Escape from Anxiety at Falls Lake

Looking out over Falls Lake on a sunny summer afternoon. Every scenic point on the southern side of the lake can be accessed by the 34-mile Falls Lake Trail.

Two days—Saturday and Sunday.

Looking out over Falls Lake on a sunny summer afternoon. Every scenic point on the southern side of the lake can be accessed by the 34-mile Falls Lake Trail.

That’s the weekend. That’s what you spend the other five days longing for. That’s when school fades to a distant second on your priorities list and the fun things in life have a chance to take center stage.

But then along comes high school, with its academics, athletics and hours of homework mixed in between. Suddenly, the weekend doesn’t feel much like the week’s end anymore.

If that’s how you feel, then it’s time to drop the notebooks and textbooks and hop in your car. Drive to Falls Lake, spend an hour or two—or more—and put carefree, cheerful pleasure back in your weekend.

The activities are absolutely endless.

30,000 acres of untouched woodlands offer an opportunity for fantastic hiking, biking, or camping; 12,000 acres of Falls Lake itself can be traversed fully by motor boat or kayak.

Beaverdam Recreation Center, off of Creedmoor Rd. just 18 minutes from Leesville (per Google Maps), offers 15 miles of extreme woodland mountain biking trails—TriangleMTB.com reviewers call it “a fast, uncrowded ride but still…a good workout” and the “best trail[s] in the Triangle.”

Shinleaf Recreation Area, near Six Forks Rd. only 19 minutes from Leesville, has 58 secluded campsites—57 of which are accessible only by hiking trail—in addition to a swimming beach (if you can brave the chilly water).

However, Falls Lake may be best enjoyed as an exploration rather than a destination.

Strap on a backpack, pack a lunch, bring along your camera and choose any access point you like — a bountiful 17 of them exist, from Rolling View (off of Hwy. 98, 31 min. from Leesville) to Blue Jay Point (along Six Forks Rd., 18 min. from Leesville) to Falls Lake Dam (near Falls of Neuse Rd., 21 min. from Leesville).

Follow the 34-mile Falls Lake trail, a rough, rooty two-foot-wide section of dirt that stretches the entire southern coast of the lake, for as little or as long as you like.

Watch as hardwoods turn to pines and back again (the trail section along Possum Track Rd.), as old farmhouse foundations fade into the treeline (a particularly interesting one can be found a mile or two north of Raven Ridge Rd.) and rocky creeks form into fingers of the lake.

But when distant views of blue, glimmering water and the occasional dog-walking jogger grow redundant, feel free to venture off the “beaten path”, so to say.

Rock-laden beaches curve along coves of the lake’s shore, offering far better views and photographic scenes. A pair of miniature ‘peninsulas’ to the right of Six Forks Rd. also draw curious walkers off the trail.

A forest’s worth of hidden adventures lie undiscovered, as well, whether that be by foot, bike, boat or car.

When academics and activities clog up your weekend to the breaking point, take a day or two off and explore Falls Lake for yourself—no answer key required.

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