► Location & Directions
► History & Description
► Education & Programs
► Flora & Fauna
RibbonWalk Nature Preserve is a 188-acre urban forest, located in north central Mecklenburg County only four miles from center city Charlotte. The preserve protects a diversity of forest and wetland habitats, including one of the oldest American beech tree groves in the region.
Location and Directions
RibbonWalk Nature Preserve is located in north central Mecklenburg County a mile north of the intersection of I-85 and I-77. Get Directions
From Central or South Charlotte
Take I-77 North to I-85 North and exit onto Statesville Avenue/Road. At the top of the ramp, turn left onto Statesville Road and go .6 of a mile and turn right onto Nevin Road. Follow Nevin Road for 1.2 miles and turn left when you see the RibbonWalk sign at the main entrance. This is also Hoyt-Hinson Road.
From Huntersville or Davidson
Take I-77 south and exit at Sunset Road. At the top of the ramp, turn left and then turn right onto Hwy. 21 / Statesville Road heading south. Turn left on Nevin Road and travel 1.2 miles. Turn left when you see the RibbonWalk sign at the main entrance which is also Hoyt-Hinson Road.
From North Charlotte
Take W.T. Harris Blvd. to Mallard Creek Road and turn going south toward center city. When Mallard Creek Road ends, take a right on Sugar Creek Road and then a quick left onto Nevin Road. Go 1.2 miles and turn right into the forest when you see the RibbonWalk sign at the main entrance.
History and Description
Like the city in which it's located, the preserve's name is derived from Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. The Queen's mother-in-law owned a woodland garden known as "RibbonWalk" because of how the paths "ribboned" their way through the forest. Purchased as 155 acres in 1987 by Mecklenburg County, the forest was operated under a management agreement with Charlotte Botanical Society, later called RibbonWalk Conservancy, Inc., until July 2005. Additional acres have been purchased over the years and the forest is now incorporated into Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department's nature preserve system.
The preserve is primarily woodlands of secondary growth pine and hardwoods and most natural communities are in mid- to late-successional stages of recovery. One of the most unique natural features is the large grove (over 75 trees) of American beech trees designated in 1996 by the Mecklenburg County Treasure Tree Program as a "Treasure Tree Grove." Some beeches measure over 35 inches in diameter. This northwestern corner of the preserve with its northwest-facing slope is part of an uncommon Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest natural community with dominant canopy species of beech, northern red oak, red maple, and tulip poplar. The preserve is traversed by Irwin Creek on its southwestern boundary and a couple tributaries, has two ponds and a wetland bog, and several old field habitats. Many areas within the preserve were previously farm fields and loblolly pine plantations.
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RibbonWalk Nature Preserve does not offer permanent restroom facilities, but a Porta-Jon with handwashing station is located at the parking area. There are a few picnic tables in the large field near the entrance, but no picnic shelters. This large open field is a great place for special events and weddings and may be reserved by calling 704-432-6460.
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Nearly 3 miles of hiking trails offer hikers and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains while enjoying scenic views of the ponds, forests, fields, and streams.
Mountain bikes are not permitted within the preserve. Dogs are welcome on preserve trails, but must remain on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times. All trails are marked with color symbols. Download a temporary trail map. A full-color, pocket-sized trail map is planned for the future.
Flora & Fauna
Few wildlife inventory studies have been conducted at this preserve, but so far 53 species of birds and 24 species of butterflies have bene documented. RibbonWalk Nature Preserve is a remarkably diverse botanical area considering its urban location. The preserve is home to 106 herbaceous plant species and 78 species of woody plants. At least three dozen American Beech trees are estimated to be 150-200 years old. This beech grove is very likely the largest and oldest remaining colony in the area.