Walking Trails, Summer in McDowell Walking Trails, Summer in McDowell
Catawba Falls Trail

A moderate hike with a climb to the falls, a dirt path with a stream to cross.

From Marion, take Interstate 40 to exit 73. At the end of the ramp turn left. Go under the freeway bridge then almost immediately, take the right toward Old Fort Recreation Park. Youíll think youíre turning the wrong way on the Interstate but youíre not. Make a left. Again, youíll see the sign to Old Fort Recreation Park. Go about 3.5 miles until the road ends.

From the parking lot itís a simple trail to follow.

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls is located in the Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area at MP 339.5 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The trail head is located outside Crabtree Falls Campground at mile marker 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A trail leads to a footbridge over the creek at the base of the falls. The trail head loop starts at the parking area just before the entrance to the campground, and is a medium to strenuous hike at just under 2.5 miles in length. The path to the falls is a rugged, downhill 0.9-mile, with a gentler 1.5-mile uphill return following Crabtree creek upstream before looping back to the parking area.

Footbridge across North Fork River

A moderate hike with hills on the a forest service road

From Marion, take Hwy 221 north toward Sevier. About a mile before you get to the turn off to the American Thread Plant, there is a small community called Woodlawn. You will see a small park and picnic area on the left. Look for parking on either side of the road.

The trail starts at the service road gate on the east side of the highway. From the gate itís a simple trail to follow. Just stay on the forest service road.

Grassy Creek Waterfall Trail

Near the center of town, and just off Chesnut Grove Church Road, is the short hiking trail to the Grassy Creek Falls.

This 30 foot waterfall is located on private property. The property owners have graciously agreed to allow visitors to hike the trail and enjoy the falls. To get there, take Hwy 226a in the center of town to Chesnut Grove Church Road and go under the Parkway overpass. Immediately on your right is the Grassy Creek Falls Road. Turn right and park at the end of that road. There is a map and directions there.

Holly Discovery Trail

The trail is a flat, easy trek through riparian forest adjacent to Paddy's Creek.

The Lake James State Park TRACK Trail adventures (see kiosk at trailhead parking area) were designed for use on the Holly Discovery Trail, but they can be used anywhere within the park trail system. 

Along the trail, young hikers can enjoy 18 interactive educational activity stations. The HDT is a national award-winning trail

Joseph McDowell Memorial Greenway

A flat, peaceful walk along the side of the Catawba River

From Marion, take Hwy 221 north toward Sevier. Soon you will be at the intersection for Hwy 70. Make a left turn onto 70 like you are headed to Old Fort. Cross the freeway intersection and go past the Mc Donaldís. In less than a mile you will see the entrance to the Joseph Mc Dowell Greenway on your right. Turn in and park in the lot. There is a handicap parking spot if needed.

The trail starts at the parking lot. As you enter, check the info at the kiosk on your left.

Peavine Trail

The Peavine Trail runs for 1.5 miles from State Street in downtown Marion, North Carolina to just south of the First Christian Church on Rutherford Road. Construction of the crushed gravel and grass trail began immediately after the City of Marion's purchase of 2.4 miles of the abandoned Peavine Rail Line from Norfolk Southern in 2010.

The rich rail history of the Peavine Trail is evident at the current Rutherford Road endpoint, where barricades prevent access to a gorgeous but structurally unsound original wooden trestle.

Point Lookout Trail

A moderate hike with of around 5 miles up to the lookout point with terrific views!

From Marion, take Interstate 40 west to exit 73. Turn right toward Old Fort. At the big arrowhead turn left onto Hwy 70. In less than a quarter mile make a right turn onto Old Hwy 70. Youíll see a sign pointing to Andrews Geyser. Stay on this road until it ends in about 3 Ĺ miles. You should see the sign pointing to the geyser on the right and the Old Fort Picnic grounds on the left. Continue straight ahead. Youíll see parking and the Forest Service Gate that is the start of the trail.

Tom's Creek Falls

Whether you go to the top of the falls, or stay at the bottom and enjoy the view, this is a moderate trail hike you will love.

From Marion, take Hwy 221 north to Woodlawn. After you pass the picnic grounds on the left the highway starts downhill. Very soon you will see Huskins Branch Rd. on the left. Turn left on to Huskins Branch Rd. After a very short time you will pass a small white church on the left. Further along you will cross an unpaved stretch in the road. When you are back on the pavement youíre very close to the parking area. It will be on your right.

The trail starts from the parking area.

YMCA Greenway Trails

McDowell County has partnered with the Corpening YMCA and several additional partners to develop two greenway loops in the vicinity of the Corpening YMCA facility off of Sugar Hill Road.

Both are just under a mile in length. The George Hutchins Loop is an easier trail with mostly steady grade changes, and is entierly an asphalt paved trail.  the Bill Hendley Loop is more wooded and has several stream crossings, water features and bridges.

MATCH McDowell
McDowell County Health Coalition
MATCH McDowell
McDowell County Health Coalition