Outside hidden gems within the Fayetteville space


Prepare the sunscreen and don your shades to visit some outdoor gems in the Fayetteville area that you might not know about.

The Cape Fear River Trail is a 10 foot wide trail that stretches seven miles. The trail features wooden bridges, including a covered bridge.

Signs along the way explain the area’s flora and fauna, which includes more than 700 species of plants and trees and 150 species of birds.

The trail is open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk. Parking for trail access is available at J. Bayard Clark Park & ​​Nature Center, 631 Sherman Drive.

Here are five more places to explore nature:

Arsenal Park

Arsenal Park at Myrover Street off Arsenal Avenue is the site of the remains of a United States Arsenal in Fayetteville. After North Carolina seceded from the Union in 1861, the Confederacy used the arsenal to manufacture rifles, ammunition, and gun carriages. Union troops led by General Williams T. Sherman destroyed the site in 1865, according to the Museum of the Cape Fear.

Attractions in the park include Civil War trails at the “Ghost” Tower, surviving ruins of the Southwest Tower, and surviving ruins of the Arsenal’s machine shops.

Gillis Hill Farm

A waffle cone with peanut butter cup ice cream offers a summertime treat on Monday at Gillis Hill Farm.

Gillis Hill Farm, 2701 Gillis Hill Road, offers self-guided hikes Monday through Saturday for $3. Activities on the farm include walking the property, touring the restored farm buildings, watching and feeding the animals, and enjoying the swings and garden games.

Visitors can also enjoy frozen sweet treats at the farm’s ice cream shop Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sweet Valley Ranch

Sweet Valley Ranch is opening one of its most popular attractions, Dinosaur World, on June 10th.

Sweet Valley Ranch is located on more than 300 acres at 2990 Sunnyside School Road in Fayetteville.

The ranch offers a variety of seasonal attractions, including Dinosaur World in the summer, Springtime Adventures with go-karts, and a festival of lights in the winter.

Zipquest waterfall and treetop adventure

Zipquest offers a variety of treetop adventures.

Zipquest – Waterfall & Treetop Adventure, 533 Carver Falls Road, is a reservation-based attraction featuring a treetop zipline excursion. The attraction offers both day and night reservations.

The attraction is located in Carver’s Falls, a 72-acre forest in the Sandhills, named for the waterfall at the heart of the property.

J. Bayard Clark Park & ​​Nature Center

StoryWalk at Clark Park Nature Center on Thursday, October 8, 2020. The StoryWalk is just over a mile long and consists of each page from a picture book, laminated and displayed along a walking path, allowing one adult and one child to view the entire book can read together.

J. Bayard Clark Park & ​​Nature Center, 631 Sherman Drive, offers nature and recreational programs for educators, groups, individuals, and families. The nature center’s museum offers exhibits and free tours of live animals.

The park has dirt trails for those interested in hiking and jogging.

Staff writer Akira Kyles can be reached at [email protected]