The marked, packed dirt trail is shady and wide enough for you and your pooch to walk side by side. On the north end in Lowell, you'll find access to the trail and streetside neighborhood parking at the end of Catawba Run Road. This trail is pawrfect for families with children because of its ease and abundance of lush flora and fauna to investigate. Many turtles have made this their home and can be seen forming long parades along the bank or up the side of a boulder. Many birds perch in the trees and dart above you, songbirds as well as raptors.
Typically slow-moving and tranquil, the Catawba becomes a rushing river after a heavy rainfall as it tumbles over the rapids formed by the rocky riverbed. Often the water floods the flat river's edge and causes muddy hiking conditions for human and dog, while deadfall in the river and across the path tells the story of this aged forest.
If you and Fido are up for a water adventure, there's access points along the trail for canoes and kayaks to put in. Be sure to remember to bring a lifejacket for the fur-baby. Also carry plenty of water for this trail, especially in the summer when the temperatures soar. Clean-up bags should be on hand as well.
The South Fork Trail is part of the "Butterfly Highway," a network of trails and parks graced with many flowering shrubs and plants that attract butterflies, bees and birds who rely on pollen and who then continue to pollinate the region.
The trail ends after it has passed under the highway and into McAdenville, where there is a parking lot and trail access off of Willow Drive.
Quiet and peaceful because it isn't well known, the South Fork Trail is the pawrfect destination for an afternoon of solitude. The only crowds you'll find here are the mosquitoes!