Gold Hill Rail-Trail

North Carolina

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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
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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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 only 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.

While gold was unofficially discovered here in 1799 by a 12-year-old boy, in its glory days Gold Hill was the richest mining property east of the Mississippi.

The trail begins about 100 yards past the junction of St. Stephens Church Road and Baptist Church Road. There's no sign or even a clear path to indicate that the strip of grass along the road is a trail, but if you want the full history lesson, park at St. Stephen's and backtrack to this point.

On the route back to your car, you'll pass the old Randolph Shaft, a miner's field, the powder house and the assay office, where miners staked their claims and weighed their gold. Just past the assay office is the first historical marker. Cross the street here to join the clearly defined gravel trail.

Much of the onward trail passes through forest, 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.

End the trail at the old Union Gold and Copper Mine site in Cabarrus County. The view of the ruins is almost breathtaking. Hikers must 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

Take I-85 to Exit 76 and head south on US Highway 52. In Gold Hill, turn right at the post office on Doby Drive, a quick left on Old US Highway 80 and a quick right on St. Stephens Church Road. 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. Contact:

Historic Gold Hill & Mines Foundation
P.O. Box 206
Gold Hill, NC 28071

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


Gold Hill Rail-Trail Reviews

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.

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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