Monday, September 24, 2012


                                 High Point-Jamestown NC

On a Sunday afternoon....we were jonesing for a hike....I remembered reading of a place with an unusual name.....Piedmont Environmental Center....located on Penny Road in the center of the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina.....what kind of a name is this for a park?  Who would have imagined that it boasts one of the nicest hiking trails the FBWG has experienced?!

The park is located on High Point Lake right down the road from the shopping center with the Palladium Theatre.  A wooden mural map shows you the multi-colored trail options...from short to long distances. The Park has two sections- The Southern and Northern Preserves

The trails are well marked with colored signposts but when you look at the sign and try to remember what each color means you are soon are confused....but if you download EveryTrails App on your I-phone, you will find that some nice hiker has an interactive map for you to follow.
For a trail located in the middle of a large metropolitan area, the trails of the Southern Preserve quickly engulf you making you forget where you could be a deep forest miles from the nearest home.... the trails are well maintained with many footbridges to cross wetlands as they lead to the shoreline of High Point Lake.
Taking the trail in the Southern Preserve, we headed for the shores of High Point particular we wanted to experience the views from a peninsula that is across from the Jamestown Park. Generally following the Bill Faver Lakeshore trail we soon intersected with the Raccoon Run Trail which took us to the lake shore.  
The PEC is a 376 acre wooded wonderland tucked between Greensboro, Jamestown and High Point.  High Point Lake was built in the 1920's to serve as a reservoir for the city of High Point....the Park was conceived in the 1970's but did not come into reality until Guilford County approved a park bond in 1989.   The Southern Preserve is across the lake from the Jamestown City Park, another hidden gem....wonder how our kids never got to play on the train there?!
Many nice views from Raccoon Point wet your taste for even better views to come.

We even had an occasional glimpse of the coming fall....this hike will be a gorgeous fall hike for sure!

The Raccoon Trail loops around Raccoon Point and merges back into the Bill Faver Lakeshore trail....don't ask me what color cause I can't remember...just follow the lake shore...

The trail is very wooded and offers enough elevation change to keep your heart rate up. And even though the parking lot was full of cars we encountered few folks on the trail.

The trail even offers an occasional park bench to rest your dogs.

The trail even offers an unusual tree....don't I find one of these on every trail I hike?

There are many points of interest along the shoreline of High Point Lake....such as this wooded island.

And a secluded cove framed by a lichen barked long leaf pine.

This rock seemed out of place....and the bird house seemed unoccupied. 

And getting my Jesus on. Yet again another scene reminded me of a Bible verse and promise of God.
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."  Psalm 119:105

Some wild flowers were still in bloom in parts of the trail....neat blue color against the green backdrop.....

And the obligatory toadstool....wonder if the wood fairies really reside underneath. FBWG takes no risk on disturbing them....never gonna kick one over for sure

The lakeshore trail soon begins up hill and runs parallel with the BiCentennial Greenway which is a paved bike/hike trail....the Greenway connects the Southern Preserve with the North Preserve and runs along the edge of the Jamestown Golf Course.

It also descends down some interesting stairs for dismounted bike riders. Wonder if anyone tries to ride down the stairs?
The greenway has some nice views of the lake shore as well and is about .75 mile connector between the Southern Preserve and the Northern Preserve

A solitary fisherman in a yellow canoe

As we walked I spied one of the prettiest water fowls that God has a created...a blue Heron....I tried to photograph him twice and each time he flew away before I could get a good shot....but on the way back I spied him....but before I could snap a picture, he let loose a piercing screech and flew away again....I snapped away not sure if I got him....but I did!

The greenway ends at a public road that you have to carefully cross and on the other side, the Northern Preserve trails begin.

The Southern Preserve is a 4 mile loop and the Northern Preserve is a 5 mile loop. There are less trails to confuse you in the Northern Preserve.  The trails are good but obviously not as well traveled and the lake views are stunning.

Due to the lateness of the hour we elected to cut short our hike in the Northern Preserve but before we turned around we stopped to take in a wonderful reflective view of the lake.

This lake view must have been special to someone else as well for as we begin to leave I spotted a small shrine erected in the woods.  It was a plastic vase with a wilted rose and red ribbon.

You have to wonder the story behind the wilted rose.....but it is partially answered by a close look at a card that still bears a loving sentiment.

Proving once again that a hike is where you look for one.  The Piedmont Environmental Center is a hidden gem in the Triad.  It is easy to find.  Take Highway 68 off of I-40....turn left on Penny Road and it is about 3 miles out on the left.  It is an easy hike.  We completed five miles in a little over two hours.  We can't wait to return and do the Northern Preserve when fall colors arrive.

UPDATE:  October 21, 2012 
With fall upon us, we headed off for the second hike of the weekend...a 5.4 mile hike of the Northern Preserve.....great hike on very pleasant afternoon

The trails in the Northern Preserve are more wooded and interspersed with wooden bridges crossing many occasional creeks flowing into the lake....the Red/White Loop generally follows the lake shore toward the back of the lake, there are some nice  views of a seldom used part of High Point Lake.

The back part of the lake is more secluded and has a wilderness feel which makes you forget that you are in the center of an urban area.  The fall colors have arrived giving the wooded trails a golden glow. 

We got to follow my friend the Blue Heron back into his habitat and got a glimpse of his mate fishing on the far side of the lake.  The trail was often narrow and the view of the lake blocked by trees but it was a great hike along a surprisingly well used runner passed us four times!

The trail loops around to the Bicentennial Greenway along a nice rocky creek.  At the top of the hill you intersect with the 3.5 miles you will find that a Scout Troop sponsored bench offers a needed break.

You finish the hike along the Bicentennial for the bicyclists....if you get annoyed with the urban feel you can jump back into the woods at the top of the hill and catch the Green/Yellow spur back to the Red/White trail....

This is a real hidden gem in the triad....easy hike...nice scenery....great access....and lots of wooded trails....some 20 miles one hiker told us....we will go back you can bet on that! FBWG 10-21-12

The Fat Bald White Guy Rates this Hike:
Access is a 10

Trails are an 8...don't care for the paved greenway

Views are an 8...great but not Linville Gorge stunning

Overall a solid 8....not bad for a five mile hike 15 minutes from my house!

I write this blog in part for two allow folks who can't hike to experience a virtual hike and to encourage other couch potatoes to join me on the trail...this is a great hike for everyone!

UPDATE  JULY 12, 2015

Returning to the park on a hot July Sunday....we go to see Bambi....standing in the trail

We also got another look at the magnificent Blue Herons that inhabit this park...truly gorgeous birds.

A reflection of the bird in flight is a better picture than the camouflaged bird itself.  
A great place to hike......


  1. I am moving to High Point about 1 mile from the Piedmont Environmental Center. I can say that if I never read your post here I would of never known about this area. The name don't sound very good, kind of like it's a central park like in NYC. We are very close to purchasing a home on Pennywood Dr.

    What church are you a member of?

  2. We finally made our move to NC. We found a place in Jamestown on Westbury Dr, about 3 miles from the PEC. I have thoroughly enjoyed my walks/hikes here. Coming from the vast forestland of Northern Michigan to the urban setting of the Triad, this is an oasis for me and my dog Abbie. I credit your blog in guiding me to choosing this area, which is not to far of a commute to where I work. I plan on visiting many of the places in NC you reviewed on your blog.