We are lucky that Raven Rock State Park is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our house. If we feel like getting some fresh air on a whim, it’s nothing to drive down to this nearly 5,000-acre park and hike a few of its trails.
Last weekend, I took Queso to Raven Rock State Park for a longer walk than normal. The last few weeks, I’ve been making an effort to walk at least a mile a day, and starting off our day with a quick stroll has been helpful for both of our energy levels (raising mine, lowering his).
On Saturday, we decided to pick up the pace a bit and opted for the Campbell Creek Loop Trail, a trail the park service lists as a “moderate” 4.5-mile long hike.
We visited the park around 11:00 AM. The weather forecast predicted rain for a bit later that day, so we tried to beat the storms, hoping to finish before the rain came down. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with that plan. The park was surprisingly crowded with families, members of the military working out, and couples walking their dogs. Usually Raven Rock isn’t quite as crowded, but maybe everyone wanted to get out of the house after the pandemic.
The trail is distinguished by a blue, circular blaze and is well-marked in most places. There were a few instances where the trail veered off into a false path due to people walking off-trail, but it wasn’t difficult to find the blaze again.
For a future visit, I would strongly recommend either not visiting the park during humid weather or visiting earlier in the day before it gets warm. The temperature was in the low 90s which isn’t bad, but the humidity was higher than normal, even for North Carolina (probably since it was due to rain). The Campbell Creek Loop Trail follows the creek for a good portion of it, so the humidity was even more intense in those low sections near the water.
While we didn’t encounter mosquitoes, poor Queso and I were harassed by horseflies and hornets the entire time. I couldn’t tell if they were the same, persistent ones following us all 4.5 miles or if we just kept attracting more along the way. Luckily, the hornets didn’t sting us but the horseflies did keep biting us.
Besides the bugs, the trail itself wasn’t too difficult. There were a lot of exposed roots, however, and I almost tripped a few times (though that’s not unusual for my clumsy self). Queso was able to hop in the water to cool off and drink at several spots which was nice. Some of the banks are quite high, though, so if you do visit, be careful of standing too close to the edge, especially with a dog (Queso almost dove five feet into the water before I convinced him that wasn’t the greatest idea while on a leash).
We passed what my PictureThis app told me was sourwood, or more commonly called the Lily of the Valley tree. A quick Google search has informed me that its leaves are a laxative and that honey can be produced from it (hopefully without the same effect as the leaves).
We also saw lots of ferns, which I love.
All in all, we had a great time (minus the insect bites).
- Loop: ✔ (We started on the eastern side, which climbs up a bit)
- Dog-Friendly: ✔ (Lots of dogs use this trail)
- Restroom: ✔ (Around the halfway point – around 2.5 miles in – there’s a latrine near the campsites)
- Water Available: ✔ (Creek. I would bring my own water, though, rather than filtering)
- Total Distance: 4.5 miles + 0.5 miles hiking in
- Time Commitment: 2.5 hours (At a slow pace with a few breaks to relax. A sign at the trailhead suggests planning for 3-4 hours)
- Address: 3009 Raven Rock Rd., Lillington, NC 27546
Have you visited Raven Rock State Park? Is it on your list of future hiking spots? Leave a comment and let everyone know!