Statesville, NC

Lake Norman State Park - A Perfect Place for a Winter Hike

Kim McKinney

All photos by Kim McKinney

It was a beautiful day in January and like many people I have found myself slacking when it comes to moving around and getting outdoors. The remedy? A hike at beautiful Lake Norman State Park with a good friend.

Winter is a wonderful time to hit the trails at this park, located in Troutman, North Carolina, north of Charlotte, NC, and south of Statesville. The trails are well maintained (though watch out for tree roots) and the vistas gorgeous. Not only good for hiking, but mountain bikers also flock to them. (Be aware of this if you are hiking on the higher difficulty trails used by bikers.)

The park began in September 1962, when Duke Power Company donated 1,328 acres of land for a state park. How it has grown and developed since then!

The park boasts 30.5 miles of hiking and biking trails. Study the trails available online before you go and follow the colored trail diamonds. There is also good info available from others about potential trails to start you off. There are several places to park throughout the park, making it easier to access whatever trail you prefer.

We chose the Lake Shore Loop, for about a 3 mile hike. After being inactive for a while, the benches scattered along the way provided for a nice break to rest my legs They were a welcome relief and also a great way to relax and breathe in the outdoors. Gorgeous lake views present themselves throughout the trail, especially in winter, making this one of my favorite hiking spots.

At the start of our trail was a sign that included some fun activities designed for families, but could be done by young and old alike. These are all part of the Kids In Parks, a program designed to get kids to engage with nature and learn in the process. Their website allows you to find an activity, sign up for it, and prizes can be won by kids for tracking their adventures. The brochures available at our sign/kiosk were:

  • The Need for Trees - Allows you to identify certain trees and learn about their importance to the ecosystem..
  • Nature’s Hide & Seek - A scavenger hunt to find items along your hike such as berties, bird nests, woodpecker holes, and oddly shaped tree trunks.
  • Birds of the Piedmont - An introduction to identifying birds, over 200 species which can be found in the area depending on the season.

This program is a great family activity for those who want to get their children out in nature, and away from electronics. Not only is it great exercise, but educational for all. And fun, too!

While we saw no trash along the trail that day, take a bag with you just in case. Let’s teach kids (and adults) the importance of keeping our trails clean.

Lake Norman State Park has both group camping and tent and trailer camping available. Note that group camping is only available from April through November.

There is a public boat dock in the park, as well as spots for fishing. In the summer, you can enjoy the 125-yard long beach area, with canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and paddleboards are available to rent at reasonable fees.

While the lake is more visible in winter, the summer brings more foliage for shade, as well as more plants and wildflowers to see. Still, while we were there we saw six deer on the side of the road and crossing the road at the entrance of the park. Can you notice a few here?

Any time of year is a good time to hike at Lake Norman State Park, but I admit I love the coolness of winter. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, or more, of your day. Park hours through February are 7 a.m, to 6 p.m. The boat launch and campground have 24-hour access. The park is open every day throughout the year except for Christmas Day.

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I love stories of people and places and enjoy telling these stories. I live in my hometown of Statesville, NC, in the Charlotte area, and love to show how lovely life is here. More is going on than may meet the eye. I also enjoy expanding throughout North Carolina to show the places and activities and people that make me believe life is fascinating and travel as much as I can, so write about that, too. I also have a passion for justice and a special interest in accessible healthcare, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. I am a woman of faith, joy, laughter, adventure, and live life to the full. Follow me on Twitter at or my blog or

Statesville, NC

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