Bethabara Park is one of the local trails I use to stay in shape for mountain hikes. Located at 2147 Bethabara Road, Winston-Salem, NC, it is the site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina. It’s a National Historic Landmark with centuries-old buildings to explore. If you are there on a day the park isn’t hosting an event, you might have solitude. The park has 183 acres of wildlife preserve, historic gardens and over ten miles of trails by rivers, through wetlands, and in the woods. Park near the visitor’s center and pick up trail maps even if the center is closed.

As you would expect on a city trail, there are places where you can see homes in the distance and hear the traffic on the highway. Don’t let this dissuade you. The trails range from areas where two people can walk side-by-side, to areas barely wide enough for one. I much prefer these trails in the winter. In the summer, the bugs are numerous, and the humidity is as high as the temperature.

Recently, I hiked the Mill Creek Loop after heavy July rains. They aren’t called wetlands for nothing. Through mud and standing water, on trails that looked more like creeks, I sloshed. The lab who hikes with me sometimes was happy with the experience. I and my boots were mud covered. Typically, I search for birds here, but my eyes were focused on the ground as I played slip and slide in the mud.

I would call these walking trails as opposed to hiking trails. They are in town, relatively flat, and connect to greenways in residential areas. However, the path to God’s Acre should appease anyone wishing to top a hill. If you are looking for a city trail in Winston-Salem, give Bethabara Park a try.

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