The return of N.C. State Parks

Portions of the 29 North Carolina State Parks that had been closed as a result of the coronavirus reopened this past weekend. Some reopened all their trails, some just a few. It’s worth a visit to the N.C. State Parks Facebook page for a sense of how things went systemwide. You’ll need to go beyond the photo of cars queued up as far as the eye can see at Raven Rock State Park to get a sense of what Reopening Day was like. 

It’s not clear what time that photo was taken, but one person who visited Raven Rock left this comment: “Got there SUPER early and enjoyed an AMAZING hike on Campbell Loop. Parking lot was empty when we got there, full when we left, as expected. Pays to be an early bird!”

A hiker at Carver’s Creek State Park only saw three families. Morrow Mountain S.P. also had plenty of room for roaming, said another observer.

I hiked at Eno River State Park, arriving a few minutes after it opened at 8 Sunday morning. When I left around 10, there were 16 cars in the main lot at the Fews Ford Access, about par for a Sunday morning, maybe even less than you might expect on a morning that felt more like fall than May (temperature of 39, cloudless skies). We went to Occoneechee State Natural Area this morning and saw one person on the trail.

How will it be next weekend? Not as crowded, we suspect. The forecast calls for the first hot weather of the year — upper 80s — and that’s bound to keep the fair-weather hikers away. 

We’ll have more on the prospects for weekend adventure Friday. For now, enjoy our visit to Eno River State Park on Sunday, in this brief video.

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