has this as a 3.5, but it is really 6.2 if you include the campground extension.
Really was a great hike, and aside from the length, it would be awesome for kids too.
There is a short cut, and that might be where the 3.5miles comes in.
We started out backwards - everyone in the lot when we started was dropping in at the map/sign, we cut across the street, and took it in a clockwise direction.