While driving down Sweeten Creek Rd the other day, we saw a little sign that read Collier Cove Nature Preserve. It’s so close to our home, and we’ve never heard of it before, so today we decided to check it out.
The park was opened to the public in 2014.
This trailhead/parking area is located at 194 Rhododendron Drive in Arden, NC. There is limited parking and no restroom facilities are available.
The park consists of over 29 acres of hillside woodland with nearly 2 miles of well defined, steep and strenuous hiking trails. There are several areas with ample clearing, which provides beautiful views of the eastern Butler mountain Range.
Activities in the park include hiking, picnicking, and nature loving. Mountain biking is not allowed in the park as the trails have sharp turns and lack the width and visibility to accommodate hiking and biking without running the risk of user conflicts and accidents.
The preserve’s trail system is not that long, but we made several figure 8s to extend our distance.
The trails are very well maintained.
But when they say the trails are short but steep and rigorous, they aren’t kidding. The preserve is on the side of a mountain, so it’s very hilly, but very well laid out.
Fortunately, it’s still early in spring, so there are lots of wild flowers to stop and admire which gave me time to catch my breath.
The trails are well marked with signs, and color blaze marks on the trees that match the color coded map of the trails.
The views are beautiful, and there are park benches were you can relax and take in the scenery.
The last trail loop we took was Trillium. It was by far the steepest most difficult trail of them all, but the trail is named after the trillium flower, and the entire hillside was literally covered with them. It was truly a spectacular site which definitely helped make the steep climb more enjoyable.
Trillium is a genus of perennial flowering plants native to temperate regions of North America and Asia. It was formerly treated in the family Trilliaceae or trillium family, a part of the Liliales or lily order. Today we saw pink, purple and white Trillium.
While they are beautiful to look at, they are also extremely fragile, and picking them seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year, often effectively killing the plant and ensuring none will grow in its place.
There’s just a couple things we found disheartening today and that was the amount of graffiti on signs and park benches and the amount of trash left around. The people that do these things have no appreciation of the beauty of nature and have no respect for the hard work others put in to making the preserve come to fruition.
…Sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash to leave the world better than you found it.