Hiking Overview & Map

picture of Trail Runner in Saxapahaw

This section of Haw River Trail/Mountains-to-Sea Trail winds through the eclectic community of Saxapahaw. The community centers around Saxapahaw Rivermill. The first mill was constructed here in the 1840s by John Newlin. The mill became known as the Saxapahaw Cotton Factory before closing in 1944. Over the past twenty years, Saxapahaw has been reborn as a regional center for culture, music, food, and outdoor adventure.

After parking at the Saxapahaw Mill Race Paddle Access, use the crosswalk across Church Road and follow the sidewalk until the trail begins at the bottom of the metal staircase. The trail then parallels a special section of the Haw River that is home to the endangered Yellow Lampmussel and the threatened Eastern Creekshell.

A network of community-maintained trails also winds around Saxapahaw Lake and along the ridge between the river and Lake Louise. Don’t leave Saxapahaw without a stop at the numerous shops and restaurants in the Saxapahaw Rivermill.

Visit thehaw.org for a current map of the park.


Saxapahaw Island Playground Fish

The park’s playground features a huge, one of a kind wooden fish slide that measures from head to fin 45 feet long. It stands 10 feet tall, is 8 feet wide and weighs six tons. The playground features other nature-inspired equipment including a spider climber, swing-set, and fort creation station.