Day Hike K: NC 50 to NC 98

The Long Haul

Distance: 7.3 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 gamelands 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 on Section 10.

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 nearly 7 miles is more than you care to hike, there’s trailhead access at Boyce Mill Road, at the 5.8-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.

Day Hike K Map

Click on the link below the Google map to open it up in a larger version which includes definition of the map symbols, hiking notes, and an interactive option for driving to the trailheads.

View MST / Falls Lake / Section 10 in a larger map

Finding Your Way

Thanks to Mark Edelstein for these detailed hiking directions.

Finding Your Way (east » west) Cumulative Mileage Mileage Between Points
Trailhead: NC 50 (north of NC 98, before lake crossing) 0.0 0.0
Reach a power line cut and turn R to follow this. 0.3 0.3
By a pole, turn R, back into the woods. 0.4 0.1
Walk between 2 large, downed trees, both to sides of the trail. 0.5 0.1
Cross a small feeder creek. 0.6 0.1
Turn R to stay on trail and soon cross an old roadbed. 1.0 0.4
After walking through a low area, the trail turns R. 1.4 0.4
Cross a narrow footpath. 1.7 0.3
A view of Rolling View Marina is R, across the lake. 1.8 0.1

The lake comes into full view as the trail starts to curve around a cove.

1.9 0.1
Pass R of a creek with a pretty cascade and start to walk beside it. 2.4 0.5
Cross a small creek on stepping stones. 2.8 0.4
Cross a footpath by trail signage. 2.9 0.1
Turn R by a creek bed and quickly cross it. 3.8 0.9
Cross an open area of woodland. 3.9 0.1
Cross a roadbed and soon pass through the remains of a home site, with a tobacco barn still standing. 4.0 0.1
The trail turns R. 4.1 0.1
Cross an a creek on a footbridge. 4.3 0.2
Cross another creek on a footbridge. 4.5 0.2
Turn L by some trail signage. 4.7 0.2
Turn left and walk along some old barbwire, L. 4.8 0.1
Cross a wide creek. (May be difficult to cross in times of high water.) 5.0 0.02
Pass by the remains of a shed, R, and start to follow an old roadbed. Soon start a mild ascent. 5.2 0.2
Reach gated end of Boyce Mill Road (gravel). Turn R to cross a barrier and enter next section. 5.7 0.5
After turning L off the roadbed, pass by a pond, L. 5.9 0.2

Cross a feeder creek.

6.3 0.4
Cross a small creek bed and soon walk through the cut remains of a large downed tree. 6.6 0.3
Cross a boardwalk and soon junction with a footpath entering from the R. 6.8 0.2
Turn L off a path to stay on the trail 7.1 0.3

Trailhead: NC 98 at Lick Creek. Roadside parking.

7.3 0.2