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As you might expect, the South Fork Rail-Trail closely follows the South Fork of the Catawba River on the south end of Lincolnton. The trail rests atop a former rail corridor within land preserved by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. Scenic views of the river abound, and wildflowers line the route in the late spring. The landscape along the trail consists primarily of forest and wetland, as well as an adjacent bald cypress swamp.
A gravel parking lot for the South Fork Rail-Trail can be found at the northern trailhead on Laboratory Road. Take Exit 20 (Lincolnton and High Shoals) off US 321 and turn left onto Gastonia Highway/Business US 321. After approximately 2.7 miles, turn left onto Southside Road, which quickly becomes Southfork Road. At Laboratory Road, turn right and cross the South Fork River. The parking lot is located on the right.
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