The very first stamp in our North Carolina State Parks Passport was courtesy of Carver’s Creek State Park.
This park is only 15 minutes from Fort Bragg and even closer to our home in Spring Lake. Carver’s Creek is only 1 of 23 State Parks that are within a 2.5 hour driving distance from Fort Bragg. (You can see a list of all the nearby state parks here.)
We actually picked up our passports at the Carver’s Creek office, so their stamp was already in it’s place. After we left the office and took a quick look through our new passports, we were off on our first passport official hike.
Carver’s Creek Hike
Carver’s Creek State Park opened in 2013, making it the newest state park in North Carolina. Four thousand acres of land for the park was a gift to the state from the Rockefeller family. The park centers around their family’s winter retreat – Long Valley Farm.
There are only 2 hiking trails at the park. Both trails are less than a mile long and are considered easy hikes. The main trail begins on a sandy road that leads down to the family’s house.
This part of the trail runs along an open field. This meant that, at this point in the afternoon, there was no shade. My youngest started complaining pretty much right away, about being hot and tired
Once we reached the wood line close to the house and into the shade, she was a little better. She still wasn’t thrilled about walking around in the woods, but at least she was cooler and out of the sun.
The Missing Pond
Once we passed the house, we expected to see the millpond. However, a flood damaged the pond’s dam in 2016 and as of August 2018 it has still not been fixed. Thus, there was no pond, just an open space full of cypress stumps and grass. The park’s website states that there is fishing available at Carver’s Creek, but as you can see, that is not the case.
The mill is still there, but there is a fence around it and you can’t get close to it. I must admit that we were pretty disappointed.
We took a few pictures and the girls climbed on some stumps and played together. But it wasn’t long before we were ready to leave and took the trail back to the parking lot.
Later in the fall, my husband and I went to Carver’s Creek for a walk without the kids. We ended up walking more than 3 miles through the park. The trees were just beginning their transition to fall colors, the air was crisp, and the day was beautiful. Carver’s Creek reputation had been redeemed in my mind. After that day, this park became a regular spot for my daily morning walks.
If you’re taking kids to Carver’s Creek, I recommend bringing something for them to do or play with. My kids were quickly bored at this park, as there wasn’t much for them to do or see. (I wish I would have printed out a scavenger hunt for them to complete.) However, for adults, Carver’s Creek is the perfect place for daily walks or runs. I’ve seen several people walking their dogs and soldiers training with their rucksacks.
Carver’s Creek State Park is still working to repair the dam and reinstate the millpond. There is also a plan in place to add more amenities to the park over time. I am excited to see what it looks like in a few years!
Make sure to check out this post about our Weymouth Woods hike too!