South Fork Rail-Trail

North Carolina

6 Reviews

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South Fork Rail-Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Lincoln
Length: 2 miles
Trail end points: Laboratory Rd. and Near the confluence of the South Fork Catawba River and Indian Creek
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7681267

South Fork Rail-Trail Description

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 with several small dams peppering the trail, 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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

South Fork Rail-Trail Reviews

Scenic, flat trail along river

The trail has been extended a little and is now four (4) miles round trip. It’s pretty level so it’s easy to walk, and wide enough for people to pass each other going the opposite direction. It runs along the South Fork River and has a couple of small dams along the way for possible photo opportunities. Definitely relaxing as the trail is mostly surrounded by trees and nature, and there are several benches along the trail if you need to take a break. It is a natural trail, but has some gravel in a few spots to prevent it from washing out. I’ve seen some people riding mountain bikes on it too. I would definitely recommend this trail to get some exercise, walk your dog (best friend), and enjoy nature.

great trail

I’ve rode and walked this trail several times. However using different programs the distance one way is 1.8 miles not 2.


Trail is level and shady. Easy to ride. My only complaint is that there are two huge trees that have fallen across the trail and you have to literally pick your bike up and carry it over the fallen trees. Not sure who needs to know about this to get it cleaned up.

Scenic views of the South Fork

I was able to get nice pics of the South Fork, on this short trail. my cell reception for Verizon was not good. There is a longer trail along the south fork, that starts in McAdenville. that is not on trail link, that is longer than this one. great views from that trail.


Nice, easy and beautiful trail

We were very surprised at this little beauty of a trail. There is so much to look at and enjoy. It's an easy walk. Great places for photo ops along the way!

Beautiful walk by the river

Easy to walk, nice wide trail. I wish it was a little longer

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