There are two entrances to this trail: one at the Jordan Soccer Complex off Treetop Dr (so says the brochure) and the other at Clark Park off Sherman Dr. Since we were familiar with the latter, we parked in the gravel parking lot at the end of Sherman and walked across the railroad tracks to the Nature Center at Clark Park to use the restroom before we began the hike, and to take another look at the waterfall behind the Center:
Unfortunately, we're not permitted to hike into the ravine to take pictures or to stand near the falls to show scale. But it drops a good thirty or more feet, and besides providing that lovely waterfall sound, it has, growing around it, good company, which tickled the mountain part of our heart:
Fully refreshed, we walked back to the parking lot and entered the trailhead nearly hidden in the trees, and began our walk along the Cape Fear River Trail.
We walked over a boardwalk and along a wide, paved path for a quarter mile or so, then--strangely--had to turn right and walk on the grassy sides of Eastwood Ave until it dead-ended just up the road. We then turned left onto the main artery of the trail.
From this point, you can walk, jog, or bike the four mile trail that cuts through tall trees alongside the Cape Fear River. We crossed two bridges on our short hike, keeping track of our distance with numbers blazed on the path in blue triangles. Further up the road, beyond the point we turned around, is a covered bridge and trestle boardwalk. A good excuse for a return visit.
Water stations are placed along the trail and are periodically checked. During our hike, we stopped to chat with the man filling them that day. We also had a nice conversation with one of the police officers who patrol the trail.
The Cape Fear River Trail is one of several trails organizers hope will eventually stretch from the Florida Keys to Maine. Yes, an Urban AT!
The trail closes at dusk. For more information, including a map and a "Before You Go" list, go to www.fcpr.us/river_trail.php