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Walking trails in Chatham County

Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004

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The good news is physical activity does not have to be very hard to provide health benefits. For example, walking is fun and can help people feel great! Brisk walking for 30 minutes, 4 to 7 days of the week, will provide many health benefits.

These health benefits include reducing the risk of morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and certain cancers.

Regular walking has also been associated with improved mental health, including reduced anxiety, tension and depression and improved self-esteem.

Regular walkers will experience increased energy level and stamina, better sleep and lower stress levels. Improved muscle tone in the shin, calves and thighs will also be noticed.

Walking Trails in Chatham County, North Carolina that are available to the general public (no camping required)

Trails in or near Pittsboro

1. THANKS (Trail for Health, Art, and Nature for Kids to Seniors)

Directions: The trailhead is located at the Central Carolina Community College, off of Highway 64 in Pittsboro.

Description: The trail is paved with fitness stations along part of trail. The trailhead is located at the far parking lot of the college. The length is approximately one mile.


2. Pittsboro Jaycee Park Trail
Directions: The trail is located in Pittsboro at the Jaycee Park. The trail can be accessed from four separate locations: 1) Jaycee Park parking lot off Highway 87/902, 2) behind baseball field at Pittsboro Elementary School, 3) end of Cotton Street, and 4) end of Dianne Street.

Description: The trail is a combination of grass, dirt, and wooden walkways. The trail runs around the lake at Jaycee Park, with a bridge that extends over the dam to Dianne Street.


3. St. Matthews AME Zion Church Trail

Directions: The trail is located at St. Matthews AME Zion Church. From Pittsboro take Old Goldston Road to Highway 902W. Follow 902W for 2.7 miles and then turn right to continue on 902W. Go 0.5 miles and the church will be on the left.

Description: The trail is gravel and the length is approximately 1/8th of a mile.


Trails in Siler City:

For more information call Donald Dones at 919-742-2699

1. Boling Lane Park Trail
Directions: Traveling West on Highway 64, turn left onto East Raleigh Street. This turns into West Raleigh Street. Take a left onto South Fir Street. Parking will be on the right.

Description: The trail is gravel and approximately 1/5 mile.


2. Paul Braxton Field Trail
Directions: Traveling West on Highway 64, turn left onto East Raleigh Street. Turn left onto North 3rd Avenue. The trail will be on the left behind Siler City Community Center.

Description: The trail is gravel and approximately 1/5 mile. No walking during games, since the trail circles the softball field.


3. Washington Avenue Park Trail
Directions: Traveling West on Highway 64, turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Turn right onto 14th Street. Parking will be on the right.

Description: The trail is gravel and approximately 1/5 mile. The park closes at 10:00pm.


Trails around or in Jordan Lake State Recreation Area:
For more information call 919-362-0586


1. Ebenezer Church Recreation Area

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E to the stoplight in Wilsonville (this is the first traffic signal you come to after crossing Jordan Lake). Turn right onto Beaver Creek Road (Exxon and Mobil gas stations are at this intersection). The entrance to Ebenezer Recreation Area will be on the right a couple of miles down the road.

Description: Trail maps available as you enter the recreation area. The Old Oak Trail is 0.9 miles (easy, red blazed) and begins at the parking area in picnic area A (after entering the park, take the first road right; the kiosk will be on the right where parking begins). The Ebenezer Church Trail is 0.9 miles (easy, red blazed) and begins at the beach area near the picnic tables.

Hours and Fee: Open May through August from 8:00am – 9:00pm; September, October and April from 8:00am – 8:00pm; March 8:00am – 7:00pm; and November through February from 8:00am – 6:00pm. Admission is charged on weekends only during April, May, and September and daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No charge from October through March.


2. Jordan Lake Dam Area

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take Highway 87S. Turn left onto 1012 South (Moncure-Pittsboro Road). Travel several miles and turn left onto Jordan Dam Road. Turn right at the sign that says “Dam and Day Use Area”. Then turn right into the “Tailrace Day Use Area”. Parking will be at the bottom of the hill. Two trail kiosks are located on the right, about 50 feet apart.

Description: Midland and Highland Trails are unpaved and marked with orange paint. These trails are a bit more strenuous than the other trails near Jordan Lake.

Fee: No charge.


3. Jordan Lake Education State Forest

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E. Travel out of town and after the first stoplight travel approximately one more mile and turn left onto Big Woods Road. Travel several miles to the Jordan Lake Education State Forest Site on the right (gravel road entrance).

Description: Trail maps are available at the park office. The Talking Tree Trail is 0.75 miles, unpaved, red blazed, and provides “talking trees” along the way with recorded messages about its history and surroundings. This is a great trail for kids! The Forest Demonstration Trail is 1.5 miles, unpaved, green blazed, and shows forest management practices along the way.

Hours and Fee: Open year around except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call 919-542-1154 to verify hours, which are also posted on a sign at the entrance. No fee is charged.


4. New Hope Overlook Recreation Area

Directions: Traveling East on Highway 64, turn right onto Beaver Creek Road in Wilsonville. Turn right onto Pea Ridge Road and then turn right onto W.H. Jones Road. Park at the boat ramp. The kiosk is located at the far end of the parking lot.

Description: The trail is unpaved, follows red blazes, and is approximately 1 mile in length with more to come! To make it a loop, you can walk the gravel road back to the parking area.

Hours and Fee: No charge.


5. Seaforth Recreation Area

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E. Just after crossing Jordan Lake turn right into Seaforth Recreation Area. Follow the road until it dead ends into a parking lot. The trail begins near the beach bathhouse on the right at a gray sign and kiosk.

Description: Trail maps available as you enter the recreation area. The Pond Trail is 1.4 miles, red blazed, and not paved.

Hours and Fee: Open May through August from 8:00am – 9:00pm; September, October and April from 8:00am – 8:00pm; March 8:00am – 7:00pm; and November through February from 8:00am – 6:00pm. Admission is charged on weekends only during April, May, and September and daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No charge from October through March.


6. Vista Point Recreation Area

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E. After traveling several miles, turn right onto North Pea Ridge Road (it will be called Mount Gilead Church Road on the left). Travel a couple of miles until the road dead-ends into Vista Point Recreation Area. If coming from Highway 64 heading West, turn left onto Seaforth Road (it will be called Big Woods Road to the right). Travel a couple of miles and at stop sign turn left onto North Pea Ridge Road. This road dead-ends into Vista Point Recreation Area.

The trail kiosk for the Vista Point Trail is located about 1/3 mile down at a restroom / parking lot area. The trail kiosk for the Tobacco Barn Trail is located at the park entrance immediately on the right. It can also be reached by starting in group camping about 1/3 mile down on the right, at #1 parking area (from here head right to the kiosk).

Description: Trail maps available as you enter the recreation area during fee season. Map also posted on sign near trail parking area. The Tobacco Barn Trail is 1.2 miles (easy, blue blazed, unpaved) and travels to an old tobacco barn. The Vista Point Trail is 2.7 miles (easy, red blazed, unpaved) and travels in part along the lake shore.

Hours and Fee: Open May through August from 8:00am – 9:00pm; September, October and April from 8:00am – 8:00pm; March 8:00am – 7:00pm; and November through February from 8:00am – 6:00pm. Admission is charged on weekends only during April, May, and September and daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No charge from October through March.


7. Weaver Creek Trail

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E to the stoplight in Wilsonville (~8 miles, this is the first traffic signal you come to after crossing Jordan Lake). Turn right onto Beaver Creek Road (SR 1008, Exxon and Mobil gas stations are at this intersection). Drive ~3.7 miles, passing Ebenezer Church on the right and the Ebenezer Boat launch area. Cross the bridge over Jordan Lake and immediately turn right onto Pea Ridge Road (SR 1972). Drive ~1.1 miles to the parking area on left onto Lower Thrift Road (SR 1907, gravel road). Park on the left in the flat, sandy area.

Description: Begin at the small hiker sign. Follow the yellow dot blazes on trees for 1.5 miles to end of trail. The double dots mean that the trail is making a fairly sharp turn. This trail is on state game lands, so during hunting season (fall and early winter) be sure to wear blaze orange!

Fee: No charge.


8. Wildlife Observation Deck

Directions: From downtown Pittsboro take 64E to Highway 751. Turn left going north on Highway 751. A parking area for the observation deck is located 5.6 miles on the left.

Description: After walking 0.1 miles, begin the Wildlife Observation Trail 1.4 mile loop. Bald eagles may be seen during the summer, usually in the early morning hours or later in the day.

Fee: No charge.

Trail Related Activities in Chatham County, North Carolina

American Volksmarch
Purpose: Pittsboro year-round event of American Volksmarch (Triangle Trailblazers)

Contact: Maps may be available at the Pittsboro General Store and Cafe near the Courthouse.

Description: 10K walk beginning at the Pittsboro General Store & Café and walking through downtown Pittsboro and surrounding streets.


Chatham County Trails Committee
Purpose: To coordinate trail blazing efforts.

Contact: (1) Bill Bussey at 919-545-9104 or by email at billbus@gte.net or (2) Tracy Burnett at the Chatham County Recreation Department at 919-542-8252 or by email at tracy.burnett@ncmail.net

When and Where: Meets in the Parks & Recreation Department in the Agricultural Building in Pittsboro, located near the round-about.


Chatham Walkers
Purpose: Group of interested walkers who meet to walk regularly.

Contact: Marian Lein at 919-542-4790 or by email at DMLein@earthlink.com

Where: Meets in Pittsboro at the Central Carolina Community College far parking lot.


Community Coalition for an Active Chatham

Purpose: The coalition is a collaborative effort between county citizens and agencies advocating for health through physical activity and fitness.

Contact: Joan Phillips-Trimmer, Chatham County Public Health Department, at (919) 545-8386 or e-mail at joan.phillipstrimmer@ncmail.net.

When and Where: Usually meets monthly. Call for next meeting date and location

 
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