Gold Hill Rail Trail - Gold Hill, NC


If you are looking for an interesting, educational and just plain fun day trip that you and the whole family will enjoy, take a look into visiting Gold Hill North Carolina and exploring the historic Gold Hill rail trail! The trail is an easy one mile path that winds through untouched forest and remarkable artifacts left over from the days when Gold Hill was the premier mining town in the entire nation. The trail is mixed terrain; part is a well laid gravel path and other areas are worn dirt paths. It is well suited for walking and running (dogs are welcome on the path too) but a wheelchair or stroller may have difficulties navigating the unpaved trail. The trail can take as short or as long as you want it to, as it is an easy walk with many remarkable reminders of the mining ventures that once went on. While you’re in town, be sure to stop by the E.H. Montgomery General Store for a booklet about the rail trail with lots of historical information about the town and some good ol’ southern hospitality. From there you can grab a bite to eat, tour the town and even do a bit of shopping. Gold Hill truly is one of NC’s gems, preserved in all its glory for you to come visit!

Watch May 10, 2012 on PBS. See more from NC Weekend.


Directions and Parking

The most reliable directions can be found on the Historic Gold Hill website, but if you need to plug an address into your GPS, you can use the Gold Hill Mines Historic Park, found at 735 St. Stephens Church Road, Gold Hill NC 28071. (Be warned, there are two Gold Hills in NC, so if you are using a web based mapping engine, be sure to put in the area code 28071 while you are searching.) There is parking at the Historic Park and also at the General Store, which is just a few hundred feet from the park.

Trail Information

The trail is oriented so that it is most convenient to use the city parking in the middle of the trail instead of trying to find parking at one end or another. You may find our new Map of the Gold Hill Trail useful here.  When parking at the historic park and facing St. Stephen’s Church Rd., the trail extends to both your left and your right. To the right, you will find path with the majority of the historic artifacts on it. After following the gravel road back out of the park entrance, you cross St. Stephen’s Church and continue into the woods. Here you will see abandoned mine shafts and if you keep straight, you continue to the miner’s field, Gold Hill pond, the powder house, stamp mill site, steam engine and boiler, more mine shafts and a mining office site. The remains on the trail are very interesting and an insight to a boomtown culture that may have been lost without the care from the people of Gold Hill. Most of the remains have a sign posting that explains what its use was and its history. (** Please do be mindful that while the abandoned shafts are fenced in, they are still dangerous and you should obey all posted signs and keep a close eye on children**)

At the end of the trail, you will come out past the park parking lot near the General Store. If you were to follow the path to your left from the parking lot (facing St. Stephens Church Road) the trail extends past Miller shaft, a Chilean ore mine, Johnson shaft, the local outdoor stage, and Barnhardt mine shafts. After the Barnhardt shaft, the trail continues on, crossing Old Beatty Ford Road until it meets up again with St. Stephens Church Rd. Once you reunite with the road, it is easiest to turn around and retrace your steps back to the park. This section of the trail is quiet and peaceful, you even have the opportunity to see some wildlife in the woods as you stroll along the old site of the rail tracks. Please visit the E.H. Montgomery General Store for a copy of “Your Guide to Gold Hill Mines Historic Park and the Gold Hill Rail Trail”, which provides detailed information about the mining remains as well as a timeline of the city of Gold Hill. The booklets are $2.00.

Trail Photos

Other Attractions

Before or after your trip on the rail, be sure to check out the charming village of Gold Hill. You can walk most of it along the wooden boardwalk that winds past the General Store, which can fulfill all your old timey needs like old fashion candies, jams and jellies and glass bottle of Sarsaprilla soda and Birchbeer. You can even get old time photos done in the back room saloon by Stacei Jade Photography! If you come when Stacie isn’t in, you can call her and she will meet you at the general store that same afternoon; she is very accommodating and the pictures are hilarious memories! The General Store also has live bluegrass every Friday night. Down the boardwalk is the The Stamp Mill Café, a great place to swing by for lunch or dinner. The food is homemade and just delicious, with sweet tea just like you would find at any great southerner’s home. (If you’re not stuffed already be sure to get a desert too! They are to die for. )

If you’re in the mood to shop, pop behind the café to Back Home home decor and consignment shop, or the Indigo Tea Market and Trading Co. A full list of the stores in the village can be found on the main site for the historic town. If you find yourself in town near a holiday, check the town calendar to see if they have any celebrations planned. Gold Hill does a great haunted city tour before Halloween and a festive Christmas celebration involving a huge wood fire in town.

If you are looking to stay in the area, you may consider the Helms Lodge, located in the heart of Gold Hill or Bed and Bike Inn, located about 5 miles from the town of Gold Hill. Other accommodations can be found in the town of Salisbury, NC about 13 miles from Gold Hilll. While you are in the area, be sure to visit Uwharrie National Forest and its many hiking trails. More info on the forest can be found at the Uwharrie National Forest site. NC also is making quite a name for itself in the winery business and with 5 wineries within thirty miles of Gold Hill, you should make a point to take a tour and experience a tasting! Morgan Ridge Winery is also located in Gold Hill. Please see the Visit NC Wine site for more details.

Gold Hill Post Office
Photo credit to NC Vistor Center