Birding · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers
Lake Norman is the largest lake in North Carolina, and the Lake Shore Trail
is a perfect way to explore the shoreline. The well-marked trail winds its way through the forest and past numerous coves. While most of the hills along the route are gently rolling, they do present a challenge—but know that the Short Turn Trail
bisects the loop so you can either bail halfway or just plan on a shorter outing.
This trail is unique among all the Lake Norman State Park trails as it's foot traffic only, unlike the other park trails which are multi-use and popular among mountain bikers.
Park along Shortleaf Drive by the trailhead, or park in the large lots by the picnic area and swimming beach. From the trailhead, start hiking in either direction—both are exceptionally well marked and signed, with blazes and mileage. Going clockwise will take you through the more densely wooded portion of the trail first, which is also where some of the steeper hills are located. Going counterclockwise will keep you close the the shoreline and on more mellow terrain to begin with.
Virtually the entire loop has excellent views of Lake Norman. As the trail follows along the many fingers and coves of the peninsula, consider stopping at a bench to take in the views and do some bird-spotting. While the trail surface is generally wide and well-maintained, know that it does get slippery following heavy rain. Because this entire route is forested, it's a great option for a cooler, shaded, summer hike. The trees make for excellent leaf-peeping in the fall, and spring brings a lovely assortment of wildflowers.
Shared By: Amber Scott