Deep River Trail, Piedmont Environmental Center

Cloud reflections in the lake

Cloud reflections in the lake

The approximately 3.9-mile Deep River Trail* in the Northern Preserve of the Piedmont Environmental Center follows the shoreline of High Point, N.C’s City Lake for nearly two-thirds of its length. The remainder of the distance chiefly consists of sections along the Bicentennial Greenway and the bank of a broad creek. The lake section is punctuated by frequent views of progressively narrower channels, grass-lined shores and mud flats, and ducks and basking turtles. The creek section has footbridges, boulders and ledges, eroded embankments and tea-colored pools, and just enough water to keep things interesting.

Here are a few highlights:
• If you’re hiking in warm weather, be sure to look closely beneath the power lines at the 1.8-mile mark to see the many wildflowers that are growing there such as thistles and wild daisies.
• At approximately 2 miles, look for an old beaver lodge along the shoreline just off the trail to your right. It’s just visible through the trees from the trail, but worth the short detour to see its massive mud-and-stick construction.
• Near the 2.5-mile point, a series of ledges intersect the creek just to the left of the trail, extending for 50 feet or so downstream. Even without a huge water flow, this area is worth exploring for its minute-size cascades and bathtub-shaped pockets of water.
• Although the trail primarily travels through deciduous forest, if you look closely you’ll notice some very large pines scattered through the woods-signs that the area was once cultivated land that later reverted to forest. (I found this observation confirmed as I neared the end of my hike while on the Greenway. There, at about 3.65 miles, the pines suddenly predominate. A sign explains that the Conservation Corps planted the pines before you during the Great Depression on what had formerly been farm land.)

—Mark Caskie

See Deep River Trail photos.

*The Deep River Trail is a loop trail with two entry points off of East Fork Road. I parked at Jamestown Park and crossed the road to begin my hike at a sharp bend in the Bicentennial Greenway turning right to hike the trail in a counterclockwise direction. All distances are from this particular trailhead. Although the Deep River Trail begins and ends with sections along the Greenway, the majority of the hike is a single-track path.

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