Along the trails and around the ponds of Rowan County, you’ll find outdoor sanctuaries perfect for explorers large and small. We’re fortunate to find parks, hiking trails, nature preserves, lakes, creeks, wildlife and so much more right in our backyard.

With so much to explore, we figured it would be best to break down the very best of Rowan County’s outdoor adventures. In our series about Rowan County’s natural beauty, you’ll find what makes us a destination for exploration.

There’s no better way to experience nature than spotting wildlife in their natural habitat. If you’re hoping to spot birds, wildlife and other critters, check out these Rowan County parks:


Eagle Point Nature Preserve: Eagle Point Nature Preserve lives up to its name with 200 acres of protected property that was donated to the citizens of Rowan County by the Three Rivers Land Trust. The property has a variety of forest types that are representative of central North Carolina. Three miles of trails including observation overlooks, a plant identification loop, a canoe access to High Rock Lake and an additional hiking trail allow visitors to experience wildlife at it’s very best. Visitors have been known to spot bald eagles, barred owls, egrets, great blue herons, kingfishers, raccoons, white-tailed deer, wild turkey and more. Eagle Point Nature preserve is open to the public. For more information about Eagle Point Nature Preserve, visit their website.


Dunn’s Mountain: Dunn’s Mountain includes 83 acres of land protected under a conservation easement. The park includes picnic areas, scenic views, trails, long-range binoculars and more. The short hiking trail and scenic overlook with long range binoculars provide visitors with the opportunity to look for birds and other wildlife. For more information about Dunn’s Mountain, visit their website.


Dan Nicholas ParkRowan Wildlife Adventures: If you’re looking to explore wildlife in a controlled environment, Rowan Wildlife Adventures can give you just that. Rowan Wildlife Adventures is a part of Dan Nicholas Park. Rowan Wildlife Adventures is home to black bears, bobcats, red foxes, red wolves, turtles, white-tailed deer, eagles and more. Dan Nicholas Park and Rowan Wildlife Adventures are open to the public. Admission to Dan Nicholas Park is free. Admission to Rowan Wildlife Adventures is $1 for adults, $.50 for kids ages 10 and under, and free for children 1 year or younger. For more information about Rowan Wildlife Adventures, visit their website.


Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve at Catawba College: The Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve is found on the Catawba College campus in Salisbury. The 189 acre preserve provides ample opportunity for Catawba College students to conduct field research. Thousands of birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, gray foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, deer and more - plus thousands of species of vegetation. The trail provides an easy walk that welcomes visitors to explore. For more information about the Ecological Preserve trail, visit their website.


We love for visitors to experience the wildlife in Rowan County. Please remember to only observe wildlife and not disturb them or their habitat.

Let us know what type of wildlife you spot when you #VisitRowanCounty.