Hiking At Saxapahaw Island Park

Spring showed up & we celebrated by taking our first hike of the season. It wasn’t one of our mountain-conquering feats but instead, easygoing. We were just happy to be outside!

Our Destination…

Saxapahaw Island Park is located in Alamance County, North Carolina. It expands 30 acres, has a meadow, river/fishing access, a playground, hiking trails, & if I’m not mistaken, designated areas for camping. If you do nothing but take up space on a park bench, the sound of the Haw River & beautiful views will captivate you. My family is excited to return & check out the scenery once everything is in bloom.

If you watch the vlog of our time there, you’ll hear us mention bringing our bikes. However, we found out biking isn’t allowed. The trails are quite narrow so that’s understandable if the rule still stands.

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Saxapahaw Island Park was seven years in the making & opened on April 14, 2018. Get this… the island was once a gathering place for mill workers & their families. It was a bustling area that also included a baseball field. As times changed & the island was basically abandoned, people showed up with four wheelers to get wild & test the terrain. It has since been reimagined & revived as a space for families to find outdoor respite & enjoyment.

The hiking fire was reignited in our 2pbgirls during our time there. They were especially impressed with the giant fish slide. The slide itself isn’t very long but the fish in its entirety is something to see! It weighs six tons, stands 10 feet tall, 8 feet wide, & is 45 feet long from head to fin! Check it out-and other photos-on my Instagram feed here. (Are you following me yet?) The playground also has swings & climbing equipment if you’re wondering.

Of course, we turned our hike into more of an adventure by taking the less beaten paths & paving our way through the bushes. Yes, I was paranoid about encountering snakes but luckily we didn’t! We only hiked one side of the island. Next time, we’ll hike the other side & take snacks & blankets to have a full experience. There are designated places to grill, too!

Haw River
Saxapahaw Island Park
Saxapahaw Island Park
NC Parks

Know Before You Go…

If you decide to visit, here are my suggestions (which are pretty common for any hike/outdoor experience):

-Give yourself a few hours if you really want to explore

-Wear sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, & long pants if you’re an adventurer

-Carry a hiking stick/trekking pole to move aside briars & climb hills if you venture off the trails

(We also use them as protection to ward off wildlife. Haven’t needed them yet, but you never know!)

-Bring plenty of water

-If you plan to stay a while, double check essentials before leaving home (first aid kit, hand sanitizer, wipes, blankets, snacks, etc.)

We didn’t have to use the restroom while at the park, so I’m unsure about availability. However, less than a minute away (driving distance) is the Saxapahaw General Store which has restrooms for public use. The store also serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner. Check out the menu here. I haven’t sampled the food yet, but I’ve only heard great things about it!

After visiting the park, be sure to let me know your thoughts or experiences. This is one of many North Carolina parks & hiking trails my family will definitely return to. I’ll be sure to post anything new you should know.

Saxapahaw Island Park

5550 Church Road
Graham, NC 27253

From The Website…

“Saxapahaw Island Park (park and paddle access) is open every day of the year except for Christmas Day (12/25). Please refer to the yearly hours below:

November-February: 8am-5pm
March: 8am-6pm
April: 8am-7pm
May-August: 8am-8pm
September-October: 8am-7pm

Gate accesses are locked at closing time. Please do not leave your vehicle parked at a trailhead after the posted closing time.”

Rules

“Park rules are enforced by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Department. In case of emergency call 911.

The following actions are prohibited at all Haw River Trail facilities, including Shallow Ford:

  • Possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs

  • Riding of bikes or horses on trails

  • Setting fires outside of fire rings or grills

  • Use of motor vehicles outside of parking area

  • Littering or defacing of County property

  • Possession of weapons in violation of state law

  • Solicitation or advertising of any kind

  • Failure to have pets on a leash

  • Fishing from boat launch area

  • Removal of plants or other natural materials

  • Camping outside of designated areas

Thank you for helping to keep the park a pleasant, family-friendly experience!”