By Davey Pittard
It was a dark and stormy night except it wasn’t stormy, and it wasn’t night, the skies were clear and it was a morning like any other morning, but this particular morning was different. It was last Saturday, and instead of me getting in my car to go to Smith Lake here in Fayetteville like I normally do, I drove up to Lillington to a place called Raven Rock State Park.
I had heard about Raven Rock since I came to Fayetteville two and a half years ago, that it was a great place to run, it had nice trails, and that it was just a beautiful place, my friend had even proposed to his wife there. I wanted to see this place for myself, and see if it really lived up to the hype.
After a 40 minute drive from the Methodist University area, I got out of my car and into the crisp 46 degree air. I saw some signs for trails and so I started running. There were two trails the sign pointed to, there was the Campbell Creek Loop (which since this blog was written has become my favorite trail!) and the Raven Rock Loop, and I wanted to see Raven Rock so I went that way.
The Raven Rock Loop trail was not very technical at all, I saw barely any jutting rocks or roots, I even saw a couple walking a jogging stroller with their baby. As far as hills go, there weren’t any rolling hills there were more like stretches of either going up or down, but for the most part, if the grade became steep, it wasn’t for long.
So I a got about a mile in and I came up on to the lookout. This was my first time here so I wanted to explore a little and then I’d get back to my run. I looked out and it was a great view, I could see way out over the trees, and there I could also see the Cape Fear River below me, I knew everything would look even better once things started growing and spring set in but for now it still was great.
I took off again and I passed the peak which I barely noticed on the trail but that’s just how things are in this part of the country, we don’t have those steep obvious peaks like you do in the Rockies. Then I passed a staircase someone had built, and don’t judge me, but this is where my run turned into a hike of me exploring.
When I got down the staircase, I realized that Raven Rock was just that, this huge rock that I had been running on, because now I was looking at the face of the rock/cliff as it rests along the edge of the Cape Fear River. I had a great time exploring it but I had to get ready for work so I had to go.
I disappointed myself a little bit by not running as far as I would have liked but I got a lot out of my visit there. This place has not only some great trails to run on but it would also make a great day trip to come and chill in nature and even bring the family to and go and explore, there is even a half mile kids trail with some educational aspects along it. On my way to my car I actually noticed a sign that listed and mapped out all of the trails and there are four main loops that you can actually combine into two bigger 7 and 8 mile loops.
So now that I’ve explored a little bit, I’m going back this Saturday and I’m going to be running more this time, plus I’m going to be checking out the Campbell Creek Loop trail which is supposed to have a slightly rougher terrain. So overall it was a great experience and I highly recommend checking this place out and especially if you’re looking for good trails in the area, but don’t just take my word for it, check it out and come to the Runners Spot and let me know what you think!