Railways used to shape and shift the way we connected, traveled, and exchanged with other states. Once a thriving industry with several North Carolina towns and cities reaping the rewards, the rise of automobiles soon led to the demise of railway travel. While trains still run across the country and in North Carolina, a lot of common railway trails were left in abandon. Luckily, North Carolina has many rail trails that allow you access to a bit of the history.
What a cool slice of history found in North Carolina. Did you know several other rail trails that you can enjoy? Thermal Belt Rail-Trail is one of the few that has left some original tracks intact without paving over everything. It’s also a great winter hiking option as it is easily accessible and the elevation is not high enough for weather issues to arise. Have you ever hiked a rail-trail before?
Directions listed on the NC Rail-Trail Site –
The parking lot for the trail is located right off of the intersection of W. Main St. and Kentucky St. From Asheville: (1 hour) Take I-40 E toward Statesville. Take exit 85 for US-221 S/ US-221. Turn right onto US-221S. Turn left on Charlotte Rd. Continue onto W. Main St. The gravel parking lot will be on your left. From Charlotte: (1.5 hours) Take US-74 W. Turn left onto the Interstate 485 Inner N ramp. Take exit 10B to merge onto I-85 S toward Gastonia/ Spartanburg. Take exit 10 B to merge onto US-74W/ Andrew Jackson Hwy towards Kings Mountain/Shelby. Continue to follow US-74 W. Take exit 181 toward US-64/Forest City/Spindale. Merge onto US-74 Alt W. Turn right onto W. Main St. Parking lot will be on your left.
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