Get Outdoors in Alamance County
Located in central North Carolina, Alamance County has quietly been expanding its hiking and camping opportunities. Discover the best parks for hiking and camping as well as for other outdoor activities.
If you live in or are visiting the Alamance County area, make sure to check out the County’s local parks. Many offer a variety of hiking trails as well as opportunities for other outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, picnicking, or camping.
This guide will recommend a few notable parks for outdoor adventure near the Burlington area.
Located in Southern Alamance County, Cedarock Park offers over 500 acres of picturesque landscape. This thoughtfully managed park includes traditional outdoor activities like hiking and fishing as well as newer sports such as disc golf and soccer golf.
Trails – Cedarock offers over four miles of clearly marked hiking trails as well as six miles of equestrian trails. The trails will take you through varied landscapes; expect to walk past ponds, through woods, and along a creek. When the creek is full, you can also view the waterfall running over the old mill dam.
Sports – This park offers several spots to engage in outdoor sports. It has a stocked fishing pond, a basketball and volleyball court, a playground, a disc golf course and a soccer golf course.
Camping – After recent renovations, Cedarock now offers beautifully maintained campsites that include a designated tent pad, picnic table, and firepit. Each campsite is shaded and within short walking distance to parking and bathrooms.
Campsites at Cedarock Park can be booked through the Alamance Parks online reservation system.
Shallow Ford Natural Area
Comprising 190 acres, Shallow Ford Natural Area is a lesser-known but beautiful park in northern Alamance County. According to Alamance Parks, Shallow Ford offers “5 miles of hiking trails, paddle access to the Haw River, a Wildflower Meadow and Observation Deck, picnic areas, and backcountry camping.”
Trails – With over 5 miles of hiking trails, Shallow Ford is part of the Haw River State Trail/Mountains-to-Sea Trail (HRT/MST), and it has several off-shoot trails that can loop together to create your preferred trail length. Scenery is mostly wooded, with opportunities to see a wildflower meadow, a creek, and the Haw River (including a new addition to the Haw River State Trail).
Camping – Shallow Ford offers several backcountry campsites. Positioned near the Haw River, these sites are often used for canoe camping, though they can also be hike-in. Be advised: these sites are primitive, offering only a cleared camping spot and a fire ring. The nearest restroom is a pit toilet located a mile away in the parking lot. There is no potable water.
Campsites at Shallow Ford Natural Area can be booked through the Alamance Parks online reservation system.
Great Bend Park
At 30 acres, Great Bend Park appears smaller in size, but it connects to a variety of trails and the Historic Glencoe Mill Village. Visit this park to enjoy hiking, fishing in or picnicking along the Haw River, or to visit the Textile Heritage Museum in the Glencoe Mill Village.
Hiking Trails – Great Bend offers several clearly marked hiking trails. The trails will take you through woods and along the Haw River, with a picturesque view of water spilling over the Glencoe Mill dam. Great Bend also connects to sections of the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) and the Haw River State Trail (HRT), so you can extend your hike by following their blazes.
Textile Heritage Museum – Located in the Glencoe Mill Village next to Great Bend Park, this free museum exhibits “hundreds of original textile artifacts…from massive machine looms to knitting and sewing machines to the office equipment employees once typed the orders, billing, and correspondence for the mill operations.”
Camping – Great Bend Park offers several secluded campsites that include a designated tent pad, picnic table, and firepit. Each campsite is shaded and within short walking distance to parking and a pit toilet.
Campsites at Great Bend Park can be booked through the Alamance Parks online reservation system.
Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area
Located in the southwest part of Alamance County, Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area is the county’s newest park that offers a surprising diversity of ecological niches. According to Alamance Parks, hikers can expect to enjoy “rolling piedmont hills, abundant creeks and streams, and some of the best views in the county.”
Hiking Trails – Cane Creek has two different entrances that allow access to separate trail systems. Phase 1 offers 4.5 miles of trails and Phase 2 offers 5.9 miles of hiking trails and a wildlife observation area.
Although most Alamance County hikes are flat, Cane Creek’s terrain is mountainous, so hikers should wear sturdy shoes and prepare for frequent elevation change.
Camping – Cane Creek offers four drive-in, primitive campsites. Campsites have a tent pad, picnic table, and fire ring. A restroom is available a short walk from each site.
Campsites at Cane Creek Natural Area can be booked through the Alamance Parks online reservation system.