At nearly 87,000 acres of land, South Mountain SP is the largest the state has to offer (other than a myriad of Nat'l lands). One of the closest mountain parks to Charlotte (1hr drive), and now boasting a huge new (and GORGEOUS!) visitor's center, a great day trip for a "mountainous" experience for a vast area of the Piedmont of NC.
Hiking: This park was once a forestry area, and a large portion of the "trails" are indeed maintained logging roads. Logging roads are meant to keep trucks away from any sort of precipice... which is a little aggravating as a hiker, as it's the VIEWS that are missed by such a layout. However, don't despair! Possum, Headquarters, Jacob's Creek, and Chestnut Knob are all wonderful foot trails with great views... and even the Horseridge is quite amazing (which is a road). Of course, the falls are totally outstanding... especially after a rain.
Biking and Equestrian: Where a hiker may find fault with logging trails, they're PERFECT for biking and horses! The roads are VERY well maintained to at least 18-20' above paths, some with occasional water crossings.
From my back patio, I can see the whole of Benn Knob (the true South Mountain), and since I take my dog there for hikes at least 4X/month (for the past 6 years), I definitely have learned where all the "spurs" to vistas can be found. I'm just a little bummed they spent millions on the new VC, and didn't create any new foot trails... but that's just me.
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