Marion Diehl Trail is officially the best hidden nature gem in Charlotte.
The pathway is only about five miles south of center-city Charlotte, but you’d never realize it as you walk through these dense, quiet woods. If you’re ever having a rough day at work and you just need to escape from all life forms except birds and bugs for an hour, this is the perfect place for you.
This trail is 2.5 miles of pure, peaceful bliss.
The trees are tall and mature, and lush greenery completely surrounds you as you walk the narrow dirt path. Walking through here, I was half-convinced that I had somehow found my way into a sizable forest in western North Carolina.
I accessed the trail from the Marion Diehl Recreation Center.
Go around to the back of the center, cross the back parking lot, and you’ll see a concrete path that leads into the forest.
To reach the main trail, walk along this concrete path until you reach an entryway to a dirt trail on your right.
The trail is multi-purpose, great for hiking or mountain biking. However, the trail is very narrow in some parts, so hikers should be on the lookout for mountain bikers speeding past.
I wouldn’t recommend running this trail, however, because there are a number of tree roots and rocks that could easily cause a painful face-plant. The beautiful scenery is best absorbed at a slower pace, anyways!
Also, don’t make my mistake: Avoid the trail the day after it rains, because I encountered several slippery mudslides that made the trail a little more difficult.
I’m more than excited to have found a place this untouched by development so close to Uptown Charlotte. If you’re itching to escape busy city life for an hour or two but you’re not in the mood for a two or three hour drive away from Charlotte, head to the Marion Diehl Trail for a nature stay-cation.