Monday, September 24, 2012

Jordan Dam & Tailrace Playground

I have lived in Chapel Hill now for close to 7 years.  Yet there are still great places I haven't yet discovered and I wonder how I could have missed them for so long.  Case in point: Jordan Dam.  Jordan Dam is what makes Jordan Lake, such an integral, definitive, and beautiful part of this area.  Yet this weekend was my first visit there.  We'll be going back!

The dam itself is fun to look at.  All things considered, it's a relatively small dam and it's earthen - made of rocks and dirt.  Although small the Jordan Dam makes a big impact, creating 13,900 acres of lake for recreational use.

When you visit the dam head first to the Visitor's Information Center at the top of the hill.  Here there is a nice overlook complete with free binoculars.  The vistas are great and we loved looking for boats off to the left and looking at the dam to the right.  There are a bunch of picnic tables up here, too, for you to enjoy.

After you get in your view walk to the right towards the dam, down the steps and hill, and there is a recreational oasis for you on the other side.  There is a fishing pier here (don't fish elsewhere at the dam and appropriate licensing required) as well as restrooms, picnic tables, and a wonderful playground.

There are two play structures here - one for the littler ones and one for the older ones.  They are both in nice condition, fun to play on, and worth exploring for sure.   No shade on either of these but with beautiful fall days coming up you may not need them.  Ground cover is mulch and there are a few swings (including a bucket).

Other things to discover while you are here: The Visitor's Information Center.  It has limited hours (8:30 am - 4 pm on Mon- Fri) so we weren't able to get in.  We did peek in the windows though and there appears to be some nice small exhibits.  We'll go back another time and get the full scoop for you.  Also, the Rangers will gladly put together educational visits for you and your group if you just contact them ahead of time.  On their website here they state that no group is too small or too big and you can get a list of suggested topics to help you decide.  Sounds like a fun playdate to me!

There are also a slew of hiking paths all around this area: the Poe's Ridge Trail System.  No trail maps online for this one but they are readily available at the trailheads and the Visitor's Information Center.  Kind of wish we had done one of these hiking paths instead of the one we did do (more on that later this week...) but just another great excuse to head back to the Dam.  I think this will be particularly stunning when the fall colors peak.  Join me there?

PS- I know the address below says Moncure but this is close to Pittsboro.  Think about heading to Chatham Marketplace, S&T's Soda Shoppe, Sweet Oven Bakery, or any of our lovely Pittsboro places in conjunction with your trip.


Jordan Dam & Tailrace Playground
http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/jordan/index.htm
2080 Jordan Dam Road
Moncure
919-542-4501

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