Last Updated on February 24, 2021
Last Updated on February 24, 2021
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Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland and Harnett counties (near Fayetteville) is one of our favorite outdoor spaces! This 4,530-acre park full of sand and pine trees offers a different kind of hiking experience than that of Western North Carolina but is one that is just as enjoyable nonetheless.
In this article, we will detail things we love about Carvers Creek State Park, including tips to fully enjoy the trails inside its two access points.
Lace up your shoes, hiking boots, or pack your saddle, and join us for a fun ride in the woods!
This post is part of our series on awesome places to visit in Eastern North Carolina. We’ve featured it among our favorite day trips from Greensboro. A visit to Carvers Creek State Park is also mentioned in our guide covering the best things to do in North Carolina.
Carvers Creek State Park
Leave No Trace Note: Please remember to keep our State Parks beautiful when you visit! Leave no trace and pick up any trash you bring with you.
Hikers are encouraged to leave the area more beautiful by picking up any you may see along your journey.
One thing to keep in mind that this area is still pretty wild. Keep in mind that venomous snakes, poisonous plants, ticks, and other biting insects call Carvers Creek State Park “home.”
Be mindful when you visit and load up on insect repellent if visiting during warmer months.
Yes, we still file this under “things we love” because the caretakers of Carvers Creek are doing a great job of respecting local wildlife while also keeping its visitors safe.
Two Distinct Access Points
This is where things get a little complicated. Carvers Creek State Park is split into two access points that are not connected and located 15 minutes apart. Long Valley Farm and the Sandhills access are very different, but both are considered Carvers Creek State Park.
Long Valley Farm Access
The main access point for Carvers Creek State Park is the Long Valley Farm location at 2505 Long Valley Road in Spring Lake. This location of the park is filled with cypress trees, sandy paths, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker!
At the Long Valley Farm access point, hikers will also find the park office, a welcome center, and restrooms.
The Long Valley Farm access is the formal park entrance, but we found that the Sandhills access (995 McCloskey Road, Fayetteville) actually has longer trails that are quite different from Long Valley Farm.
Here, you’ll find yourself shrouded by longleaf pines and out of the sun. The trails are more narrow and wind through the forest giving an enchanted vibe.
This portion of the park also allows for horseback riding, with more details in our “trails” section. There are basic restrooms available at this access point.
You once could fish at the Long Valley Farm access and that may be the case when they fix the damage incurred from storms. However, you can fish at either of the ponds on the Sandhills side of the park.
Both are only accessible by foot, bike, or horse, so prepare accordingly. More details on them in our “trails” section.
Historic Rockefeller Connections
The Long Valley Farm access was once a former winter retreat for the Rockefeller family.
James Rockefeller was the grandnephew to oil magnate John D. Rockefeller and was an Olympic rowing champion in the 1924 Paris Olympics. The Farm was donated upon James Rockefeller’s death in 2004 and was established as a park in 2005.
Even More History
When it opened, Carvers Creek State Park was the first North Carolina state park to open in the Sandhills region, stretching through both Cumberland and Harnett counties.
Great Trails for Walking and Riding
Both accesses offer really nice trails for walking and biking while the Sandhills Access allows horseback riding, too. Horseback riders have the right of way, which means both hikers and cyclists yield to them. Cyclists must yield to both horseback riders and hikers by stopping and moving to the side of the trail.
Long Valley Farm Access Trails
There are two hiking trails at Long Valley Farm, both notable and worth exploring.
Rockefeller Loop Trail
2 Miles (White Circles)
The Rockefeller Loop Trail begins at the parking lot and takes hikers to the house that we mentioned was once owned by James Stillman Rockefeller. To get there, you’ll walk through a scenic mix of fields and a pine forest.
Cypress Point Loop Trail
0.75 Miles (Blue Circles)
Cypress Point starts at an intersection with the Rockefeller Loop near the Rockefeller House. There are some nice views along this path, including a 100-acre millpond. While fishing isn’t available right now, you can picnic here and stare out at the pond.
Sandhills Access Trails
A total of 10.4 miles of trails make up the Sandhills access of Carvers Creek State Park. We’ll start by describing the Longleaf Pine Trail before listing the rest in ABC order.
Longleaf Pine Trail
4 Miles One Way (White Triangles)
The Longleaf Pine Trail is the main trail from the parking lot that connects to nearly all of the other trails in the Sandhills Access. It’s flanked on the parking lot side by the Wiregrass Loop Trail and the Turkey Oak Loop Trail meets it on the opposite end at the four-mile mark.
You can connect with them to extend your hike. or ride.
Dead End Spur
0.6 Miles (Yellow Triangles)
One trail that Longleaf Pine doesn’t connect to is the Dead End Spur. This short trail sits off on its own and connects to the Fox Squirrel Loop Trail, which we’ll mention shortly.
Fox Squirrel Loop Trail
1.1 Miles (Yellow Hexagons)
While following the Longleaf Pine Trail, the Fox Squirrel Loop Trail is the first major intersection you’ll meet. It’s not too far past the Little Spur Pond Trail and is a nice loop to add to your total trip.
Little Pond Spur Trail
0.1 Mile One Way (Blue Triangles)
This is the shortest trail at Carvers Creek State Park and just off the Longleaf Pine Trail. The beautiful pond at the end is definitely a highlight and reason enough to veer off onto the Little Pond Spur Trail.
RCW Loop Trail
1.5 Miles (Orange Hexagons)
Before the Turkey Oak Loop Trail, this is the last to meet the Longleaf Pine Trail. You’ll cross Carvers Creek via a footbridge and continue through a series of trees, some marked with white paint and woodpecker holes.
Turkey Oak Loop Trail
1.7 Miles (White Hexagons)
The Turkey Oak Loop Trail picks things up from the Long Leaf Pine Trail’s end and takes you toward the park’s boundary with Fort Bragg, though not too close. A scenic trail awaits, with a larger pond than the “little” one off the Longleaf Pine Trail.
Wire Grass Loop Trail
1.4 Miles (Blue Hexagons)
From the parking lot, you can start the Longleaf Pine Trail or head in the opposite direction and take the Wire Grass Loop Trail. It’s a nice scenic mix of pines and wiregrass.
Carvers Creek State Park is Growing
Like Mayo River State Park and others in North Carolina, Carvers Creek State Park is still growing and the State of North Carolina continues to develop plans for this awesome place. That means the story of this wonderful park continues to develop and we are excited to see what will transpire!
Ready to Explore Carvers Creek State Park?
When we’re in Fayetteville, visiting Carvers Creek State Park is one of our favorite things to do with our kid. Afterward, we’re off to find a new (or familiar) restaurant to fuel up and continue exploring Cumberland County!
Carvers Creek State Park is an excellent location for families in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg to spend some time outdoors. The relatively flat and easy trails offer a close-up view of the diverse ecosystem of the Sandhills.
If you’re familiar with this park, we’d love to know about your experiences in the comments. Do you hike or ride through this park? You can also share in our Facebook Group! In case you haven’t made it yet, we hope you enjoy yourself getting out in nature!