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Late Autumn Hike at Raven Rock

posted Nov 22, 2017, 5:20 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 24, 2017, 3:50 PM ]
Wednesday, I took a floating holiday for the day before Thanksgiving since Sandy had the day off and we took Alex to Raven Rock State Park.  Parking at the visitor center, we took the Raven Rock Loop Trail and then took the Fish Traps Trail down to the river.  The water level was up a bit, and we had to jump across just above a scenic cascades.

Once across, it was easy to get out into the middle of the Cape Fear River and take a short break.

Alex was really enjoying the view of the river out here.

Then we headed back to Raven Rock Trail and made a quick stop at the overlook, high above the river.

The trees near the river had lost most of their leaves, but further from the water, there was a lot of color.  I was surprised how the fall foliage had lasted so long into November.  We continued on and headed down to Raven Rock and stopped for a snack break.

It was a week day and we had arrived early enough to have the area to ourselves.  That's not too common at Raven Rock.  I walked around to get some pictures and then we headed back up.

We had gotten there at the right time as more people were arriving as we were heading up.  We took the Little Creek Loop Trail out again, further from there river here, there was some nice color.

Where the loop cut back around, we followed the Group Camp Trail down to the river.

Then we headed back taking Little Creek and Raven Rock Trails back to the parking area.  Just outside the park, we turned on the gravel Moccasin Branch Road and parked at the Overflow Parking and trailhead for Mountain Laurel Loop Trail.  This is the newest trail in the park and primarily for mountain biking, but also open to hikers.  We hiked the loop in the clockwise direction, opposite the bikers.  The total loop was a little over 6 miles and it was a nice trail.  True to its name, there was a lot of Mountain Laurel along the trail.  I imagine in early May, it puts on quite a show.  There was also a lot of nice fall color along the trail.

We really lucked out on our hike.  After finishing, we headed to Fuquay and had dinner at Aviator.  Alex had a couple tator tots with his dinner and he sure enjoyed them.