Trail Tuesday: Latta Plantation
Over the course of this blog I want to highlight trails that I visit often or really enjoy. I figured to get started I had to go with my first trail memories. Latta Plantation is a nature reserve in Huntersville that faces my favorite place, Mt. Island Lake. While the lake is tiny compared to it’s big brother Lake Norman, its the one that I saw on a daily basis while riding the school bus. Latta has lots of trails that are very easy to hike with a variety of scenery.
The two most common trails that I think everyone in the area has walked is Audubon and Cattail. Audubon is an awesome trail with lots of woods and is home to tons of fairy houses. Every year there is a fairy house festival where kids use sticks to build houses, they range from a few inches tall to an adult fitting inside. The Cattail has great views of the lake and there is even a section where you can climb on some boulders to really reach out to the lake. These trails are super easy to walk and lots of people do it with flip flops on although I wouldn’t recommend it because of the crazy amount of roots.
Other trails that I love include Buzzard Rock and the Catawba trail. These trails provide amazing views of the lake and boulders to climb on. Buzzard Rock and Catawba aren’t nearly as busy as Audubon and Cattail since there aren’t picnic tables near by but on a warm weekend watch out for lots of crowds. Buzzard Rock offers a nearly 180 degree view of the lake ranging from the cove to the open water. Catawba trail ends further in the cove but you can look back and get a different view of Buzzard Rock.
Beechwood and Treasure tree make a great figure 8 trail that is more woods and less water. On days when I know there is going to be a crowd these are the trails I go on because people forget they are here. Beechwood is a balloon trail that offers a little bit of elevation change and a quite relaxation with nature. Treasure tree is a fun quick trail that often times I end up running most of it because it is more of a challenge then just walking. While there is a leash law, Ladybug knows the trails so well and follows directions I will let her off her leash while on these trails. I rarely find people on them and always carry her leash in case other dogs or people pass us on the trail. The other trails are more packed and its harder to keep Ladybug focused and not worry other people.
The last trails I want to talk about are Piedmont Prairie, Split Rock and Cove. The parking lot to get to these trails is off the main road, most people don’t bother turning making these trails perfect for some alone time in the woods. While I would say all of Latta is green trails or easy, these are the hardest of the easy. There are some actual longer periods of climbing involved. Like many of the other trails Split Rock and Cove trail offer views of Mt. Island Lake, these however face back into the nature preserve meaning its all trees and no houses. If you live in the neighborhood next door you can even hike back to your house. Which I have done, because my dad was exhausted and didn’t feel he could make it back to the car. So Jeremy literally ran the trails back to the car and drove around to the neighborhood while I got dad and Ladybug up a last minute steep climb to get to the road.
All along the shore line you will find people fishing year round. Most of the trails at Latta are horse friendly as well. There is an equestrian center where you can rent a horse to ride or bring your own. Other attractions include the Carolina Raptor Center and the actual plantation house. I haven’t been to either since elementary school but I remember them being fun and very educational. There are covered picnic tables you can rent or uncovered ones that are first come first served. I’ve gone to birthday parties and graduation parties here. During the summer you can even rent a canoe or bring your own. I truly love coming to Latta plantation because I feel so connected here. I will set up my hammock and just stare a the lake because I can.