YOU’RE NEVER TOO FAR FROM…ONE OF NORTH CAROLINA’S GREAT STATE PARKS

With all of the recreational opportunities right here at Belmont Lake Preserve, why would you ever want to leave? Sometimes it can be nice to get away just for the afternoon—and Medoc Mountain State Park is only 24 miles from Belmont Lake Preserve.

Don’t expect a lot of ‘mountain’ at Medoc Mountain State Park near Hollister in Halifax County. The highest point is only 325 feet above sea level, eroded peak formed by volcanic action some 300 million years ago. What you will find is a peaceful serenity among the park’s wooded slopes, hiking trails, open meadow, and Fishing Creek that meanders for a couple of miles through the park.

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great-state-park6The park’s 10 miles of trails are the best way to explore Medoc Mountain State Park, and most are an easy hike. Winding through the rolling terrain you’ll see an artesian well, miniature rapids, and granite outcroppings that are a remnant of the range of mountains that existed in eastern North Carolina long ago. There are bridle trails for equestrians with convenient trailhead parking. And twice each year (in May and October) there are trail races ranging from 5k to a marathon that wind through the park. (More information is available at medoctrailraces.com and medocspringrace.com.)

If you’d prefer a less strenuous outing, Medoc Mountain also offers fishing and picnicking. Little Fishing Creek is one of the cleanest streams in North Carolina and in its gently flowing waters you may hook a sunfish, bluegill, or largemouth bass. There’s a choice of picnic locations with 30 tables and 8 grills in shaded woods and the park’s open meadow. In addition to tables and grills, the picnic shelter features a fireplace with restrooms and a water fountain nearby.

Medoc Mountain State Park offers campsites (some with electrical hook-ups) and a variety of programs throughout the year. Educational opportunities include interpretive programs led by park rangers on topics including ecology, geology, astronomy (Medoc Mountain is one of the best locations in the state to observe the night sky), and our relationship with the natural world. You can pick up plant and animal checklists at the park office and discover the park’s varied wildlife on your own. You just may see flying squirrels, river otter, white-tailed deer, or even the rare Carolina mudpuppy (a large salamander) during your afternoon at Medoc Mountain. Bring your binoculars for excellent birdwatching in the forest canopy and along Fishing Creek.great-state-park2

Medoc Mountain State Park is open daily (except Christmas) from 8am to 5pm. Check the State Parks website (at ncparks.gov) for a schedule of programs and activities.

Directions: From Rocky Mount, take I-95 north to exit 160 (Halifax), then NC-561 west for 9 miles to Medoc Mountain State Park, entry sign on the left at SR-1322.