The North Carolina Piedmont is blessed with a wide diversity of landscapes and an overwhelming number of natural species. Fortunately, the Piedmont also offers an abundance of opportunities to experience these treasures. Federal, state and local parks from Uwharrie to Cedarock are all within a short drive of the Triad and Triangle, and for many of us, we need travel only a few yards from our front doors to experience the grandeur of nature on a daily basis. Which begs the question, why another trail?
For the hiker and outdoorsman, the Haw River Trail offers the promise of a unique experience not found anywhere else in our region. Before the outlet malls and before I-40, the Haw River was truly the lifeline of our region. The banks of the Haw were home to the first Native American communities, and to the first European settlers to the area. In the 19th century, the Haw powered grist mills for the communities that sprang up alongside it, and pushed the turbines that carried the Industrial Revolution to the Piedmont. The factories and villages on the Haw River shaped who we have become, and much of that history remains waiting to be discovered. The Haw River Trail offers hikers an opportunity to walk through our human history, while seeing the natural masterpiece that has been the backdrop for it all.
The promise of the Haw River Trail was made even greater by its inclusion in the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) in 2006. The Haw River Trail’s construction is part of a state-wide effort to complete the MST, which has been over 30 years in the making. Hiking on a trail that stretches across the State brings a different feel to your average Sunday afternoon walk. It’s not the likelihood that you will just keep walking until you reach the ocean that makes it special…it’s the fact that you could, and that one day, you might!