Posts Tagged “state-parks”

Mount Mitchell State Park

Published on October 9, 2011

The final photo album from my trip to the mountains of North Carolina last month has finally been posted. This time, it’s a collection from Mount Mitchell State Park, located on the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. I enjoyed my visit to this park; it’s one that I will definitely return to.

Chimney Rock State Park

Published on September 30, 2011

I’ve just posted the fourth album from my recent trip to the mountains. This set showcases Chimney Rock State Park, which is a fantastic place to visit. Though it costs money to get in, the views and hikes are worth it. I’ve got one more photo album to post from this small vacation trip to the Asheville area; it should show up within the next week or so.

Gorges State Park

Published on September 18, 2011

I’ve just posted some photos from Gorges State Park, the westernmost state park in North Carolina. This park is also one of the newest; visitor facilities are currently under construction. That being said, the views and hikes from this park are fantastic. I will certainly make an effort to return to this park in the future; this is one that definitely warrants multiple visits.

South Mountains State Park

Published on September 13, 2011

Late last week, I stopped at South Mountains State Park on my way to the Asheville area for some vacation. The park is located south of Morganton, NC, and has terrific hiking trails and beautiful scenery. High Shoals Falls, an 80-foot high waterfall, is located at the park. Knowing this, I took my tripod along, and got some nicer-than-usual photos in the process. If you’re ever in that particular area of North Carolina, I highly recommend a visit to this park. This is one I would love to return to!

Merchants Millpond State Park

Published on May 3, 2011

Last Friday, I took some time off from work to visit another one of North Carolina’s State Parks. This time around, I checked out Merchants Millpond, up in Gates County (in the northeastern part of the state). This may be one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to. One may canoe or kayak in the pond (canoes can be rented from the visitor’s center), and though I didn’t do that on this trip, I’ll definitely be back to do so.

The pond is home to the American alligator, with this location being at the northern extent of their range. I didn’t see any alligators on this trip, but I did get a chance to see quite a lot of other wildlife, including wild turkeys, a number of skinks and lizards, several snakes, turtles, and plenty of birds. I’m sure you would encounter even more wildlife while canoeing around the pond.

As usual, I took my camera along with me and took some photos of the park. I highly recommend visiting this gem in the North Carolina state park system.

Mayo River State Park

Published on October 11, 2010

Earlier this month, I traveled to Rockingham County in north-western North Carolina to visit the newest member of the NC state park system: Mayo River State Park. Naturally, I took my camera along and got some photos. Though there are only two hiking trails, both are worth the visit. It’s a nice new addition to an already stellar park system.

Defining State Parks

Published on June 3, 2010

While researching the North Carolina State Park System for my “visit and photograph every state park” project, I learned that there are far more state parks than I realized. My original list had 39 parks; the official list, as I eventually found on the NC parks website, lists 32 parks, 19 natural areas, and 4 recreation areas. Unfortunately, this list is only current as of January 1, 2007. As such, a few newer parks aren’t listed, such as Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock (which is actually listed as Hickory Nut Gorge).

All of this got me thinking about what, for my purposes, constitutes a “state park.” Not all of the official sites have public facilities or access. A number of the state natural areas are simply chunks of land set aside for preservation. Several areas are relatively new and haven’t yet been developed. Some others aren’t developed simply based on recent budget cuts and shortfalls.

These facts have all led me to the following decision: the “state parks” I will pursue in my visitation project will include those for which official attendance figures are kept. Attendance information is posted in each state park newsletter; it is from this source that I have pulled my park list. The result is 40 parks, which nearly agrees with my first list. I had omitted Grandfather Mountain in my first pass, simply because it only recently became a state park, and wasn’t listed on the official website until very recently.

I’m looking forward to visiting each park in the state. As of this writing, I’ve been to 13 parks, and have photographed 11. Plenty more to go!

Jockey’s Ridge Photos

Published on May 24, 2010

Tonight I’ve posted the next photo album from my recent vacation: a look at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The most visited state park in North Carolina, Jockey’s Ridge is home to the tallest sand dunes in the eastern United States. Two hikes are available; I took one (the “Tracks in the Sand” trail), and enjoyed it thoroughly. The views of Roanoke Sound and the Atlantic Ocean from the top of the dunes (at about 90 feet high) are incredible. If you’re ever on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, this is a must-visit attraction. It’s one of the best parks I’ve been to so far in the state.

Pettigrew State Park Photos

Published on May 22, 2010

The first photo album from my recent vacation, a small collection of shots from Pettigrew State Park, has just been posted. I was disappointed with the hiking conditions at the park. Trails weren’t marked, and the overall signage at the park was fairly lacking. Thanks to recent rains, the insect population was seemingly at an all-time high; they were so bad, I actually stopped my hike halfway down a trail and went back to the car. Lake Phelps is an incredible lake to see, however, so I recommend checking out this park; perhaps in the colder months when the bugs aren’t so vicious.

More photo albums from my vacation are on the way; I have at least 6 more in the works!

Goose Creek State Park

Published on April 4, 2010

I took a trip to Goose Creek State Park yesterday, on the eastern coast of North Carolina. The park is simply fantastic. A 3/4-mile boardwalk leads out over a hardwood swamp, with lots of beautiful sights. Each hiking trail has a unique look and feel, and several lead to scenic overlooks. If you’re ever out near the coast, I highly recommend a visit.

As always, I took along my camera. The resulting photo album is the largest one I’ve posted in a long time. Enjoy!

Mapping North Carolina’s State Parks

Published on March 12, 2010

I may or may not have mentioned before that I have a goal of visiting and photographing every state park in North Carolina. As a precursor to setting out on that goal, I have created a map of state park locations. Each location uses GPS coordinates provided by the state park service. Now that I have a GPS device that uses Google Maps (a Motorola Droid; review coming soon!), I figured this would be a terrific way to make it easy for me to get driving directions to certain locations.

While looking through all of the official state park pages, I learned a number of interesting facts:

  • Four state parks require entrance fees out of the 39 parks in the state. They include Jordan Lake, Kerr Lake, Falls Lake, and Chimney Rock.
  • Two state parks do not have public access or public facilities at this time: Mayo River State Park and Haw River State Park.
  • One state park can only be accessed by taking a ferry: Hammocks Beach State Park.

The location markers on the map I’ve created are currently being used by me to keep track of where I’ve been. However, the map is publicly available, so feel free to use it to navigate to any of the state’s parks. If you have any suggestions on how the map could be improved, feel free to leave a comment. I’d like for this to be a helpful resource for people.

Autumn Hike Photos

Published on September 28, 2009

I went for a walk yesterday at Eno River State Park, and took a few photos. The Early Autumn Hike album is the result. I am going to try to take more photos over the next few weeks, now that the weather is starting to become much more comfortable. Hopefully I’ll be able to hit up some new trails in the area (there are plenty around that I’ve never walked).

Trip to Raven Rock

Published on March 21, 2009

I took a little trip to Raven Rock State Park today, and took some photographs while I was there. It’s a great park to visit, with some really nice vistas to view the surrounding area. Signs of Spring could be found if you looked hard enough, which I’m thankful for (I’ve gotten very tired of Winter lately).

Medoc Mountain Photo Album

Published on March 7, 2009

My parents and I took a trip to Medoc Mountain State Park today, and I took several pictures along the way. This short photo album is the result. I recommend the park for anyone in the RTP area of North Carolina. It’s about a 90 minute drive to the north and east, and offers a lot of hiking possibilities (along with fishing, canoeing, and picnic tables).

Update: I’ve fixed the above link to the album (thanks Dustin). That’s what happens when you post late at night.

Hanging Rock Photo Album

Published on October 16, 2007

It’s taken me many weeks, but I have finally posted a new photo album of a family trip to Hanging Rock State Park, an outing we took at the beginning of the month for my birthday. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Note that there are two panorama shots in this album, both of which turned out fairly decent. I need to work on my panorama skills, and I’d like my album software to be able to dynamically link to high-res variants of a specific photo (a feature it currently does not support). For now, the links to the larger image are presented in the caption.

Pump Station Ruins

Published on March 31, 2007

I have posted a new photo album detailing the ruins of the Eno River pump station. It was used from 1887 to 1927 to supply drinking water to the city of Durham. Amazingly, after only 80 years, the ruins have been all but forgotten, as the forest has swallowed it up completely. I highly recommend visiting this site in Eno River State Park; it is well worth the trip.

Another photo album will also be appearing in the next day or so, showcasing some of the other things to be seen along the Pump Station trail.

Signs of Spring on the Eno

Published on March 26, 2007

A new photo album has just been posted. This past weekend, my dad and I went out to the Eno River to hike one of their many trails. Signs of spring were all around, and I captured a few of them with my camera. Comments on this photo album are welcome.

Update: I have renamed this photo album to “Dunnagan’s Trail on the Eno.” I think that name fits a little better, especially given the nature of some of the photographs. 🙂

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