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3 hidden outdoor gems to visit with your family

Chris Mulcahy ventures off into the woods to find 3 places you can visit with your kids over the weekend.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here are 3 hidden, outdoor gems in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that are perfect to enjoy with the family while wearing your masks and practicing social distancing.

The outdoor parks were nominated by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.

Big Rock Nature Preserve – Ballantyne Area

6500 Elmstone Dr, Charlotte, NC 28277

Nestled in Ballantyne, on the outskirts of a suburban neighborhood. 

You can enjoy gorgeous trails and something truly unique.

One of the coolest things about this gem it has some of the largest open faced boulders across Mecklenburg County.

FUN FACT: An archaeological investigation concluded that these boulders are the remnants of a campsite for Native Americans and may date back 12,000 years!

These rocks are right near the entrance and are a hit with the kids. If you are daring and agile enough to climb these large rocks, there is a gorgeous view over the trails and the woods.

Clark’s Creek Nature Preserve and Park – North Charlotte Area

5434 Hucks Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269

This is a BRAND NEW community park and a nature preserve all in one!  First off this park is brand new! This is in North Charlotte along Hucks Road.

The Nature Preserve offers a playground and great trails for walking.

The Nature Preserve offers a playground and trails for walking, hiking or even taking family photos.  The park includes pickleball courts, a dog park and a unique state-of-the-art playground.  The two facilities are right across the road from each other, and the entire complex offers something for the entire family.

West Branch Nature Preserve – Davidson Area

18232 Shearer Rd, Davidson, NC 28036

This is a divine hike through the woods and a natural wetland habitat. Within this habitat the birds are chirping and it is an amazing escape from the city. You may even see a beaver!

DID YOU KNOW?  West Branch Nature Preserve is the only spot in Mecklenburg County where the Eastern Ribbon Snake lives! No worries, they are non-venomous.

The .8-mile D. Roy Alexander Trail, named in honor of the local conservationist and former Director of the Davidson Lands Conservancy, includes an observation deck to facilitate viewing of the preserve’s 90+ acres.

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