Cane Creek Greenway
When we moved to Mills River and found out, happily, that we lived just a short walk from Carolina Memorial Gardens and its public trails, we correctly guessed that’s where we’d do most of our walking with the dogs. But sometimes you just want a change of scenery and of course, there is plenty of scenery to choose from in Henderson County. One of the nice nearby alternatives for stroll is along the Cane Creek Greenway in Fletcher.
“Part of the purpose of the Cane Creek Greenway when it was developed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and its partners was to restore a bit of the river cane’s natural habitat."
The Cane Creek Greenway starts at Fletcher Community Park, a big multi-use park with lots of fields and playground equipment and such, bounded on one side by Cane Creek. There’s quite a bit of parking available and there’s a path along the creek the length of the park, but the Greenway extends past the bridge over the creek at the northeast corner of the park.
Cane Creek gets its name from the once-abundant river cane that lined its banks in centuries past. River cane is a native bamboo, and it has played important roles both ecologically and culturally in the area. River cane filters rainwater and cools it as it flows into the creek, protects from erosion and provides habitat for lots of little critters. It has also been used for centuries by native peoples including the Cherokee for everything from hunting tools to musical instruments.
The Cherokee still use it for basket weaving, but since the natural range of river cane has
been reduced to about 2 percent of what it once was, there’s not really very much of it to spare these days. Part of the purpose of the Cane Creek Greenway when it was developed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and its partners was to restore a bit of the river cane’s natural habitat.
The walking path is mostly out-and-back, with a loop through a wooded area at the far end of the greenway. There are places where the the trail runs right along the water and some where it veers a bit away from it, but with nice views of the creek, woods or nearby farmland wherever you are. Several folks were fishing in the creek on the day I was there (you need a permit), and it’s obviously a popular destination for joggers and dog-walkers as well as casual strollers. You can get a bit more than three miles out of a walk on the greenway depending on how far you go, more if you include the park in your walk too.
How to Find It
The Cane Creek Greenway starts at Fletcher Community Park at 85 Howard Gap Road in the town of Fletcher, about 20 minutes from downtown Hendersonville, near the Asheville airport.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/pbBaG3W2y2S2