Who likes exploring new places?? WE DOO!!! I’m constantly on the lookout for new trails, new views, and new scents for the pups to sniff out. So, with my trusty park-finding methods, I scoped out Forty Acre Rock Preserve in Kershaw, SC.
I’m pretty sure Ringo was just as excited as I was to check out Forty Acre Rock as I was yesterday. And what a cool place it was! It checked off all the boxes for us… dog-friendly, not crowded, variety of scenery along the trail, and cool views!
Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve
Just an hour and a half south of Charlotte is a very unique park, named for the main attraction, a 14-acre granite rock. Why it’s called Forty Acre Rock and not Fourteen, I honestly have no idea. But, while the granite rock itself is only 14 acres, it’s panoramic views of the surrounding area does make is appear a whole lot larger. The park itself includes 2,965 acres of the most diverse protected area in the Piedmont region, according to the South Carolina DNR.
Ringo LOVES to explore with me, so we hopped in the car and headed south. If you’re new to hiking with your dog, be sure to check out our post on Everything You Need To Hike with your Dog. The hike to the rock is an easy one at only 2.4 miles out and back. The wide, sandy trail starts at the parking lot and takes you through a beautiful hardwood forest. At the end, it opens up to reveal the beautiful open “summit” and view of the surrounding area.
“The Rock” And It’s Microhabitats
The coolest aspect of this park is not the rock itself, but the vernal pools that form in its crevices and depressions. These pools fill with water in the wet spring and winter months and turn into unique microhabitats. The ponds are a perfect place for colorful mosses and lichens to grow. They are also some of the only places in the world where the endangered pool sprite still thrives.
While there wasn’t any water in the pools during our summer hike, the rock was still a sight to see. Ringo and I had fun running and playing on the rock, enjoying the panoramic views, exploring the hardwood forests, and lounging in the shade on a bed of pine needles. I can’t wait to go back in the Spring to see all the colorful pools!
Here are some pictures from our mini adventure.
More Than “Just” A Rock
In addition to “the Rock” there are also many other natural wonders to explore at Forty Acre Rock, including forests, a creek, beaver pond, a small waterfall, and even a cave. This small protected area is also a safe haven for almost a dozen species of rare, protected and endangered plants and wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of the park’s larger inhabitants like deer, gray fox, and even bobcats. Okay, depending on the hiker you may or may not consider this lucky. The flat open granite area of Forty Acre Rock is also a great place for bird watching.
Check out my cute little bird watcher pointing in the pic below! 🙂
It was getting a bit warm as we finished exploring the rock, so we didn’t get to check out all of the park. I’m excited to go back and see the rest, hopefully on a cooler day, maybe even in the winter or spring to see all of the colorful plants that flourish in the vernal pools. Who knew there was so much biodiversity in this small natural area in South Carolina?
If you’re in the area and looking for a new place to explore, definitely add Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve to your list. It’s a truly unique place that you’re sure to enjoy. You can spend an hour or two hiking or you can spend the day, bring a picnic, and lounge on the rock admiring the view.
To learn more about this awesome park, check out the park website.
Thanks for reading!