Four Hours in the Triangle: Lower Haw River State Natural Area and Café Carolina and Bakery

May 2, 2014

triangle land conservancy

Spend four hours in the Triangle with our newest recommended weekend itinerary!

10 a.m. Arrive at the Lower Haw River State Natural Area, 502-592 Bynum Rd, Pittsboro. With 1,022 acres on either side of the river itself, the natural area contains both hiking and paddling opportunities. With help from TLC, in 2001 this tract of land was purchased from Duke University, and is just north of Jordan Lake.

10:15 a.m. Start on the Lower Haw River Trail, which begins at the upper end of the paved parking lot. The trail is 4.3 miles, but it is not a loop trail, so go as far as you wish with the knowledge that you will have to turn back and retrace your steps. Two miles in, two miles back will give any walker a chance to see the wildlife and scenery along the river.

Spring on the Lower Haw River is particularly known for its wildflower blooms, especially in the lower forest regions along the river’s floodplains. The trail crosses creeks three times, and rocky outcroppings near the trail are particularly fun when hiking with kids.

Wildlife is abundant on the trail and along the river. In the late spring and summer snakes are often seen sunning themselves on the river’s rocks (don’t worry, none of them are poisonous. The only venomous snake North Carolinians should expect to see in the Triangle is a Copperhead, and they prefer land terrain). Keep a look-out for deer, hawks, and even the occasional Bald Eagle.

Note: Some parts of the trail are less kept up than others. Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to get a little wet.

2:15 p.m. After a beautiful hike, head to Café Carolina and Bakery for a late lunch. Owners Steven Zanella and Ron Hines are committed to their local community, and are supporters of local charities as well as frequent food donors.

Try a Spinach Artichoke flatbread ($8.49), complete with “creamy spinach artichoke dip, garlic, diced and sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan and feta cheese on a crisp grilled crust,” or go with a hearty soup, like Cream of Broccoli, Loaded Potato, or French Onion ($4.49). Finish everything off with one of their signature Café Blue Cupcakes!

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