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A Day At Raven Rock

Originally Posted 18 Mar 2021

I took the girls up to Raven Rock State Park a few months ago. It was our first trip, and it didn’t disappoint! The lush forest, river views, and cliff are worth the short drive up to Lillington. Honestly, it’s the perfect day trip from Fayetteville for those who love the great outdoors.

two girls hiking at Raven Rock State Park

The History of Raven Rock State Park

Established in 1969, the park encompasses more than 4600 acres and has over 15 miles of hiking trails. We focused our entire trip on Raven Rock Loop. The trail leads to the famous rock that rises 150 feet above the Cape Fear River and stretches over a mile along its banks. 

Tromping out to the bluff, you don’t usually think of ancient history – but this rock is millions of years old. The underlying rocks of the state park formed over 400 million years ago. Over time, water and wind erosion sculpted the Raven Rock we know today.

Sioux and Tuscarora Indians hunted in the area until European settlers arrived. The first settlers who came in the mid-1700s were primarily hunters and trappers. The famous rock was called Patterson’s Rock until 1854. Locals named it after Gilbert Patterson, who took refuge under the rock when his canoe capsized nearby.

In 1854, its name was changed to Raven Rock because of the ravens that once roosted on its ledges. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any ravens on our visit. We did picnic, laugh, and play down by the river, though!

Visiting The Park

Raven Rock State Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, biking, fishing, and horseback riding. The 13-mile long Cape Fear Canoe Trail runs through the state park, making it a popular spot for canoeing. There are no access points within the park, but staff can direct you to the nearest access.

Located at 3009 Raven Rock Road in Lillington, the park is open daily with varying hours depending on the season. Admission is free.

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