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Rhododendron Lake Nature Park
CMLC partnered with the Town of Laurel Park to place a conservation easement on 2.8 acres to buffer a tributary of Wash Creek that once fed historic Rhododendron Lake. Since the early 20th century, Rhododendron Lake drew large crowds of visitors as a local swimming hole and social gathering spot until its dam failed in the 1980s. The lake and creek had since fallen into disrepair. Badly eroded, filled with silt, and undercutting an adjacent road, CMLC worked with the Town, the Army Corps of Engineers, French Broad Mitigation Partners, and the NC Department of Natural Resources to restore the stream as part of a stream mitigation project in 2013. The streambed was graded and rerouted to restore natural flows and riparian habitats and safeguard water quality downstream. New trees were planted and invasive plant species were removed. Now conserved, the Town has constructed a walking path around Rhododendron Lake Park to restore it to its glory days, and continues to strive to enhance the Park in coming years.
CHALLENGE: Walk the Loop Trail Around Rhododendron Lake Nature Park
Primary Route: Loop Trail
Hiking Distance: 0.5 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 0 feet
Trailhead: Click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.3116,W-82.4859 in their units. Park in the grassy field south of the 90-degree turn of Primrose Lane. The Park’s walking path begins just beyond and heads away from the road and toward the lake.
Hiking Directions: For the parking area/field, head towards the lake and away from the road to find the Par’s walking path. Walk the short natural surfaced figure-eight loop that circumnavigates pond-sized picturesque Rhododendron Lake. Total walking distance is slightly less than 0.5 miles. Take note of the stream that drains the lake—it has been restored with the reconstruction of its natural meanders as well as stabilizing its banks with rock and native plantings. Above the stream, you may notice milkweed, a plant used by monarch butterflies to reproduce. CMLC has partnered with the Town of Laurel Park to establish a pollinator patch by planting milkweed and designating it as a monarch waystation.