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Small Falls at Raven Rock

posted Feb 24, 2017, 8:36 AM by Justin P   [ updated Feb 24, 2017, 8:43 AM ]
Saturday, Sandy and I headed to Raven Rock State Park for a hike with Alex.  We left Raleigh and headed south to Lillington, arriving at the park before 10.  The park had suffered damage from Hurricane Matthew, but most of the trails were reopened.  We started on Campbell Creek Loop Trail, turning right after the bridge and following the creek downstream towards the confluence with Cape Fear River.  At the river, I got a couple pictures and then we continued to Lanier Falls.

Although marked as a Falls on the topo map, it's more of a rapid than a waterfall.  In fact, I've been here when the water was so high that it was completely submerged.  Still, being this far east and on the mighty Cape Fear River, it's a cool spot.

The water level was fairly high and the rocks surrounding the Falls were wet so I didn't scramble all the way out.  After a couple pictures, we continued on and finished up the loop.  Back at the visitor center, we got on the Raven Rock Loop Trail to visit the park's namesake.  We followed the trail and first made a quick stop at the overlook with great views of the Cape Fear River from above Raven Rock.

Then we hiked to the stairs and descended to the base.  It was very crowded down here on such a warm February day.  We found a spot near the octopus tree to sit and have a snack.  Alex met another husky, but he snapped at Alex.

After our snack, we headed back up and finished the loop back at the parking lot.  From here, we drove to the north side of the park to hike the West Bridle Loop.  Hiking in the counterclockwise direction, we followed the trail north towards River Road, crossing Avents Creek along the road.  Just upstream of the road was a small four-foot slide.

Across the bridge, the trail headed back to the woods and soon we came to a closed section.  This trail still isn't completely repaired after Hurricane Matthew.  Fortunately, they have a detour and we followed this to the ford on Avents Creek.  Jumping Fish Falls, a small, but surprisingly nice waterfall was just upstream of the ford.

Although only five feet high, the water level was up and it was quite photogenic.  I got pictures from both sides of the creek.

We had to ford and it was rather cold, but Alex didn't seem to mind.  From here, it was just a short hike back up to the car.  On the way home, we stopped in Fuquay-Varina for dinner at Aviator.  It's dog-friendly, so we sat outside with Alex and had some good food and beer.