Flatland Hiking- Cliffs of the Neuse State Park and Old Waynesborough, Goldsboro, NC

Cliffs of the Neuse is a relatively small park. It’s one you go to because it’s there it’s close to home and they have “trees draped in Spanish Moss”. Okay, sounds like a wonderful place… or at least worth checking out.

This park located near Goldsboro, exists because of a 90 degree bend in the Neuse River that has created an impressive cliff. Researching the park it looks like I can hike maybe 4 miles or so although the first trail listed is the “350 Yard” trail. That definitely doesn’t sound inspiring or promising.

The 350 Yard Trail

I started out on the 350 Yard Trail. There was a cliff, but how impressive it was I will leave to the beholder. This trail did take me to a low lying swampy (UGH more swamp)area that was really quite nice. And guess who was there? In 1862 Confederate Troops assembled here after the Battle of Seven Springs which is a nearby village. But thank god there was no storyboard. (hee hee). I got that info from the park brochure. The Mill Creek boardwalk takes you to the Bird and Galax Trails.

Bird and Galax Trail intersection.
Mill Creek mouth at the Neuse River
the Neuse River from the cliffs

This was a quite nice loop hike and I found a side trail that took me to a about two mile loop around the small lake in the park. Then I did the half mile Spanish Moss Trail to the main campground, looking of course, for the “Trees draped in Spanish Moss”. Nothing! I took the Sand Path back to the parking area. The Sand Path was basically the road to the group camping area but it added a mile or so to the hike.

Lake at Cliffs of the Neuse

Before I hit the car, I found it! Spanish Moss, on one tree… or one limb of the tree. I all fairness I guess to find Spanish Moss this far inland is rare, so I’ll give it to the them.

“trees draped in Spanish Moss.”

I whirled around this relatively flat park quickly and the day is still young so I am going to check out Old Waynesborough, a State Historic Park at the time now listed on Google Maps as a State Park. Old Waynesborough is the original name and site of present day Goldsboro NC. Two things I found out in this adventure, Old Waynesborough floods a lot and it’s fake. Yep. Out in the woods past the “Town” there is another sharp bend in the Neuse River at the exact place that it takes on the waters of the of the Little River. Well, the Neuse River when high, decides to take the path of least resistance as water is known to do and floods right into Old Waynesborough.

hiking trail at Old Waynesborough
Where the Neuse and Little Rivers meet at Old Waynesborough.

Now the village… it consists of nine structures. I excitedly toured the area taking pictures of the buildings.

The Quaker meeting house
Law Office
General Store

After that little tour I went to the office to see what’s up. The lady told me that none… yes none of the buildings were original nor were they ever part of Old Waynesborough. They had been collected from around the county and placed here and restored to represent the town. Flatland hiking can be so disappointing! There is a small claim to fame for Old Waynesborough though….. Cornwallis crossed the Neuse River here on his way north out of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.

The dreaded storyboard

I hate flatland hiking. I gotta get back to the mountains……

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