nature trips






mountain biking

dogs on leash

wild flowers

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.

My husband and I and our two dogs hike this trail all the time because we only live about 15 minutes away from LNSP. It's one of our favorites because we can keep it pretty short using the Short Turn trail or you can make it longer by doing the full loop. My dogs love it because there are lots of little beaches along the way where we can stop for a quick swim in the lake. Moderately hilly, you'll get a decent workout without it being too difficult. Very enjoyable any time of year.

Walked wit 3/4 full pack. Some challenging climbs out of the hollars for this old man with a pack. Many folks trail running today. Great trail, some roots for sure so wear good footwear. Drain fairly well. This area has just had several days of rain and even snow 2 weekends ago and the trail is in relatively good condition. We’re some slick spots but not bad considering the weather of the previous few weeks. 12/23/18

1 month ago

Hiked this with my 8 year old twins. Had several muddy spots but were easy to navigate around. Both of my 8 year olds loved it. Was just long enough to keep their attention. One was ready for more but one was ready to hit the highway. Lol. Just strenuous enough to get the heart rate up but easy enough that had no problem making the whole loop. There is a trail/power right of way at the halfway point that will lead you back to the visitor center parking lot. There are two additions that can easily be added to lengthen this trail. My kids kept up an over 2 mph pace which also involved breaks along the way for teaching moments on the trail. Bikes also use this trail but there are several spots to step off the trail to get out of the way of bikes.

mountain biking
1 month ago

great little loop, nothing to hard, some decent hill climbs and runs. For a little longer treck add in the small loop that cuts off Hawk loop. Hopefully the trails are open again by the weekend

Great for kids. Beautiful views of the lake.

It was very boring and you could not really see the lake. There were lots of pretty leaves. An easy hike.

Good for high mileage training. That’s about it...

2 months ago

The Trail was very well marked with white blazes for the longer loop. The shorter trail some people mention in their reviews was blazed in red. Markers with distance placed every half mile to help track time and distance. I had 2 dogs in tow and we finished the 5 mile loop in just about 2 hours. The Trail is well traveled and even though I was out early, we passed several groups (more than 5, less than 10). The Trail offered great views of the lake with several stops along the water for the dogs to drink. I would certainly rate this as moderate because there is a lot of undulation. Overall a great hike that I’ll do again.

This was a fantastic trail! We did the 5
Mike loop. It was wooded the whole time with beautiful views of the lake. We saw deer multiple times during our hike. This is close to home, so I plan to come back often!

4 months ago

Wonderful 5.1 mile hike! Yes, tree roots to navigate on 80% of the hike. Views of the lake much of the way... be aware that the last mile is a steep and challenging climb.

Great hike!!

Miles of trail options in woods and along the shores of Lake Norman. Trails are covered with bare roots, leaves and Carolina red clay this making them slippery in wet weather. Nice spots to eat on trails or nearby Troutman has Randy's BBQ or Pomodoro's Italian/Pizza for lunch.

trail running
5 months ago

Great beautiful trail. I’ve yet to complete the 9 mile loop. There’s a 4.5 mile option if you run long enough there will be a sign telling you to run along the power lines. Make sure to run the opposite direction of the mountain bikers. There’s not a lot of visibility but no accidents for me yet on this trail. Love it

5 months ago

Trail was nice but got attacked by bees/small yellow jackets about .5 mile on trail. Multiple bites - very aggressive.

5 months ago

Took the family for a hike on this wonderful trail today. Weather was perfect - no sun glasses needed as the natural canopy kept the sun from zapping us. Had to move over about four times to allow cyclists through. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to complete. We didn’t see any snakes this time. Be careful in some places that have roots. Nice easy to moderate trail!! Looking forward to doing in again in the near future.

Great hike , beautiful view.

trail running
6 months ago

I do the short 2.5 mi loop as a trail run with my dog. In the summer it is mostly shaded. Lots of roots so be careful, but it makes for a fun and challenging trail run. In the fall, winter, and spring the hilly portions of the trail may be slippery if it is wet or leaves on the trail. There are a few beach stop offs as the trail follows the lake. It's a beautiful hike and I've seen ospreys, woodpeckers, turtles, snakes, and deer many times on this trail.

Beautiful, peaceful area!!

Very clean and well maintained trail. I normally do the entire trail barefoot.
Beautiful scenery and plenty of cute little sandy beaches to stop and hangout or get in the water at.
Also well marked trails and trail intersections. Actual signs with arrows.
Both my dogs big and small love this trail as do I.

Really nice trail had a lot of fun biking on it!

I did the 2.5 mile loop (short loop) of this trail. The lake is pretty, and it wasn’t crowded. Water was nice to cool off in!

Easy walk

This trail was tough for me! I'm a beginner so this was definitely a challenge. I enjoyed the trail immensely and would do it again. I did NOT enjoy the snakes though!

Great 5 mike loop with lake views. Wish we had brought a bathing suit and a picnic lunch! It was a last minute decision for us to hike here and it would have been great to stop on the shore of the lake to eat lunch and swim!

nice loop, great views

This is my go-to trail due to its proximity to my home. My dog loves it. Trail follows the water almost entire loop. Little beaches along with way for the dog to splash and cool off.

8 months ago

For what this trail is (easily accessible, family focused, educational, etc) it is great. Definitely not a "hike", or a challenge but for a short jaunt it packs in some interesting views.

8 months ago

This is what a good hike looks like - plenty of tree cover, views of the lake, hard-packed trail and episodes of elevation without exhaustion. Lots of hikers on a gorgeous spring day., but didn’t seem crowded. 4.5 miles of joy.

Not technical at all - and if you follow the rules, bikes are only coming at you head on...
The ground is "soft" and sandy in many places. Nothing was too hard packed (even for a bike trail!)
We hit it hard (for us) and managed to get in 11 miles for the entire afternoon.

I would say anyone over 10yrs old could handle this trail - it isn't boring, and the views help...
Just long enough to make it fun!

9 months ago

I found this to be a challenging and interesting hike. If you find this to be "boring" or "not real hiking" as a few others have said, hiking may not be your thing. Sure, there's no amazing overlook, mountain peak, or waterfall you're hiking towards, but the lake is beautiful and just being surrounded by nature is what it is about. The trail is clearly defined but is still very much a hiking trail, not paved or gravel. The trail has a well established trailhead and small parking area at the start/finish. The trail is very well marked and has mile markers and wooden benches for resting at every half mile. The trail seems to get progressively more difficult as you go along, with the first couple miles being relatively easy and directly on the lake shore, while the last few miles take on a more woodland feel (though still quite close to the lake) with increasing hills. I found the last mile to be quite challenging, as there is a prolonged uphill section starting at mile marker 4.0. There is an opportunity to cut the trail short or add a small side trail to increase its length, however I just did the standard loop. I'm not sure why the distance on AT lists this as 4.8, the trail markers clearly mark 5.0 miles and the end of the trail is another tenth or two further than that marker. I hiked during midday on a weekday during a school break, and only came across a few other hikers. It was quiet and peaceful.

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