Greenway Nature & History
The Greenway is rich in both natural and cultural resources. Natural resources include over 190 species of wildflowers, and a great diversity of birds and other interesting wildlife. The Greenway contains the 28-acre Lake Haigler, as well as four other fishing ponds, mixed hardwood forests, prairies, Steele Creek, and vistas that are truly breathtaking.
Cultural resources include the historic Nation Ford Road, part of the Great Philadelphia wagon road and a pathway for Native Americans, European settlers, American Revolution and Civil War soldiers, traders and trappers for hundreds of years. In addition to this nationally significant site, the Greenway contains two circa-1800 log cabins, a Dairy Barn built in 1946, the site of the Garrison-Webb mill for which Fort Mill is named, and other historic sites.
Carolina Thread Trail
The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional trail network that will eventually reach 15 counties and over 2 million people. Simply put, it will link people and places, cities, towns and attractions. More than a hiking trail, more than a bike path, the Carolina Thread Trail will preserve our natural areas and will be a place for exploration of nature, culture, science and history. It will be for young and old, athlete and average. This is a landmark project.
While not every local trail will be part of the Carolina Thread Trail system, it will link the regionally significant trails and many regional attractions. Think of it as a "green interstate system" of major trails and conservation lands created by connecting smaller trail systems throughout the region. The Thread will emerge over time as communities work together to plan and build trails reflecting community character, aspirations and priorities.
Nation Ford Road
Most of the trails between the Dairy Barn and the Nature Center run on top of or beside a national historically significant trail called the Nation Ford Road. The road was a part of the Great Philadelphia wagon road that went from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Augusta, Georgia and was the first major road on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America. For hundreds of years, the path was an important conduit for trade, war and settlement. If you look closely, you will notice the old roadbed now grown over with trees. In some places, you can see wagon ruts - a reminder of hundreds of wagons’ wheels that bumped along the road so many years ago.
Walk the same trail used by Native Americans, traders, settlers and Revolutionary soldiers, including England’s Lord Cornwallis’ troops on their march to Charlotte in the fall of 1780. You will cross beautiful Steele Creek on a 125-foot suspension bridge and visit two authentic log cabins dating back to the year 1800. This trail measures about 1 mile in length.
The scenic 1 1/4 mile walk runs from high ground with mixed hardwoods down to Steele Creek, where river cane and wild azalea flourish. Springfield Trail is easy walking but will give one plenty of views of sweeping hills and valleys through the hardwood section. Wildflowers and animal life are abundant.
Lake Haigler Trail
Stop by the informational kiosk at the nature center entrance and grab a trail map, which includes a self-guided tour of this 1-mile walk. Beautiful 28-acre Lake Haigler is characterized by hardwoods on one side and pines on the other.
Twelve points of interest are listed on the self-guided tour and are marked along the trail. Fishing in the lake is for resident members only and a SC Fishing License is required.
School Trail Loop
In the wooded area adjacent to Fort Mill Middle School, you will find a trail that winds along creek banks and through some beautiful mixed hardwood stands. This trail is a showcase for wildflowers and animal life as well as a great "outdoor lab" for the nearby school. Since this trail has access points at the recreation complex, Avery Lake, and the school, you can hike as much or as little as you want with little planning needed.
Nation Ford Loop
An eight-foot-wide concrete trail makes it easy for folks who are physically challenged, have babies in strollers, or just prefer an even surface. The nearly 3/4-mile trail loop takes one from the parking area beyond the Dairy Barn to an overlook of Steele Creek. In between, you will enjoy the Coltharp log cabin, dating back to the year 1800; a picturesque horse pasture; a log home built in 1780 that was constructed by Billy Graham’s grandfather; and a cotton patch.
Sugar Loop Trail
This bike/hike trail from the Fort Mill Recreation Complex is 3.5 miles in length. The loop starts at the bike/hike trail from the Complex tunnel to Sugar Island, continues south from Sugar Island along the Sugar Creek floodplain and then westward back to the Complex tunnel.
Webb’s Gristmill was among the first in the area. Built c. 1780, it served European settlers and their descendants for over 100 years and is commemorated in the name of “Fort Mill,” originally known as Little York. To be successful, a mill needed water for power and accessibility for customers. As a result, the mill site is on Steele Creek near Steele Road, once a spur on the Nation Ford Road. A historical mill representation interprets the historical and engineering significance of the site.
The Greenway has recreation and education programs that give participants a deeper appreciation for the uniqueness of the area.
The Greenway’s "Ecology Institute" and "History in a Backpack" programs are workshops that instruct teachers to utilize the Greenway’s resources for school visits.
Earth Day is the largest event of the year and usually occurs on the 3rd Saturday in April from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hundreds of volunteers are organized to provide a day of family fun with activities such as wildlife exhibits, wagon rides, cane pole fishing, alternative energy vehicle exhibits, milking cows, juried student art competition, and so much more!