Big Rock Nature Preserve is a 22-acre parcel located in the heart of South Charlotte. The site's most significant features are the large granite formations found at its center. The "Big Rocks" have attracted Charlotteans for thousands of years, as evidenced by archeological remnants unearthed on the site.
Location and Directions
Big Rock Nature Preserve is located in southern Mecklenburg County a short distance from the intersection of Interstate 485 and Rea Road.
Take Exit 59 (Rea Road South) from Interstate 485. Go 1000 feet and take a right on Ballantyne Commons Parkway. Go 200 feet and take the first right on Elm Lane. Go 500 feet and take a left on Elmstone Drive into the Thornhill subdivision. Go 1000 feet and the preserve is the wooded area on your right.
Note: The preserve currently DOES NOT provide any parking or related amenities. There are no restrooms, parking, or other amenities. Limited roadside parking can be found along the marked boundary of the preserve.
DO NOT park in the HOA pool and club house parking lot across from the preserve. Access is strictly prohibited and towing is enforced.
History and Description
Big Rock Nature Preserve's original 14-acres was purchased in 1994. An additional 9-acres was added in 2006 bringing the total acreage to 23. The large granite extrusions or "big rocks" are common throughout the Piedmont Plateau of the Carolinas and this is the largest known example in Mecklenburg County. Archeological evidence at the site reveals Native American habitation dating back 7,000 years. In 2009 the site received designation as a Historic Landmark by the Charlotte Historic Landmarks Commission (Details), the only natural feature to receive such a designation.
Big Rock Nature Preserve does not currently provide any amenities. There are currently trails at this site that have been established by area residents. We would ask that you respect the privacy and private property of neighbors if you visit this site. Prior to any substantial improvements this site would undergo a Master Plan process and would require capital funding; neither item is currently under development. We will keep this site posted with any future details. Please call Michael Campbell, Park and Recreation Manager if you have questions 704-504-9346.
Flora & Fauna
Big Rock Nature Preserve preserves habitat for numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The preserve is unique not only for its geologic formation, but it also contains an unusually low number of invasive species for an urban forest. Other interesting species encountered include Solomon's seal, St. John's-wort and strawberry bush. The property is also bisected by Four Mile Creek and provides which provides habitat for snapping turtles, swamp dogwood, and may apple.