Fuquay-Varina plans for their Parks and Recreation System are ones that date back three decades. Initial planning would see the town look ahead to the development of many outdoor living options. These include what would become the town’s vast park system and several Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails.
In this second article, we will look at the Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails. In our follow up articles in this series both the town parks and Wake County trails connected to the town are the topics.
Fuquay Varina Walking Trails: Breathtaking Scenery and Wildlife.
We discussed the South Lakes Greenway Trail in our initial article of this series. This beautiful, serene path is accessible right from your new home in Fuquay-Varina at South Lakes.
For the complete history and specifics on the South Lakes trail follow this link to the original piece at southlakesliving.com.
Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park: A “Gift” to the Town
This was originally a 20-acre tract of land donated to the Town of Fuquay-Varina in 1992. Former Mayor Alfred Johnson and his wife Carroll Howard Johnson made this generous donation to the town.
Likewise, six years later, another 8-acre piece of land was acquired through a donation. This selfless act of giving was from Horace Tart and brought the park to its current 28 acres.
Given the generosity in this acquisition, the decision was to put the focus on the park being used to “give back.” To accomplish this, the goal was set to focus on environmental education.
Exploring, Learning, and “Getting Back to Nature”
Currently the Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park boasts one of the more spectacular Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails. Covering two miles, this incredible passage features overlooks, natural bridges, and plenty of eye-catching plant and wildlife.
Reverting to the original plan to educate, there is also an outdoor classroom setting, unique to only this one among the Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails. Consequently, for teachers looking to bring a class to the trail, there are also free teaching kits available. This park actually connects to the town’s South Park, via both park’s trail running into the Jeff Wells Hiking Trail.
The official Fuquay-Varina website boasts of the beauty and serenity of this park and trail. “Explore the 2-mile nature trail and uncover the natural treasures in Fuquay-Varina,” the site began. “Crossing beautiful overlooks and natural bridges, visitors will find a path of wooded splendor, local flora and fauna, and many species of birds that highlight the everyday wonders of Fuquay-Varina’s nature.”
Features at Fuquay’s Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park
- 2-miles of interpretive walking trails
- Natural Bridges
- Outdoor Classroom
- Picnic Pavillion and Tables
- Restroom Facilities
Walking and Birding on the South Park Greenway
South Park is a 25-acre park located in the direct center of town at 900 South Main Street. Many know this to be a “cool off” point for the kids in the Summer with its 6,000 square foot splash pad. However, it attaches to the South Park Greenway, a 1.3 mile back trail filled with gorgeous scenery.
Above all, this is known among local residents for walkers and bird enthusiasts. This trail is good for all skill levels and features bountiful plant and wildlife also.
The South Park trail is accessible year-round and dog-friendly as well, provided your pet is on a leash. It is also the trailhead to yet another of the Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails.
South Park: Playing, Splashing, and Tracking
The actual park located at the Main Street address above is similarly popular among the locals in Fuquay. It has multiple uses in addition to the aforementioned splash park. These features at South Park are listed below.
- 6,000 square foot “Splash Pad” water playground
- 1/4 Mile Walking/Jogging Track
- Illuminated Baseball and Softball fields
- Batting Cages
- Two multi-purpose fields
- Picnic Shelter and tables
- Playground area
- Restroom Facilities
Jeff Wells Hiking Trail: “A Fantastic Trail that Connects the Heart of Fuquay-Varina to Nature”
As foreshadowed above, the Jeff Wells Hiking Trail works as a connector to other Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails. As a result of the trails intersecting, it also is a connector to both the Environmental Education Park and South Park along its 0.8-mile path.
The Jeff Wells Hiking Trail was actually submitted to the popular hiking and trails website hikingproject.com. In addition to the elevation and grading of the land it sits on, the site gives a flattering description.
“This trail has a great view of nature and downtown Fuquay-Varina,” the description states. “The trail connects to the 48-acres of Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Park, where hikers have fantastic views on nature and a creek. The Jeff Wells Trail connects from Carroll Howard Park through a greenway near neighborhoods to South Park.” It concludes, “It is worth a hike.”
Likewise, the person who submitted the trail to “Hiking Project,” offered their own one sentence review, summing up the general opinion of this trail. “A fantastic trail that connects the heart of Fuquay-Varina to nature.”
Fuquay-Varina Walking Trails: Lead Me to the Parks
Each of the four trails covered leading to other in-town outdoor living areas, specifically the Fuquay-Varina parks. In our next article of this series, we will also “lead you to and through” these parks. For a preview of those that will be covered, go to the Outdoor Living section of southlakesliving.com.
(Photo Credit: Town of Fuquay-Varina)