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McDowell Nature Preserve

Map of TRACK Trail through McDowell Nature Preserve

The McDowell Nature Preserve TRACK Trail follows the Pine Hollow Trail, and portions of the Four Seasons and the Sierra Trails. This easy 1.2 mile loop features scenic views of the creek and offers a close-up look at the diverse tree species that can be found in the park.

McDowell Nature Preserve preserves habitat for 119 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, 21 species of reptiles, and 14 species of amphibians.  Among the unusual species that have been found at the Preserve are: Seminole bat (first record in NC), spotted salamander, Gulf Coast spiny soft-shelled turtle, and Loggerhead Shrike. McDowell Nature Preserve is also well known for its diversity of spring ephemeral wild flowers and is among the best areas in Mecklenburg County to view Pileated Woodpecker. The Preserve protects a federally endangered plant (Schweinitz's sunflower), a federal candidate species (Georgia's aster), and one rare plant (prairie dock) at its two Piedmont Prairie restoration sites. 

Track an adventure here
Collectible sticker for McDowell Nature Preserve

Location Details

Recreational Features: Picnic Tables, Interpretive Programs, Birding, Playground
Amenities: Restrooms, Nature Center
ADA Compliant: Partial
Seasonality: Open all year
Paved path and bridge in the forest
Rocky stream in the forest
Dirt path winding through trees
Large stones in the stream
Exhibits in the nature center

Adventures for McDowell Nature Preserve

Hiking

Bug Out

Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail length:
1.20
The "Bug Out" brochure is an investigation into the creepy crawlies of the forest. This adventure will help you learn how to identify the difference between insects, spiders and other arthropods.
Hiking

Nature's Hide & Seek / El Juego del Escondite en la Naturaleza

Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail length:
1.20
El Juego Del Escondite En La Naturaleza/Nature's Hide & Seek brochure is designed so that kids of all ages can walk along the trail and discover common things that are often overlooked in nature. Written in both Spanish and English, discover new things hiding in nature with the help of this bilingual brochure.
Hiking

Hikin' to Find Lichen

Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail length:
1.20
This brochure-led adventure takes kids deep into the mysterious world of lichen. Kids will discover the three different forms lichen can take, and some of the features that make the lichen lifestyle unique. Kids will also read the Lichen story about Alice Algae and Freddy Fungi to help them remember how lichens work.
Hiking

Birds of the Piedmont

Difficulty:
Moderate
Trail length:
1.20
The Birds of the Piedmont brochure shows kids where to look for different birds along the trail. The brochure contains illustrations of some of the more common woodland birds and information on how to identify them through various clues.

Directions

15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC 28278
Latitude: 35.096093000000
Longitude: -81.023133000000

For directions and other information, please click here for the McDowell Nature Center & Preserve's website.

Partners

The TRACK Trail program is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

The McDowell Nature Preserve TRACK Trail was made possible through a partnership between the Blumenthal Foundation, Mecklenburg County, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program.