By Guest Blogger Sandy Harper
Let’s talk about an outdoor hideaway, tucked in the middle of Farmington, NC. I would have never known about the Farmington Nature Park if my kids weren’t part of the Kids in Parks adventures. Nestled behind a community center, lies a nature park that has all that one might want in nature: wetlands, fields, woods, creek and multi-terrain trails.
If you follow the directions your GPS provides, you may wind-up in the wrong parking lot. The entrance is off of Farmington Rd. Between the tennis courts of the community center and the Davie County emergency service building. Before passing through the gates of the park, I suggest taking a picture of the trail map that is posted by the gate, unless you thought ahead and printed one off online. You will then pull-up into a dirt/gravel parking lot.
Beware, if there has been a lot or even moderate rain recently, wear the appropriate footwear. The first part of your hike will be through the wetland area and it can be quite muddy and full of puddles after rain. This section is short but fun to adventure around, looking for water birds, plants and critters.
From there you will venture down an open trail (large enough for service vehicles to drive down) that aligns with a large field. My kiddos and their friends love to run, cartwheel and chase each other through this open space. The last time we went we noticed the butterflies were starting to come back!
As you continue down this open path, you will come to a recently built picnic shelter and a well maintained Port-a-John (this is the only bathroom we have found). You will also find your first entrance to the wooded trail. Be aware, you will be sharing some of the same trail areas with Frisbee Golf players. There are a few trail options to take. You could take the upper trail that boarder the forest line along a field or take the path that heads downhill toward Cedar Creek. Throughout the different paths, you will find many of the trees have signs with their names on them. Which is great, especially in the winter months when it is harder to identify trees (at least it is for me).
If you are into Geocaching then you will love that there are a few to find in this park. My son and I love the “treasure” hunt feel you get from geocaching. Hint: There is one on the bank of Cedar Creek.
There are lovely nature spots to stop for a rest, snack or lunch. On one of our ventures here, my kids found this amazing fallen tree that sat perfect for eating and then for adventure climbing. I loved watching them all try to figure out balance and trusting certain handholds. The older one helping the younger ones in the tough spots truly made my heart smile. I feel there is so much more giving of oneself when in nature. But that’s a rabbit trail for another day. Note that there are a few trashcans sprinkled through the park. So please hold on to your trash and dispose of it properly when you come across one.
If your kids (and yourself) are anything like us, you will love the creek area. There are plenty of beachy spots along the bank. Thus, it is perfect for throwing stones or sticks, watching birds play, fishing and searching for all kinds of nature treasures. Keep a look out because you may see signs of rabbits, ducks, deer and beavers.
Let me reinforce the fact that there is an active Frisbee golf course that intersects and/or runs close by the nature hiking/biking trails. The players were considerate and patient but there needs to be awareness to not run into the path of players. The hiking trail is also for bikes, though I haven’t seen anyone biking when we have gone.
We have visited this park a few times now and I still feel we haven’t seen it all. The hiking/biking trails are in total about two miles. I’m certain that each season brings with it new sights, adventures and life to experience. Additionally, the park plans to increase the parking areas, add an amphitheater, more picnic shelters and benches along the trails.
This park has become one of my favorite go to spots for a fun nature morning or afternoon. I have yet to find it loaded with people, so it is easy to go at your own pace and explore. The terrain is easy to moderate. All of which is ideal when you have a bunch of little ones. Farmington Nature Park is the perfect hidden gem for nature lovers of all ages!
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