By Kimberly Button
Not every great trail winds through the woods. Some of the most fascinating walks can be found in urban settings and enjoyed by all. These easy walking trails can be found throughout the Pinehurst and Southern Pines area across Moore County. Whether you are searching for art, appreciating architecture, or enjoying landscaped gardens, these walking tours are the perfect way to enjoy time outdoors while also seeing some of the most popular destinations in the North Carolina Sandhills area.
Carthage Digital Video Mural Trail
North Carolina’s first digital mural trail is in downtown Carthage. Five murals have large bronze-plated plaques with QR codes. While you can enjoy the artwork without a smart phone, the murals take on a whole new meaning when you hear details about the history behind each mural. At each mural, you can scan the code to watch a short video on the Home of American Golf YouTube channel explaining the meaning of the images. We learned so much about the history of Carthage while on the trail, including Carthage’s connection with France and its surprising history as the largest carriage manufacturing factory in the South. A bonus is that there are small hidden images to find in many of the murals! We enjoyed this scavenger hunt just as much as learning the history about Carthage. All five murals are within easy walking distance of each other. We suggest using the free parking lot located behind the courthouse at the Tyson & Jones Buggy mural, and then walking to the other four murals.
Historic Walking Tour of Pinehurst
One of the best ways to enjoy Pinehurst, if you are not golfing, is to walk through the quaint village. Get a free tour guidebook at the Tufts Archives and then start strolling. Along the way you will see the unique buildings that make Pinehurst a National Historic Landmark. Wander through the village and the surrounding neighborhoods to find a log cabin that was part of a grist mill, a house owned by Donald Ross and a hexagonal theater. Along this walking path you will see the most iconic destinations in the village. The guide gives a great historical background of each location, along with walking trail suggestions.
Aberdeen Lake Park Trail
Enjoy an easy stroll around Aberdeen Lake. This 1.5 mile gravel trail hugs the shoreline of the lake. The path is relatively flat and easy with not much incline. The scenery changes frequently on this trail, including unobstructed lake views, woodland settings, walking across the lake on a wooden bridge and a short walk by residential neighborhoods. We love that there is plenty of parking at this park, as well as restrooms, a gazebo, fishing and a playground.
Superhero Fire Hydrants Trail
A great way to explore downtown Aberdeen is to enjoy a scavenger hunt looking for the 11 superhero fire hydrants. The fire hydrants were decorated to represent a variety of heroes, from comic book characters to Rosie the Riveter and a tribute to POW-MIAs. While hunting for these fire hydrants, you will get to see the variety of shops and restaurants that make downtown Aberdeen such a cute town to visit.
The Village Arboretum
This 35-acre retreat is the perfect spot to walk along natural trails with a variety of garden settings. Longleaf pines tower overhead on the wooded walkways. Or explore the wildflower garden with bees happily buzzing in the colorful menagerie of pollinator-friendly plants. During your peaceful walk, discover some of the flowering trees that are blooming in season, including Dogwoods, peach trees, cherry trees, fig trees and witch hazel. It is a short walk from the Village of Pinehurst to the Arboretum. Or you can make the short drive and park in the parking lot. There is a slight incline on many of the trails but the paths are easy to walk and enjoy.
Sandhills Horticultural Gardens
There are 12 unique gardens at the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens, a 32-acre retreat on the grounds of Sandhills Community College. The accessible walkways meander through varied garden settings, including a rose garden, wetland trail, Japanese garden and the Sir Walter Raleigh Garden. Pause during your stroll to sit down on a park bench and listen to the creek rushing by. Public art, including statues and the stick sculptures of Patrick Dougherty, can be found throughout the landscapes.
Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities
While Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve is well known for its wooded hiking trails that are part of the North Carolina State Parks system, the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities also has beautiful grounds to enjoy. The Boyd House at Weymouth Center is the home of author James Boyd. The beautiful home is fun to explore, along with the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame that is located upstairs. Beyond the home, there are plenty of grounds and gardens to explore. The formal gardens with fountains are a peaceful walk or explore the 26-acre estate and natural preserve.
Sandhills Story Trails
It can be challenging trying to get the kids to enjoy a walk in the woods. Which is why the Sandhills Story Trail Adventures are a brilliant way to encourage kids to get on the trails and explore the outdoors. The first installment of the Sandhills Story Trail Adventures features Winnie the Pooh at Nick’s Creek Trail on the Southern Pines Greenway system. A fun archway welcomes children at the beginning of the trail before they continue along the path, finding 13 different scenes from the classic children’s book with accompanying QR codes at each station. Scan the code to hear part of the story read aloud and listen to the music. Or just take pictures with the storybook characters. Either way, it is a great way to engage kids in exploring the outdoors.
Tanglewood Farm Bed and Breakfast
Planning on spending the night in Moore County? Tanglewood Farm Bed and Breakfast is one of the most unique lodging options in the area! This bed and breakfast is located on a 10-acre working horse farm. Step out of your cabin and walk among the horse paddocks for a unique morning stroll. Don’t be surprised if some chickens join you for your walk! Across the street is the Walthour-Moss Foundation, more than 4,000 acres of virtually unspoiled woodland. While predominantly used as horseback riding trails, the vast acreage is available for pedestrian walking as well. Be on the lookout for rare birds and other wildlife that call these protected Sandhills home.
Kimberly Button has been writing about her home state of North Carolina for 25 years in national and international magazines, as well as her travel website, Wanderful World of Travel. When not exploring urban cities and towns, she can be found with her husband in National Parks and state parks sharing the best outdoor destinations for their website CouchPotatoCamping.com. Follow along on their adventures on YouTube or Instagram.