, 2022-07-07 05:00:00,
Looking for an outdoor adventure close to home this summer?
Consider these preserves and parks where you can mountain bike, picnic, hike, paddle, fish, swim, bird watch and generally just forget about work and commune with nature.
Some are in Charlotte. Others are less than an hour’s drive away, including the massive 606-acre Mountain Creek Park that opened June 18 on the northwestern tip of Lake Norman in Catawba County.
It’s time to get outside. You deserve it.
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
Address: 4330 Weddington Road, Matthews.
What you should know: The 265-acre Mecklenburg County park includes walking and biking trails, five lighted soccer fields; two lighted, full-court basketball courts; two playgrounds; two softball fields; six tennis courts; 10 picnic areas; 12 miles of mountain biking trails and a lake with kayak and canoe rentals and fishing.
A main 3.7-mile mountain biking trail loop offers a “notorious” optional technical section called “Beatty’s Black,” according to Tarheel Trailblazers, a nonprofit mountain bike organization.
“This trail system feels less like it was created and more like it was discovered,” according to the group. “The main loop is fairly open and sandy, with roots and gullies occasionally in play. ‘Beatty’s Black’ is a different story. It is tight and technical, but also features some of the most unique wooden technical trail features in the area.”
The park also houses “The Colonel,” the largest pump track in the area that Tarheel Trailblazers describes as “smooth, fast, and truly a joy to ride at any age.”
The park’s main trail features practically no elevation and can be completed in a single loop.
Mountain bike trails rating: Intermediate to difficult, according to the MTB Project, a crowd-sourced mountain bike guide
Who uses the park? Walkers, mountain bikers; soccer,…
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