Day Hike K: NC 50 to NC 98

The Long Haul

Distance: 7.2 miles

  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Camping: No.
  • Land managers: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Note: Some or all of this trail is on game lands and hunting is allowed. Learn about local hunting seasons here.
  • Volunteer Task Force Leader: Jeff Brewer,
  • Piggyback trail: No.
  • Connecting trails: Occasional trail to lake.
  • Falls Lake Section Nos.: 11, 12.
  • Trailhead/Access: NC 50 and NC 98. Click on map below for specifics.

An old tobacco barn makes a good picnic spot.

Looking for a good, long, uninterrupted hike? Look to this stretch of rolling piedmont forest along Falls Lake from NC 50 west along the southern shoreline to NC 98.

There’s much to recommend on this stretch. Solitude, for one. Unlike other stretches of Falls Lake, especially to the east, you won’t be bumping up against suburbia here. There’s also one of the best-preserved examples of the area’s pre-lake past: a tobacco barn and old livestock building at about the 3.5-mile mark. There’s also abundant natural beauty as well as anomalies such as a rock slab creek just over two miles in.

If 7-plus miles is more than you care to hike, there’s trailhead access at Boyce Mill Road, at the 5.7-mile mark. Odds are, though, you’ll be so scenically smitten you’ll want to forge on.

Geology Highlights: This day-hike crosses the most significant geological boundary in this region, the Jonesboro fault. In fact, it crosses it three times, and runs along it in places as well.  The Jonesboro fault records the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, and it separates older metamorphic rocks on the east from sedimentary rocks of the Triassic basin to the west. The fault is responsible for a change in the character of Falls Lake: to the east the lake is narrow and deep, while to the west it is broad and shallow.

For detailed hiking directions and parking information, download the Segment 10 guide from our Trail Guides page, using the “Primary Trailheads” section to pinpoint the location. You can also visualize the route on our interactive map.