It’s always good to get your scouting group out in nature on a hike. One good park that we visited last year was Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, NC. About 1 hour drive away, this park offers great hikes and spectacular views. There are a few options on hiking. If you want a 2-3 hour hike, choose the raven rock loop trail. This takes you down to, well, the Raven Rock. Come into the state park and park off to the right before you get to the Welcome Center. There is a picnic shelter there which is right next to the path. Be sure to go to the restrooms before you leave as there are not any facilities along the way.
Before you leave on the hike, it is a good idea to go over the buddy system and the 10 essential items needed for hiking.
After the rock, there is another overlook where you can see the great Cape Fear River. Take a break here for some photos.
There are other trails if you have moretime (and energy) that include a overlook for the Lanier Falls. This is on the Cambell Creek Loop Trail which is described as a Moderate Trail. All other Trails in the park are described as Easy.
In addition to Hiking Trails, you can fish in the Cape Fear River (with NC Fishing License) and there are additional primative group hike-in camping that is good for Boy Scout Troops. They even have a canoe-in campsites.
Visit the Raven Rock Website for more details on this beautiful park and great hiking destination.
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Time: 1 hr from Apex, NC
Apex has quite a few parks in the area. Many of which are good for Scout events. One in particular is the Apex Community Park. This Park has many features that make it a good fit for a scout unit event. It has two shelters that may be reserved for a fee which are located right next to each other. There are also small charcoal grills located next to both shelters. If your event involves cooking for more than just a few, plan to bring your own grill. There are also restroom facilities in the vicinity of the shelters. In addition, there is water to the site of the shelters as well as electricity.
The shelters are equipped with picnic tables and according to the Town of Apex can accommodate up to 100 or 50 people. The larger shelter rents for $70 for Apex residents, the smaller for $50 for residents. This reserves the shelters for a 4 hour block.
The shelter is also located right next to a 50+ acre lake that is stocked for fishing. If fishing is part of the event, an additional fishing license will need to be purchased from the Town of Apex for non-residents. Licenses are Free to residents of the town but the license will still need to be applied for. Anglers ages 16 and older will also need to have an NC Fishing License and will need to abide by regulations set by the NC wildlife commission. For more information on fishing licenses visit www.ncwildlife.org. There is a fishing dock that can be used for fishing in the lake.
In addition, there are over 3 miles of trails. One of which runs around the lake and leads to/from the picnic shelters. The trail around the lake is paved.
Another good feature is a playground which may be good for the younger siblings of a Cub Scout Pack.
Therefore, this park is great for Cub Scout packs looking to venture out for an outing that could involve a picnic, hiking, biking (on the trails) and fishing. The Hiking, Biking and Fishing Belt Loops could definitely be worked in at the Apex Community Park.
For more information on the Park, visit the Apex Community Park Website.