Currituck’s Maple Park

October 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm 1 comment

For the most part, I find my adventure destinations through the Internet. Perhaps I read an article about a trail or spied an interesting destination on geocaching.com or noted a neat looking field at Google maps. But one of my favorite area spots, Currituck County’s Maple Park, was uncovered in a much more old fashioned manner. Word of Mouth.

Maple Park is only 15 miles away from my home in Elizabeth City, North Carolina but I learned about it from two fellow hikers on the Appalachian Trail…240 miles away! 🙂

The park is located right by Currituck County Airport and features a skate park, a baseball field, walking trail around a pond and my favorite part– a network of hiking and horse trails through a forested canopy and open fields. I made my third visit with Ryan and the dogs earlier this month.

Trail Overview
If you want to keep it simple, you can stay on the 0.4 mile paved path and walk along the park facilities and pond.

Maple Park - Walkways
Paved Path at Maple Park

Maple Park - Reflections
Pond at Maple Park

Maple Park - Cool Tree
Cool Tree Along Pond

Feeling more adventurous? The trails can also take you into the forest, past ponds and canals, through fields, past the Sheriff’s Shooting Range and very close to the airport.

Maple Park - Jimmie and Henry Explore
Jimmie and Henry Sniff the Wetlands

Maple Park - Water Off Trail
View from Hiking Trail

Maple Park - Sheriff's Shooting Range
Sheriff’s Shooting Range Off Trail

Maple Park - Ryan -Outside- Airport
Ryan with Currituck Airport at End of Hike

Flora
The trees are typical to the area– Bald Cypress, American Beech and Water Oak. We also saw flowering bushes, beautiful mushrooms and a special oddity which warrants its own section below.

Maple Park - Water Oak
Water Oak Leaves

Maple Park - Nice Bush
Flowering Bush

Maple Park - Mushrooms on Moss
Mushrooms and Moss

Fauna
On this particular hike, we got to greet a special guest! A Red Belly Watersnake.

Maple Park - Red Belly Watersnake
Red Belly Watersnake

Oddities
The most exciting find on the hike was this little specimen in the forest near the trailhead.

Maple Park - Ghost Flowers
Ghost Flowers!

Just in time for Halloween, we spotted Ghost Plants, otherwise known as Indian Pipe. I first learned about them from thru-hiker Joe Frambach, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen one.

Ghost Flowers are a haunting white because they don’t have any chlorophyll. That means they can’t make their own energy through photosynthesis. So they steal it! They snag their nutrients from fungus which in turn steals it from trees. As Clint pointed out, the trees are taking their energy from the sun. So we are all little energy thieves one way or another.

Beautiful Maple Park is well worth a visit. Just like the two hikers I heard about it from, I’m passing it on via my blog and…good ole fashioned word of mouth.

Maple Park Trails


Length: 0.4 miles – 4.0 miles (Depends on what trails you take)

Elevation Gain: Negligible

Directions from Elizabeth City, NC

From Water Street, turn on US-158 E/Elizabeth Street towards Camden

In about five miles, bear right to stay on US-158 E

You can get to the trail from the upper parking lot.

After eight miles, you’ll pass the airport. Take the first left on Airport Road.

Maple Park and parking will be on your right.

Entry filed under: Elizabeth City, Hiking, Maple Park. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. gasstationdave  |  October 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    That park looks nice!

    Reply

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