All Hikers have that place where they go when they can’t really get away. Mine was Raven Rock. Only an hour or so from home, it was one place that I didn’t have to fight traffic to get to . Near Lillington NC, Raven Rock is located along the Cape Fear River. How much of a go to spot was it. Well when my niece,( Check out her blog at Handstands Around the World), her fiancé and my sister visited one summer this is where I took them to hike.
The hiking wasn’t particularly tough. There was a bit of elevation change especially on the Campbell Creek Trail. But there were a ton of miles. Besides the main park which has about 10 miles of trails there is another access across the river for equestrians with 8 more miles to hike. There were two ways to get to Raven Rock the main feature of the park. The most direct way was the Raven Rock Loop which I only took to the Little Creek Loop. Two reasons for this. The Little Creek Loop added a mile and a half to the hike and Little Creek was a beautiful little stream to hike next to. It contained several great waterfalls/ Ah-um cascades to Handstands, as it plunged down the hillside towards the Cape Fear River.
The Little Creek Loop rejoined the Raven Rock Loop near the top of the cliffs. There was a stairway of I think it was about 150 steps that took you down below the cliffs of Raven Rock.
Raven Rock is about 400 million years old. Located on the fall line between the Piedmont and the Carolina Coastal Plain, it was 1st known as Patterson’s Rock. This name came from a man who capsized his canoe in the area and took refuge under the rock. Later, in 1854, it became known as Raven Rock as it was a roost for ravens. The cliffs of Raven Rock extend for about 1 mile along the river and it rises to about 150 feet.
After hiking Little Creek and around Raven Rock I did the 1.2 mile out and back Fish Traps Trail. The fish traps were named for the fishing baskets of early settlers. The Fish Trap Rapids are a class 1 rapids. The rapids were a hinderance to the fish in the river and early settlers set baskets to catch the fish that were stuck along the rocks.
Just downstream from the Fish Traps were the remains of the Northington Ferry. The Ferry ran for a few years but was destroyed in a 1859 hurricane. Today the islands across the river where the ferry ran are still intact and visible. There was a cable stretched across the river between the islands. This kept the ferry going across the river instead of down the river. There is also an old road, today the Northington Ferry Trail that was a major thoroughfare during the 19th century.
After roaming around this section of the park I liked to do the Campbell’s Creek Trail. Campbell’s Creek was a five mile loop that took you past the primitive campground and to a short spur trail to Lanier Falls.
The Campbell Creek Trail stays on the creek for the first half of the loop.
For sure the highlight of this trail was Lanier Falls a class 2 rapids on the Cape Fear River. With only a drop of two feet one would not really call this a falls. But it is located exactly on the fall line so it gets it’s designation as a falls from that fact. Amazingly the rock shelf that causes the rapids extends completely across the river.
Christmas Eve 2015. I was off, momma was not, so I took a trip to Raven Rock. I was excited because we had had days of heavy rain. Little Creek should be running strong. And it was!
Next I went to the Raven Rock area and what a difference!
Sorry for the blurred picture but I was trying not to get swept into the river! Next I went to check out the fish traps. They are completely submerged.
Spent many a sunny summer morning at Raven Rock. Absolutely my favorite local park.