hiking

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forest

kid friendly

nature trips

walking

views

wildlife

birding

river

trail running

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Should the humdrum of the work week leave you with the urge to travel and explore, head to Raven Rock State Park. Adventure is just an hour's drive from the Research Triangle and only 45 minutes from the Fayetteville area. The first feeling you are likely to experience at Raven Rock is one of renewal. Here, the forest reigns as each year the timeless cycle of growth further heals age-old wounds inflicted by man. Nature triumphs as plants compete in the stages of forest succession and the woodlands are restored. High above the Cape Fear River stands Raven Rock, its austere beauty a testament to the forces that have shaped the land. As the river below rushes to join the sea, nature's elements continue to shape the surface of this natural monument. Spend some time at Raven Rock State Park and let nature refresh your spirit. Raven Rock State Park sits along the fall zone, an area where the hard, resistant rocks of the foothills gives way to softer rocks and sediments of the coastal plain. Through the ages, flowing waters and swirling winds gradually eroded the land, carving and sculpting Raven Rock. This immense crystalline structure rises to 150 feet and stretches for more than a mile along the Cape Fear River. The rock was originally called Patterson's Rock for an early settler who found refuge there when his canoe capsized nearby. In 1854, its name was changed to Raven Rock, inspired by the sight of ravens that formerly roosted on the rock ledges. The Sioux and Tuscarora Indians hunted the area until European settlers arrived in the mid-1700s. The first settlers were hunters and trappers looking for areas similar to their native country, Scotland. Later, they built stores, mills and quarries. Many of the woodlands were farmed, and as the forests returned, much of the land was harvested for timber. A road stretched from Raleigh to Fayetteville crossed the Cape Fear River via the Northington Ferry and served as the area's major transportation route. Locks and dams were built along the river to facilitate navigation by boat, and Raven Rock became an important landmark for river pilots. After a hurricane destroyed the locks and dams in 1859, the structures were not replaced; railroad transportation eliminated the need for river travel. As new roads were built, the ferry was closed and Raven Rock became a popular recreation spot. The remnants of the Northington lock and dam are seen in the park. In 1965, interest grew in preserving the area as a state park, and local citizens organized support for the project. In 1969, a bill establishing the park was passed in the General Assembly. More than 220 acres of land were purchased and another 170 acres were donated by Burlington Industries. Additional tracts have since been purchased, bringing the park to its present size of 4,684 acres.

11 days ago

It’s a trail littered with roots so be careful when walking. After Florence, the trail to the falls and the part of the loop are closed off.

hiking
16 days ago

We enjoyed our hike today but unfortunately Raven Rock Trail was close but we at least reach to the overlook and it’s a pretty cool view over the Cape Fear River. This State Park is well maintain with helpful & friend staff who make sure we are on the right trail.

Good trail; moderately uphill/downhill at times. Was just fine with three dogs. Plenty of opportunities for them to hop in the water and cool off/swim.

Beautiful trail but there were trees blocking a small portion of the path.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Awesome MTB trail, it has good downhill flow, can be quick at times along with catching a little air, and the uphill climbs are easy to moderate.

I moved from Fayetteville 10 years ago and pleasantly surprised when I visited this year at the improvements, beautiful welcome/learning center. I took my niece and had an incredible time! We went off the path, which allowed me to see parts I had not previously explored. I cannot wait for my next trip! This is family and pet friendly, lots of shade.

paddle sports
2 months ago

I’ve kayaked the Lower Cape Fear river from Fayetteville to Wilmington in 4.5 days on one trip and the upper from the dam to Lillington. The upper half has a good current for flat water but the lower is mostly class A’s. I enjoyed this river because it was chill but had to portage to often in challenging spots with lots of gear. Would still paddle it again.

Easy trail, well marked. A few wet areas and a small creek but you can stay dry crossing. 4.66 miles according to Fit Bit

pretty little, shady trail along the creek and perfect for dogs (and humans) in the heat/humidity. we walked along the creek to check out the group camps and canoe launches and retraced the trail back to stay near the water. lots of places to let the dogs cool off/hydrate in the creek all down the trail. it's a little taste of the mountains in the Piedmont.

3 months ago

This park has great trails for all levels. Beautiful!

loved this trail. there is an elaborate narrow wood stair case to take you down to the river, where you get a good view of the rocks. saw a copperhead, deer, frogs, fish, and owls. Take all the small extra out-and-backs (to see overlooks and the fish traps). the fish traps are igneous rocks in the river used by native Americans to trap fish. it's very humid in the summer, but shaded almost the whole time. there is a lot of Creek and river water to drink along the way if you have a filter bottle.

Hiked this trail yesterday with my family. Met some really nice people along the trail. You’ll definitely work up a sweat on this one! The trail was very long and in my families opinion it was not worth the long walk to the tiny waterfall. We hike a lot in other states and have seen some amazing and very large waterfalls and this one happened to be a baby waterfall and for it being such a long walk 5 miles in and out it just didn’t seem worth it! It really wasn’t a waterfall looked like they placed a rock in the water and a stream of water just runs over it lol.

The trail is very well maintained. I didn't see a single person, but I saw lots of wildlife including frogs, squirrels, and deer. I did this hike at dawn and saw about a dozen deer that let me walk within 15 meters of them. The entire trail is shaded with benches and garbage cans along the way for breaks. The views are okay, but not spectacular. To me this was a difficulty level and type of nature walk/day hike for a family with young kids. Also, signs have been posted NO mountain biking.

The trail was very muddy due to recent rain. The rain was great for the stream which had good volume and flow. Be sure to bring along water footwear so you can cross the stream, which is the highlight of the hike. Be aware this is a horse trail, so watch your step.

Nice views, not too busy mid afternoon. Bring bug spray the water causes mosquitoes.

Just be mindful of all the biker

hiking
4 months ago

This has everything you need for a great day / hike. Plenty of canopy cover, wide paths, good elevation for cardio, streams for your pet to drink, awesome scenery and the sound of birds and water. I highly recommend this for family outings although going alone is great too.

This was my first time to Raven Rock, Hiked to the falls, I'm a little out of shape but have done a good out of hiking in the past. I did a little bit more than just the loop and was about 5.2 miles right at 2 hrs with a few stops. Great hike if you want to get out there and see what this state has to offer but don't want to spend all day hiking. A few inclines in there but nothing very steep.

hiking
6 months ago

Lovely rocks!

6 months ago

great trail, great views... those stairs are ridiculous and it's usually too crowded.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful! Easy trail a bit harder for younger kids but works out because at the end there is a place to jump into the river. If you are looking for some fitness and fun for the summer time this is perfect and if you are just looking to get some good cardio in or nature appreciation then this is perfect.

Great trail and view!

Great day hike and good to start conditioning. It’s just a little out in the middle of no where.

trail running
8 months ago

Great place for a run alone or in a group. Beautiful area and fun for any hiker.

hiking
8 months ago

I took my 6 year old son with me to do this trail and we had an absolute blast. There was still snow on the ground so it wasn't crowded like usual and made for a very peaceful hike.

Absolutely beautiful trail to hike with your dog! Definitely a moderate trail with a few small inclines.

Very clean and nice park. Well maintained and friendly park rangers.

It was a nice walk because we were short on time, but we didn’t feel there was much of interest. We’re returning to Raven Rock to try some of the longer trails that take you past more interesting natural features - like the Cape Fear River.

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