River otters and Great Blue Heron, scenic wetlands and large rock formations.
Walk, run or bike along one of Mecklenburg County’s numerous greenways, and there’s a good chance you’ll see one or more of those along the way.
There are 37 miles of developed and 150 miles of undeveloped greenways in Mecklenburg County, stretching from Davidson to Matthews, and ranging from long paved paths in University City to a gravel 5K cross-country course in southeast Charlotte.
Built in 1978, the McAlpine Creek Greenway, which connects with the Campbell Creek Greenway, is Charlotte’s oldest. The main gravel trail is 4.08 miles long, going from Sardis Road to W.T. Harris Boulevard in southeast Charlotte.
The greenway also features a 1.5-mile Cottonwood Nature Trail near Sardis Road and a 5K cross-country course near at the greenway’s main entrance on Monroe Road. The cross-country course regularly hosts area high school and college cross-country races. The trail is the only greenway in Charlotte where you can see river otter, beaver and mink all in one area.
The county’s longest greenway trail is the Mallard Creek and Clark’s Creek Greenway in University City. The trail is more than seven miles long – 5.9 miles paved, 1.2 miles gravel – and connects University City neighborhoods with the University Research Park and Kirk Farm Fields near UNC Charlotte.
The recently opened Ruth G. Shaw Trail on Toby Creek Greenway branches off the Mallard Creek Greenway and goes through UNC Charlotte’s campus to University City Boulevard.
For more urban scenery, Little Sugar Creek Greenway runs in the shadow of uptown Charlotte. The urban section of the greenway opened earlier this year, going from Central Piedmont Community College to Park Road Shopping Center.
The trail is part of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and Stream Restoration project and will eventually stretch 19 miles up and down the county. Little Sugar Creek is a key part Mecklenburg County’s section of the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional trail network launched in 2007 that eventually will span 15 counties.
More than 10 other greenways across the county offer scenic trails, like the Lower McAlpine and McMullen Creek Greenway in south Charlotte with its boardwalks stretching over wetlands with Great Blue Heron, and Huntersville’s Torrence Creek Greenway with its large rock formations, some as big as school buses.
From paved trails for biking to gravel trails for cross-country running, the Mecklenburg County greenway system offers a wide variety of scenic options. Just don’t go too fast and miss the view.