Tucked in the Harnett County of North Carolina, the Raven Rock State Park sprawls over 19 square kilometers along the eastern fringe of Piedmont. The main highlight of this state park within a fall zone is the 150 feet towering Raven Rock that overlooks the Cape Fear River for over a mile. Once called the Patterson’s Rock, the rock derived its current name from the roosting ravens on the curvy and sculpted edges. A blend of three ecosystems namely Piedmont, Sandhills and Coastal Plain makes the park naturally diversified.
Raven Rock State Park
With necessary amenities like fishing pond, hiking trail, pit and vault toilet, comfort station, trash bins and metal fire grills, the Raven Rock State park has a visitor center that remains open every day except on Christmas from 8 AM till 5 PM. While the park gates remain open in January, February and November, December from 7 AM till 7 PM, in March, April, May, September and October it remains open from 7 AM till 9 AM. In the rest of the months, opening hours range from 7 AM till 10 PM.
Activities At Raven Rock State Park
Being one of the most popular backcountry camping sites, you have to bring along your supplies for the following activities:
From 1-mile Raven Rock Look Trail through hardwood forestry to wooden staircase leading to base of Raven Rock, there are lots of hiking trails. Notable are the easy 0.5 mile American Beech Trail, moderate Campbell Creek Loop, easy East Loop Bridle Trail, 6.6-miles Mountain Laurel Loop etc. See more on How to Stay Safe When Hiking North Carolina’s Waterfalls.
The easy 6.6 miles round trip Mountain Laurel Loop Trail with gentle slopes and diverse flora like hardwood timber, pine, Mountain Laurel etc is perfect for biking.
On the north bank of Cape Fear River you will find a few equestrian trails.
Within the paw-paw groves, maple, beech, poison ivy, rhododendron and mountain laurels, you will spot deer and wild turkey. Along the riverbanks, you will find salamanders, rat snakes, hognose snakes, northern water snakes and copperhead trinkets are common.
At the visitor center, you will find interpretative programs regarding museum-like exhibits that speak on behalf of natural and cultural history.
Cape Fear River
The 202 miles long Cape Fear River is the highlight of Raven Rock State Park that merges with Atlantic Ocean. After originating from Haywood, the river passes through the park while creating two small yet potentially dangerous rapids. The 6 feet tall Lanier Falls, one of the attractions of the park is quite popular during summer for swimming and picnicking.
Other activities include:
The 56 miles Canoe trail is perfect for braving the Fish Traps and Lanier Falls rapids. Get in touch with park officials to learn about the water levels.
Campbell Creek mouth and Fish Traps with abundant Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Redear, Green Sunfish, Catfish, Warmouth, Pirate Perch, American Eel etc are anglers’ paradise.
Flanked by gurgling creeks and thickets of Rhododendrons and Laurels, visiting Raven Rock State Park and Cape Fear River will be invigorating for people of all age groups.