Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve: Charlotte, NC

trees in the forest at Ribbonwalk Nature PreserveSummer in North Carolina borders between nice and beachy to knocking on hell’s basement. When it’s too hot, we tend to do more hikes and nature walks in the evenings to avoid boiling. For this particular hike, we definitely chose the evening. I had been looking on one of my favorite apps called AllTrails for a trail to go to that was close but had something interesting. Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve kept popping up. Ribbonwalk is a short drive for us and right outside of Charlotte. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was a small parking lot that we almost drove past. It didn’t look like more than 5 or so cars could fit in the parking lot at one time. We were one of 3 at the time. A map kiosk sits at the gate. It is always important to have a map of where you’re going before you get there but also check the map kiosk, if there is one, to double-check for an updated map or if there are any trail notices such as closings or construction.
Trail entrance at Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve in Charlotte, NC
Trail Entrance

From the parking lot, a paved trail takes you to an open area where picnic tables are set and also another gate. Walking around the second gate starts the gravel trail that leads to water and a tiny path that resembled the yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz. We did not spend much time on this trail at all. In fact, it was pretty much just a photo spot for the walkway. The water was pretty stagnant and we saw one lonely picnic table.

brick trail at Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve Charlotte NC
The brick trail

 A sign points in the direction of the individual trails but once you’re on the trail you should definitely remember which color marker you chose or you’ll get turned around.

trail marker at Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve in Charlotte North Carolina
Trail Marker

We started out on the Beachwalk Trail and I guess we missed a marker and ended up on another. Losing your way on a trail is never a good thing but in this particular case, we ended up on the other side of our original path (go figure). We turned around near a small stream and decided to backtrack and ended up on the Hardwood Trail near the Wetland Bog. We have started using less and less technology when on these trails just to get the boys used to traditional ways of way-marking and trail walking and also to be prepared if one or both of our phone batteries die. We have them take notes of unique markings on trees or landmarks that they can remember in case they end up separated from us. They also carry a compass and a whistle as well as a notebook that they keep in their trail bags to take notes.

The wetland bog was slightly flooded. This portion of the trail was pretty dense, even starting out.

Wetland Bog at Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve Charlotte NC
Wetland Bog

Along the trail, the boys read markers about the history of the land that we were walking on as well as the various hardwoods that make up the forest. Through the woods, ruins of an old structure could be seen. We tried to get photos of it but the brush was too thick plus it looked like a snake haven.  As we continued to walk, the forest was more dense and winds quite a bit.

walking the Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve
walking the trail

The trails were quiet  and it’s definitely easy to forget that you’re close to Uptown Charlotte. We didn’t cover anywhere close to the three miles of trail that are reported to cover the preserve. There are a few trails that we didn’t get to and might revisit in the future.

Things that we found interesting:
  • paver trail leading to Irwin Creek (we called it the wizard of oz trail)
  • Wetland Bog with lots to see and birds to watch
  • Informational plaques along the trails
Lessons that we learned/taught while on this trail:
  • read the map carefully,
  • take the time to read and learn about the trails that we’re on whenever there are plaques to read.
  • bring extra bug spray (we ran low for the first time)
  • remember landmarks and any other unique markings along the trail in case you get lost or turned around (without a gps or map)
Where have you gone lately with your family or plan to go that you’d like to share?

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