Gold Hill Rail-Trail

North Carolina

2 Reviews

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Gold Hill Rail-Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Rowan
Length: 2.2 miles
Trail end points: St Stephen Church Rd at Baptist Church Rd and Little Buffalo Creek west of Millingport Rd & north of Old Mine Rd
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017571

Gold Hill Rail-Trail Description

A trip along the Gold Hill Rail-Trail through this historic village will transport you back to a time when North Carolina was the country's major gold-producing state. Signs posted every few hundred feet along the mile-long dirt and gravel path detail the history of mining in the state.

Gold was discovered in Gold Hill in 1824, just 20 miles from Reed Gold Mine, where in 1799 a 12-year-old boy found a 17lb. gold nugget. By the early 1840's Gold Hill was becoming known as the richest mining property east of the Mississippi. The north end of the trail begins about 100 yards past the junction of St. Stephens Church Road and Baptist Church Road. Watch for the kiosk marking the northwest entrance to the Gold Hill Mines Historic Park and the rail-trail. You can park at the softball field and follow the wayfinding signs for the trail.

Fron the softball field, the trail meanders north through the woods to Gold Hill Pond before curving to head south and passing the Powder House, a 19th century storage facility for dynamite and blasting materials for the mining industry. For an alternative route, take the path that heads south from the parking lot and explore the park's other historical landmarks, which include the old Randolph Shaft, Miller Mine, a steam engine, and the Assay Office, where miners staked their claims and weighed their gold. The route merge again at St. Stephens Church Road, creating a loop.

The trail crosses the street by the church parking lot and there is a parking lot for the trail with a "Gold Hill Mining District" informational marker on the southeast side of the road. There are several historical landmarks here as well, including a former mine shaft, the Chilean Ore Mill, and the old stone jail. The park's visitor center is nearby at 770 St Stephens Church Rd. Continuing to follow the former railroad corridor south through the park, the route includes a bamboo forest. The trail Old Beatty Ford Road and then crosses back over St. Stephens Church Road once again. 

Much of the trail passes through forests and lush woodlands, so keep watch for wildlife, such as deer and broadtail hawks. There are a few swampy patches; be prepared for a muddy trek if you visit following a rainstorm. The trail ends at the old Union Gold and Copper Mine site in Cabarrus County.

The view of the ruins is almost breathtaking. Stay on the trail so as not to trespass on private property. Back in the village, check out the various historic buildings that have been restored as cafés, antique shops and museums.

Parking and Trail Access

Park at St. Stephen's Church or in the small lot across the road. The trailhead lies back up the road, just shy of the St. Stephens Church/Baptist Church intersection. Visit the TrailLink map for detailed directions.

You can also find trail maps at the Montgomery General Store in the village. 


Gold Hill Rail-Trail Reviews

Carol&Jack Eicher

We rode this trail and had a fun experience. It is not the typical rail trail. It is really 2 miles not 1 as stated in the info. I would highly recommend buying the book for $4.00 at the General Store. It has great info. We ran into the author of the book and had her autograph it for us. Gold Hill is a fascinating very old small town with captivating small shops. It is a great place to visit even if not riding/hiking the trail. I would ditto the review above that warns about the trail ending abruptly as it drops off into a ravine. That part of the trail has logs in front of the entrance as it really is not opened yet. However the explorers in us just went around them. Fortunately we were riding slowly and could stop. I assume there was a bridge there. Would be great if they could rebuild one as the trail continues on the other side.

Gold Hill Rail Trail

We would have enjoyed the Gold Hill Trail more if the trail had markers letting us no that it would end suddenly, thank God my son was in front of us and noticed it, other than that we enjoyed the history of the place. The people there seemed curious of why we were there and what we were doing which didnt bother us, but let us know that the community takes care of the little town.

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