Mayo River State Park and Guilford Court House National Military Park, Greensboro NC

Continuing my quest to hit every NC State Park I found two small ones. Probably not worth the trip alone but if I combined them into one day I could get in some quality hiking. And some miles. These were Mayo River State Park at Mayodan, and Haw River State Park nearby. It was a little farther to Mayodan so I figured to start at Mayo River.

Picnic shelter at Mayo River State Park

Mayo River was one of the newer state parks and there wasn’t much there. It was previously owned by Washington Mills, the giant Textile firm, and some improvements were made between the 1940’s and the 1970’s. When the company abandoned the site it became a community park for the city of Mayodan. This is now the Mayo Mountain access, although the mountain is really more of a long ridge.

Long forgotten cabin on Mayo Mountain

The secret to this park is not here though. Mayo River is a linear park along to Mayo River so it has many accesses. Mayo Mountain’s 2 mile loop around to mountain top was the longest hiking trail. The only other access that was open to the public was 20 miles north on the Virginia border , known as DeShazo Falls. So I took the drive up there and it was worth it. Although less then a mile of hiking along Fall Creek the waterfall was a pretty good one for the area.

I stayed here for a while trying to get that perfect picture of the falls.

Aha! That’s the one! DeShazo Falls

Story time…… I visited DeShazo Falls in late 2017. By Oct 2018 I was living in Texas. I had to get a doctor because of a past heart condition. The doctor I found was Dr DeShazo! This was a name I had never heard before and now I hear it twice in 1 year! Anyway I asked him if he was from North Carolina and showed him a picture of DeShazo Falls. He said no he was from Alabama. But who knows how his ancestors got to Alabama and how long this has been known as DeShazo Falls. I found it quite interesting with such an uncommon last name.

Moving on… after visiting the Falls I headed for Haw River State Park. There was more hiking there so I figured I could up my mileage count for the day. At the appropriate turnoff, A Sheriff’s Deputy was blocking the road. Apparently there was some kind of accident. I asked him of another way to get to Haw River. He told me it wasn’t happening that day as the accident had taken down live power lines right at the entrance to the park. He suggested Guilford Court House National Military Park as an alternate hiking venue. So I went…….

Visitor Center Guilford Court House National Military Park.

I got a map and saw I could probably get about three additional miles here so I set out through the battlefield.

gun emplacement from the American line Guilford C.H.

Guilford Court House was a decisive battle of the Revolutionary War. Although an American loss the damage done to the British southern forces was a turning point.

British forces under General Charles Cornwallis and Banastre Tarleton had pretty much sewn up the conquering of the southern colonies of Georgia and South Carolina. Cornwallis decided to head to North Carolina to recruit loyalists to his dwindling army. Tarleton’s forces were met at Cowpens, in South Carolina, suffered heavy losses, and were routed. Cornwallis went on to Guilford Court House where he was told troops and militia under Gen Nathaniel Greene were camped.

Nathaniel Greene

The Americans outnumbered the British about two to one. Greene’s forces extracted heavy losses on Cornwallis’ 2100 troops, killing, wounding or capturing almost 30% of his Army.

Historic New Garden Road the path of Cornwallis’ advance

Cornwallis successfully advanced up the New Garden Road through three American lines of defense taking heavy casualties. He was not stopped but after the battle he analyzed his predicament and left North Carolina headed for Yorktown Virginia to find re-enforcements for his depleted army….. and the rest…… is well known history. So Guilford Courthouse is known as the defeat that was a victory.

Although a property of the National Park Service they are assisted in the maintenance and development of the grounds by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

This was an interesting hike as I had known of the battle of Guilford Courthouse but did not know that it was so significant as the beginning of the end for General Cornwallis.

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