Sunday, February 6, 2011

Broad River Greenway - Cotton Wood Trail 2/6/2011

The sun is finally shining after two days of rainy weather.  It seemed like a good day to walk at the Broad River Greenway in Boiling Springs, NC.   We chose to walk the trail on the north side of the river heading downstream today.  There are also several trails upstream on this side  of the river and a trail on the opposite shore accessed from a separate parking area. There is a parking fee if you do not have a greenway parking sticker.

 First we made a stop at the swimming hole where we discovered fresh deer prints in the wet sand.  This area is a busy spot in the summer with children and adults alike playing in the water.  The river is broad and shallow in this area so the water is a comfortable temperature and the bottom is mostly sandy with some rocks to play around.  Swimming is at your own risk.  But today was not a day to play in the water so we headed downstream.

The first three tenths of a mile are handicap accessible and pass picnic tables with charcoal grills, a pavilion, a canoe launch site, a small playground, Phifer Cabin, and a small fishing pier.  At the end of this section you  cross a foot bridge and  continue on an easy to follow and well  mantained trail.  This is a mostly level hike with very little elevation change.

A short distance down the trail is a small stream crossing.  It is very easily navigated by stepping on the rocks but is a pleasant spot for children to stop and play.  Another popular spot for the young ones is the small cave a little further down the trail on the left.  The trail stays close to the river and offers views of rocks, small rapids, and an island.

 At about eight tenths of a mile from the parking lot the trail turns away from the river and becomes harder to follow.  There is a fork in the trail that is hard to spot.  We missed the fork and followed the trail to the left.  Soon we had to cross a small stream, walked up a small hill, and down a gravel road to the river where we saw the marking for the end of the trail.  Backtracking about two tenths of a mile we found where the trail had gone right when we went left.  We followed it part way back.  This section is not often traveled and we had to watch for the trail signs to stay on it. 

We did not see another person on the trail untill we were on the way back.  We did see wildlife though including a downy woodpecker, a Red Crowned Kinglet, towhees, a titmouse, geese, sparrows, squirrels, and chipmunks.  On a quiet day like today you can hear the water babbling and the birds singing.  In warmer weather this is a much busier trail.

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