Parks & Na­ture

Where Charlotte - - MUSEUMS + ATTRACTIONS -

CROW­DERS MOUN­TAIN STATE PARK

About a half-hour drive west of Char­lotte lies Crow­ders Moun­tain, the sec­ond high­est point in Gas­ton County. Rock climb­ing at Crow­der Moun­tain—with sheer ver­ti­cal cliffs drop­ping 150 feet—prom­ises to be a peak ex­pe­ri­ence. Breath­tak­ing views (on clear days you can see the Queen City!) await atop sev­eral hik­ing trails, which span more than 25 miles. Climbers must reg­is­ter with the park staff. Other ac­tiv­i­ties at the park in­clude camp­ing, ca­noe­ing, fish­ing and pic­nick­ing. Hours vary by sea­son. www.nc­parks.gov 522 Park Of­fice Lane, 704.853.5375.

FREE­DOM PARK

Now, this is a city park—98 acres, four base­ball fields, two bat­ting cages, 12 tennis courts, four soccer fields, a seven-acre lake, an am­phithe­ater, two play­grounds, walk­ing trails and five out­door shel­ters with grills. It’s a great place to es­cape ur­ban­ity and take a walk or just peo­ple-watch. Free park ad­mis­sion. hours vary by sea­son. www.char­lottes­go­talot.com. 1900 East Blvd., 704.432.4280. Map 1, D6

MCDOW­ELL NA­TURE CEN­TER AND PRE­SERVE

This na­ture cen­ter and pre­serve offers every­thing from towering trees, bab­bling brooks, lake views

and prairie restora­tions. There are seven miles of trails avail­able to hike and ex­plore, and they’re dog friendly too. Boat­ing and fish­ing are also en­cour­aged, and if you’re look­ing to spend your time here for mul­ti­ple days, try us­ing their camp­site. 15222 South York Road, 704.875.1391.

MCGILL ROSE GAR­DEN

More than 200 va­ri­eties of roses along with an­nu­als, peren­ni­als and herbs, plus, foun­tains and stat­u­ary by lo­cal artists grace the north­ern edge of Up­town, of­fer­ing a quiet place for med­i­ta­tion, paint­ing and ad­mi­ra­tion. It’s no won­der this ma­jes­tic oa­sis is a favorite spot for wed­dings, too. Open Tu-F 10 am-4 pm, Sa 10 am-3 pm. 940 N. David­son St., 704.905.9808. Map 2, G4

OLD SET­TLERS’ CEME­TERY

Char­lotte’s old­est ceme­tery is the fi­nal rest­ing place of many Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War vet­er­ans as well as many founders of Char­lotte, with graves dat­ing be­tween 1774 and 1878. Open daily 6 am-9 pm. 200 W Trade St.

UNC CHAR­LOTTE BOTAN­I­CAL GAR DENS

This nat­u­ral at­trac­tion on the cam­pus of UNC Char­lotte con­sists of a com­bi­na­tion of out­door and in­door gar­den fa­cil­i­ties. Three en­vi­ron­ments of­fer a wood­land glen, a green­house host­ing six themed col­lec­tions, and the gar­dens, which fea­ture na­tive and non-na­tive plants. Sug­gested do­na­tion: $2. Out­door gar­dens open dur­ing day­light hours. 9090 Craver Road, 704.687.8622. Map 1, E4

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