North Carolina county #45 South Mountains State Park and Linville Falls
I had wanted to do another overnight trip this past weekend but the timing didn’t work out so instead I just drove out for a day trip on Sunday. My plan was to hit Burke County and McDowell County. However, I made my first planning error – it turns out my second stop was also in Burke County, so I only covered one county this week. That said, it is a beautiful county and I don’t really mind spending more time in it. I’m looking forward to coming back to some of these spots in the future at my leisure.
My first stop was South Mountains State Park. This is the largest state park in North Carolina and has dozens of miles of trails and a good diversity of terrain. I did one of the easier trails and followed a stream for a one mile round trip.
It was quite dark in the woods and it was very cold for this time of year at 43 degrees F. I was able to recognize several Acadian Flycatcher. It is great now that I have the song down pat from my trip with the club. There were also some Black-throated Green Warblers and a Hooded Warbler. I almost managed to get amazing photos of a Black-throated Green on the ground very close to me, but just as I was going to snap the photo a couple with a dog came by and it flew. Instead, I have a photo of a Chipping Sparrow.
The stream was very nice with several small waterfalls throughout. This is a huge park and only 1.5 hours from me, and well worth additional exploration.
After I was done I drove over to Linville Falls in the north part of the county. From where I was parked it was literally across the street to get to McDowell County but I didn’t realize that at the time.
The falls are pretty nice and one of the most popular in the state. This is largely because it is easy to get to them, but also there are several trails around it with different vantage points. The area around the falls has nice views around it and there was a number of people visiting when I was there.
I got 4 warbler species on the trail to the falls which I was happy with. There was a good amount of traffic on the path. I did pass one man who was lost and I pointed him in the right direction, and about 10 minutes later a woman came running up and asked me about him. It was an eventful day in the mountains and I’m looking forward to getting out there again.