Joyful Journey: Carvers Creek State Park

“Nature is the source of all true knowledge.” –Leonardo da Vinci

Carvers Creek State Park, nestled in the heart of North Carolina, is a true haven for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This sprawling 4,530-acre natural wonderland offers a glimpse into the region’s diverse ecosystem while preserving the historical legacy of the Rockefeller family. From serene lakes to lush forests, this park beckons visitors to embrace the beauty of the outdoors while delving into the fascinating past of its landscape.

Brief History

Once the private estate of the prominent Rockefeller family, this land has transformed into a public state park, preserving the legacy of one of America’s wealthiest families. The property was purchased by James Stillman Rockefeller in the early 20th century and served as a rural retreat. Over the years, the family developed the estate, creating a reservoir and a picturesque garden, known as the Formal Garden. After being donated to the state of North Carolina, it was designated as Carvers Creek State Park and opened to the public in 2013, allowing everyone to appreciate its natural and historical significance. 

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, at 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. There are basic restrooms available at this access point.

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” –Mary Davis
Hiking and Trails

Carvers Creek State Park offers a network of well-maintained trails, providing ample opportunities for hiking and exploration. Whether you’re a novice hiker or an experienced trekker, the park offers trails of varying difficulty levels. The Rockefeller Loop Trail is a popular choice, winding through the forested landscape, offering glimpses of the estate’s historical remnants and the shimmering McLauchlin Lake.

Fishing and Boating

McLauchlin Lake, the centerpiece of the park, is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can cast their lines to catch a variety of fish, creating a serene and meditative experience. Additionally, non-motorized boating is allowed on the lake, making it an ideal spot for kayaking or canoeing.

Picnicking and Relaxation

Numerous designated picnic areas are scattered throughout the park, providing the perfect setting for a relaxed outdoor meal with family and friends. Visitors can also enjoy a peaceful day of reading, sketching, or simply soaking up the sun in the designated leisure areas.

Unique Features
Formal Garden

A key highlight of Carvers Creek State Park is the meticulously preserved Formal Garden, a beautiful showcase of horticultural artistry. Visitors can wander through this elegantly designed garden, adorned with fountains, terraces, and blooming flowers, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Rockefeller family.

Historical Structures

The estate is home to historical structures like the Rockefeller House, where James and Mary Rockefeller once resided. This structure is a portal to the past, allowing visitors to step back in time and understand the lifestyle of the family during their ownership of the estate.

At the End of the Day
“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” –E.B.White

As the day comes to a close at Carvers Creek State Park, visitors often find solace in the tranquility of the park. The setting sun casts a warm glow on the landscape, creating a serene ambiance. Hikers make their way back from the trails, and families gather at the picnic areas to share stories and enjoy a peaceful evening. The symphony of nature’s sounds and the breathtaking views ensure a memorable end to the day. 

Carvers Creek State Park stands as a testament to the delicate balance between preserving historical heritage and embracing the natural world. From the grandeur of the Formal Garden to the simplicity of a lakeside picnic, this park invites all to appreciate the beauty of North Carolina’s landscapes and the rich tapestry of its history. A visit to this unique state park promises a day of exploration, learning, and serenity in the embrace of nature’s wonders.

Carvers Creek State Park has two entrances; the Long Valley Farm Access is located at 2505 Long Valley Road, Spring Lake, NC 28390, and the Sandhills Access entrance is located at 995 McCloskey Road, Fayetteville, NC 28311. Hours of operation in November and December are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information email the park office at or call 910-436-4681. 


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