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A person wearing shorts and a backpack and a man wearing a sweatshirt and backpack walking on a log in a forested area



In honor of a year spent washing hands – let’s wash our hands of 2020 and start out the new year fresh by getting outside, breathing clean air, and enjoying some much-needed exercise. Here’s a list of five amazing outdoor spaces from The Palmer to spur you on. Happy adventuring!

1. Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Start out your excursions at the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, where you can have the best of both worlds with outdoor fun in the heart of the city. The greenway features 19 miles of hiking and biking paths that run along Little Sugar Creek, connecting Elizabeth Park on the north end to Freedom Park on the south end. Cruise the waterfront while you take in views of the city skyline and hang out for a while in beautiful green spaces along the way. With so many miles to explore, you can get in a great workout. As a bonus, the convenient location means you can hop off and grab a few things from the store before you head home. Trader Joe’s Stroopwafel Cake Baking Mix, anyone? Go ahead. You’ve earned it!

2. Thomas McAllister Winget Park

Looking for an afternoon of outdoor play? Head out to Thomas McAllister Winget Park to find a little something for everyone. Romp around through nicely maintained wooded nature trails, and then get your crew together for the game of choice. Shoot some hoops, kick the soccer ball around, or bring it hard on the volleyball courts. Make sure to check out the disc golf course that meanders through the forest around the park, loved by locals and considered one of the best in the area. You’ll have a blast throwing discs here no matter your skill level.

3. McDowell Nature Preserve

Bring the pups along for some true nature time at McDowell Nature Preserve. Along 7 miles of interconnected forest trails, enjoy views of beautiful Lake Wylie, and keep an eye out for some of the rare animal species that hang out here, like the spotted salamander and the Gulf Coast spiny soft-shelled turtle. If you’re looking for some focused exercise, try running the 2.6-mile Piedmont Prairie Loop. You can bring along a picnic to enjoy at one of the sites, or pack your tent, reserve a campsite, and extend your stay.

4. Lower McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek & Four Mile Creek Greenways

Run, walk, or maybe just saunter the horseshoe-shaped series of connected trails made up by Lower McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek, and Four Mile Creek Greenways. You’ll have 5.8 miles of canopied trail to enjoy, and you’ll get a chance to see the first Great Blue Heron colony in Mecklenburg County. Watch for a memorable section of trail on a raised wooden pathway over marshlands, with plenty of wildlife and greenery to capture your attention.

Looking for more ways to stay active in and around Charlotte? Check out our blog for local hot spots and other fun tips.