As part of our 2024 outdoor initiatives, we want to encourage folks to visit many of our beloved outdoor trails! Kicking off the first month of the new year, we're sharing the exciting new Meadows Loop Trail, a wheelchair and stroller accessible trail within the Gateway Trails System in Old Fort, NC.
The Meadows Loop Trail is a unique outdoor experience in the Pisgah National Forest, allowing folks of different accessibility levels to enjoy our local forests. We reached out to our friend Jon Lane (G5 Director at theG5 Trail Collective) for details on Old Fort's newest trail. This is what he had to share:
The Meadows Loop is a 1-mile ADA-accessible trail that is located adjacent to the new Old Fort Gateway Trailhead. The hiking and wheelchair accessible trail provides a true easy experience along a wide-gravel surface through a creekside area. The Meadows Loop allows visitors to access Curtis Creek for fishing and swimming, traverse through a wetland on a series of boardwalks, and walk alongside a meadow for bird watching and wildlife viewing. No bikes are allowed on the trail.
The trail opening is the first phase of a larger project to restore the rare bottomland hardwood forest and provide educational opportunities. The final phases of the project will include additional invasive species treatments, wetland enhancement, native plantings, and streambank stabilization to help provide sustainable access to fishing along Curtis Creek. All improvements are set to be complete by fall 2024.
As we're all excited to have a new trail opportunity so close by, we decided to step out and experience Meadows Loop for ourselves!
The Meadows Loop Trail winds along Curtis Creek and takes hikers through a beautiful array of local flora and fauna. We were able to see some unique mushrooms and plants along the route! The trail is small, crushed gravel, and should accommodate most wheelchairs.
Several spots along the trail are board walkways, helping to traverse across otherwise temperamental terrain prone to flooding or icing. Seating has been installed along the route to allow for breaks during your hike.
This was a refreshing break from a day in the office, so we hope you stop by and enjoy this latest addition to our Old Fort Gateway Trail System when you come to visit our Blue Ridge Mountain community. Here's some additional tips:
- Bring sufficient water for your trip and wear proper outdoor clothing.
- Follow the 7 Outdoor NC Leave No Trace Principles and leave our outdoor spaces better than you left them.
- Check the local weather forecast prior to your trip. Meadows Loop Trail and the Gateway Trail System are within the area of Curtis Creek, high water conditions, significant temperature changes, and other weather concerns can happen in our region.
- Park within the designated parking areas for easy access to the Meadows Loop Trailhead, restrooms, and the Curtis Creek accessible fishing pier!