Segment 9 Alternate Route

Friends of the MST has developed an alternative route in eastern Alamance and western Orange County that approximates, mostly on roads, the planned future route of the MST. (Click here for more information about the primary route.) The “Piedmont Triad” map on our Future Plans page shows this planned corridor—it is the dotted line south of the current route between Burlington and Hillsborough. The planned route will follow the Haw River south from the Burlington area to Saxapahaw and then head northeast from Saxapahaw past the Cane Creek Reservoir toward the Seven Mile Creek Natural Area and into Hillsborough.

The alternate route is longer than the route described in the guidebook and shown on the interactive Google map (29.6 vs. 14.3 miles) and follows winding roads with occasional narrow bridges and shoulders and a few blind curves. However, it provides a glimpse of what the future route could look like, currently highlighted by a short stretch of the Haw River Trail near Swepsonville and the mill village of Saxapahaw, which is emerging as a cultural center for the area.

For purposes of trail completion, Friends will accept either route.

Turn-by-turn directions for the alternative route are set out below the map.

Disclaimer

Hiking Directions

Eastbound

0.0        At Mile 34.4 of the primary route, instead of continuing straight across Trollingwood Rd., turn right.

1.0        Continue onto Jimmie Kerr Rd. where Trollingwood Rd. turns off to the left.

1.7        Cross bridge over I-40/I-85.

2.8        At four-way stop intersection, turn right on Cherry Ln.

3.5        At T-intersection, turn right on E. Harden St.

3.7        Cross bridge over Haw River, then take the next left onto Cooper Rd.

4.3        At angled four-way intersection, bear left to stay on Cooper Rd.

5.3        At T-intersection, turn left on Swepsonville Rd.

5.6        Shortly before reaching a bridge over the Haw River, turn right on Boy Wood Rd.

5.8        Turn left into Swepsonville River Park. Continue through gravel parking lot onto access spur to Haw River Trail. (Parking)

5.9        Just before reaching the river, turn right on Haw River Trail. Note: The trail to the left continues upstream for approximately 0.4 mile. Eventually, it will connect to the main portion of the Haw River Trail at Red Slide Park.

6.4        At the confluence of the Haw River and Big Alamance Creek, the trail reaches a gravel parking area. Turn right to follow the driveway. (Parking)

6.5        Turn left on Boy Wood Rd., then cross bridge over Big Alamance Creek. Use care on the bridge, as the shoulders are narrow.

7.3        Pass Southwick Dr. and a sign for the Southwick Golf Course on the left.

7.6        Turn left on Preacher Holmes Rd.

9.5        Cross a narrow bridge with no shoulder.

10.0      Cross a second narrow bridge, this one with a small shoulder on the right side.

10.5      Turn left on Cedar Cliff Rd.

11.3      At Cedar Cliff Methodist Church, turn left on Rumley Rd.

13.4      Turn left on Petty Rd.

14.1      At T-intersection, turn left to stay on Petty Rd.

14.2      At T-intersection, turn left on Church Rd.

14.3      Cross bridge over arm of Haw River.

14.4      Pass entrance to Saxapahaw Island Park on right, then cross bridge over main channel of Haw River. (Parking)

14.5      At the end of the bridge, enter the village of Saxapahaw. The road curves to the right and becomes Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd. (Parking, Food, Supplies)

15.5      Continue straight past Mineral Springs Rd. on left.

17.2      Continue straight through four-way intersection with Thom Rd.

18.4      At traffic light, continue straight across NC 54. The road changes names to Mebane Oaks Rd.

19.5      At four-way intersection, turn right on Bradshaw Quarry Rd.

20.2      Continue straight past Teer Rd. on right.

21.3      Pass Oak Grove Church Rd. on left.

22.9      Cross narrow bridge over small creek.

23.3      At four-way stop intersection, turn left on Buckhorn Rd.

24.0      Turn right on Chestnut Ridge Church Rd., the first significant road since the last turn.

25.7      Pass through power-line cut.

26.7      Pass Chestnut Ridge Methodist Church on left.

28.4      At T-intersection, turn right on Mt. Willing Rd.

29.6      At blinking light just before I-40/I-85 overpass, turn right on W. Ten Rd. to resume the primary route at Mile 48.7.

Westbound

0.0        At Mile 11.3 of the primary route, instead of turning right on Mt. Willing Rd., turn left.

1.2        Turn left on Chestnut Ridge Church Rd., with a sign for Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center.

3.0        Pass Chestnut Ridge Methodist Church on right.

4.0        Pass through power-line cut.

5.6        At T-intersection, turn left on Buckhorn Rd.

6.3        At four-way stop intersection, turn right on Bradshaw Quarry Rd.

6.8        Cross narrow bridge over small creek.

8.3        Pass Oak Grove Church Rd. on right.

9.4        Continue straight past Teer Rd. on left.

10.1      At four-way intersection, turn left on Mebane Oaks Rd.

11.3      At traffic light, continue straight across NC 54. The road changes names to Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd.

12.5      Continue straight through four-way intersection with Thom Rd.

14.1      Continue straight past Mineral Springs Rd. on right.

14.9      Enter the village of Saxapahaw. (Parking, Food, Supplies)

15.1      Bear left onto Church Rd. and cross bridge over main channel of Haw River.

15.2      Pass entrance to Saxapahaw Island Park on left, then cross bridge over another arm of Haw River. (Parking)

15.4      Take first right onto Petty Rd.

15.5      Take first right to stay on Petty Rd.

16.2      At T-intersection, turn right on Rumley Rd.

18.4      At T-intersection next to Cedar Cliff Methodist Church, turn right on Cedar Cliff Rd.

19.2      At T-intersection, turn right on Preacher Holmes Rd.

19.7      Cross a narrow bridge with a small shoulder.

20.1      Cross a second narrow bridge with no shoulder.

22.1      At T-intersection, turn right on Boy Wood Rd.

22.4      Pass Southwick Dr. and a sign for the Southwick Golf Course on the right.

23.1      Cross bridge over Big Alamance Creek, then turn right on driveway marked “Burlington-Swepsonville River Park & Trails.” Use care on the bridge, as the shoulders are narrow.

23.2      At the gravel parking area at the confluence of the Haw River and Big Alamance Creek, go left on the trail to follow the Haw River upstream. (Parking)

23.8      Turn left onto access trail leading to Swepsonville River Park. Continue through gravel parking lot and turn right on Boy Wood Rd. Note: The trail straight ahead continues upstream for approximately 0.4 mile. Eventually, it will connect to the main portion of the Haw River Trail at Red Slide Park. (Parking)

24.1      At T-intersection, turn left on Swepsonville Rd.

24.3      Take first right on Cooper Rd.

25.4      At angled four-way intersection, bear right to stay on Cooper Rd.

25.9      At T-intersection, turn right on E. Harden St. The bridge ahead has a sidewalk only on the right side, so it may be better to stay on this side until after the bridge.

26.0      Cross bridge over Haw River.

26.2      Take the next left onto Cherry Ln.

26.8      At four-way stop intersection, turn left on Jimmie Kerr Rd.

28.0      Cross bridge over I-40/I-85.

28.7      Continue straight through intersection where Trollingwood Rd. comes in from the right. The road you are on becomes Trollingwood.

29.6      Just before a bridge over railroad tracks, turn left on Stone St. to resume the primary route at Mile 25.5.