Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cedar Bluff Overlook Park - View the Alps of Tazewell County!

Cedar Bluff Overlook Park in Virginia © Katrena
Cedar Bluff Overlook Park at One Overlook Drive in Tazewell County, Virginia is chock full of history for me. Many of my family members grew up in and around Cedar Bluff. I had the opportunity to take some of my crew to Virginia and visit this park in June 2016. I had seen the flag and balcony from the highway below, but this was my first visit to the park. There is no charge to visit or hike at this location.

Enjoying the View of the Clinch River from the Overlook Park © Katrena
My step-father, Harry Looney, helped to remove rock for the road in this area. Virginia roads often take quite a bit of skill and manpower to build because they are typically chiseled out of the side of a mountain. Harry said that the area on the far side of the four-lane is filled with many of the rocks that were blasted out of the mountain.

View of Highway from Cedar Bluff Overlook Park © Katrena
I can remember when many of the roads in that area were much smaller and when some of the four-lanes were only two-lane roads. Other generations can remember the time before some of the area's roads were paved and when many a school bus had to back up to take the curves in rural areas.

Lower View toward Claypool Hill from Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena

Upper View Toward Claypool Hill from Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena
Cedar Bluff Overlook Park is conveniently located on Highway 460 West. Simply turn at Claypool Hill toward Cedar Bluff and Richlands. Look for the Cedar Bluff town sign at a stoplight just past Claypool Hill. Continue going straight on the four-lane highway and take the first road to the left after that stop light - if you reach an exit on the right after that Cedar Bluff stoplight on the four-lane, you went too far.

Steps on Cedar Bluff Overlook Trail © Katrena
6 Benches Along the Overlook Trail © Katrena
Immediately after turning left, you'll see a sign to the right. Follow the road on the right up to the parking lot. The road is a bit steep and winding, but it is paved. When we were there, it looked like they may be expanding the parking lot. We had ample parking on the day we visited; however, some reunions are held there, and on those days the parking lot may be full.
Playground and Picnic Area of Cedar Bluff Overlook Park © Katrena
You will find picnic tables shaded by shelters, a playground, and bathroom facilities a short distance from the parking lot. The playground area has a slide, swings, a bench that is cut from rock, and several other areas for the kids. This lower area looks to be handicap accessible and has a nice view without any hiking.

Final Climb of Cedar Bluff Overlook Trail © Katrena
If you want more of a view, you'll have to do a bit of hiking, but you can see pretty far out from the parking lot area. One of my great aunts loved the scenery and likened it to seeing the Alps. The trail is steep and moderately strenuous with a combination of dirt paths, rocks, and wooden stairs. Those who don't want to hike to the top might want to hike to one of the lower overlooks. Some portions of the trail have a hand rail. I recommend shoes with closed toes and heels and with good tread. You might need to help small children navigate a few of the steeper steps. This would not be a trail to hike in icy weather.

Natural Flora at Cedar Bluff Overlook Park © Katrena
When we visited, quite a few thistles and weeds hugged the sides of the trail. I would recommend long pants for that reason. Small children who like to wander probably won't wander far if they straddle a thistle. I recommend teaching the kids about safety issues before and during the hike; this trail is directly on the side of the mountain.

Beautiful Virginia Wildflowers at Cedar Bluff Overlook Park © Katrena
Educational Opportunities on the Overlook Hike © Katrena
Natural flora add a splash of beauty to the area. Virginia wildflowers grow along the trail, and those who pause to look a bit closer will discover a variety of interesting plants. Informational signs are posted along several decks - I learned quite a bit about the area from those signs. Along the top of the ridge, you'll also find several signs that describe specific trees.

Animals at Cedar Bluff Overlook Trail Deck © Katrena
Wildlife flourishes along the trail as well, and six benches are located along the trail. Butterflies added a flutter of color as we climbed. It is fun to watch the animals that blend in with the environment - a great real-life lesson in camouflage. It is always a good idea to be on the lookout for copperheads and other snakes when on outdoor trails. We did not see any snakes on the day we visited, but we did see the cute little guy pictured above.

View of Cedar Bluff from Overlook © Katrena
Close-up View of Cedar Bluff from Overlook © Katrena
If you want to tackle the trail to the top, you will find several decks and six benches along the way. I would recommend bringing water bottles in a backpack, especially if you are hiking on a hot day. I would say that climbing this trail is about the equivalent of climbing to the top of a lighthouse, but the trail is not as predictable as lighthouse steps. It is actually a pretty short trail to get to the top of a mountain. My family has hiked much longer trails to enjoy this sort of view.

Enjoy a Bird's Eye View at Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena
Upward View from Upper Deck of Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena
The highest deck is the largest one and is 760 feet above the parking lot. Several picnic tables are located on the largest deck, so you might want to pack a picnic to enjoy, ensuring to pack the trash before leaving. I was pleased to see no trash on the trail. My mom mentioned that she has seen an American flag on the top deck before, but on the day we visited, we only saw an American flag in the lower area.

Shaded and Flat Trail Across Ridge at Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena
If you continue hiking to the left of the main deck, you'll find a fairly flat trail across the top of the ridge. We hiked across the ridge but didn't continue going down on the other side. The region had gotten some rain earlier that day and a couple of days before - it was muddy but we could hike that area safely with care. My group actually took a left and hiked across the ridge first and saved the top deck for the grand finale.

Learn about Native Trees at Cedar Bluff Overlook © Katrena
The Cedar Bluff Overlook Trail offers a fantastic view! We could see for miles from the summit at 2475 feet. Vehicles looked at bit like matchbox cars as they snaked below us. We could see the Clinch River winding in and out of sight as well as a crazy quilt pattern of railroad tracks. It was interesting to see the buildings in Cedar Bluff from above, and I was able to zoom in on a few with success.

Old College Hill School in Cedar Bluff, VA © Katrena
Those who have grown up in the area could probably point out each hollow and rural areas like Raven's Nest Branch, where I loved to visit my grandparents, great-grandparents, and many other relatives when I was growing up.

Great View of Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia © Katrena
If you are traveling in southwestern Virginia and are looking for a park with a great view, this park does not disappoint. The hike was definitely worth it for us! Find more information about this trail at the official Cedar Bluff Overlook Park and Trail web page.

Beautiful Hiking Trail in Southwest Virginia © Katrena
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Natural Beauty in Tazewell County VA © Katrena
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Carowinds and SCarowinds October 2016 Calendar

Those who are looking for some cooler weather and fun autumn family activities can find Carowinds and SCarowinds open on weekends in October, 2016. In some previous years, Carowinds was open some days in November, but in 2016, October is as late as it goes on the schedule according to their official web site.

If you have small children or folks in the family who are easily frightened, note that SCarowinds could cause some to be quite frightened. The park decorates several areas throughout the park for SCarowinds, so there are a few areas that might be a bit scary in daylight hours, but the daytime hour activities are pretty tame in October. By October, there is usually some relief from the heat, and lines for rides may be a bit shorter at this time of the year.

Carowinds October 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 5:30 p.m.
October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
Carowinds Closed
Carowinds Closed
October 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31


SCarowinds October 2016 Calendar


Open @ 7 p.m.

Close @ midnight
October 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23. 28, 30
Open @ 7 p.m.

Close @ 1 a.m.
October 15. 22. 29

Additional articles by Katrena

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Carowinds, Carolina Harbor and SCarowinds September 2016 Calendar

As school gets back into full swing, Carowinds begins to shorten their schedule, but the fall season often offers the benefit of shorter lines and perhaps cooler temperatures. Below are the dates and times for Carowinds, Carolina Harbor, and SCarowinds for September 2016. Carowinds may change their dates and times without warning; however, these were correct on the date I published this article.

Carowinds September 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
September 5, 10, 11, 18, 25
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
September 3, 4
Open 10 @ a.m.

Close @ 5:30 p.m.
September 17, 24
Open @ 5 p.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
September 2
Carowinds Closed
Carowinds Closed
September 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Carolina Harbor Waterpark September 2016 Calendar

Open @ 11 a.m.

Close @ 6 p.m.
September 3, 4, 5, 10, 11
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
All other dates in September


SCarowinds September 2016 Calendar

Open @ 7 p.m.

Close @ midnight
September 16, 17, 23, 24, 30


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark August 2016 Calendar

Carowinds and Water Park August 2016 Calendar
Although many schools start back to class in August, summer is not over yet. Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark still have plenty of dates for folks to come and enjoy the rides, slides, and more.

The dates I have provided in this article are accurate on the date of publication; however, Carowinds can change dates/times without warning. For example, August 12 had been scheduled to close earlier, but I see they've changed the close time to 10:00 p.m. recently.

Below are the dates and times for the 2016 season:

Carowinds August 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
August 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,  12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 26, 27
Carowinds Closed
Carowinds Closed
August 29, 30, 31

Carolina Harbor Waterpark August 2016 Calendar


Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 6 p.m.
August 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
Open @ 11 a.m.

Close @ 7 p.m.
August 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Open @ 11 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
August 5, 6, 7
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
August 29, 30, 31

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Thanks for visiting my Love 2 Travel With Kids blog - my family has had lots of fun at Carowinds over the years and hope your family does too!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark July 2016 Calendar

Carowinds and Waterpark July 2016 Calendar
July, the month that many children enjoy freedom from school. This article features dates and times that Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark are open in July, 2016. This is the simplest month of schedules for both parks. Carowinds can change schedules at any time, but this information is correct when published.

Carowinds July 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
All other dates in July
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 11 p.m.
July 4

Carolina Harbor Waterpark July 2016 Calendar


Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 7 p.m.
July 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28
Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 8 p.m.
July 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31

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Thanks for visiting my Love 2 Travel With Kids blog. I try to provide useful information that is quick and easy to find; it gives you more time to do something you enjoy.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark June 2016 Calendar

Carowinds June 2016 Calendar
As schools close for summer break, Carowinds offers many hours of summer fun at their amusement park that is located on the North Carolina and South Carolina border. In June, Carowinds is open all but one date: June 26, which is slated for a private event.

Carowinds may change dates and times without notice; however, all information was correct when this article was published.

Carowinds June 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
June 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
June 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30
Carowinds Closed for Private Event
Carowinds Closed for Private Event
June 26


Carolina Harbor Waterpark June 2016 Calendar


Open @ 11 a.m.

Close @ 5 p.m.
June 1, 2
Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 7 p.m.
June 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30
Open @ 11 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
June 17, 18, 19, 24, 25
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
June 26

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Carowinds and Carolina Harbor Waterpark May 2016 Calendar

Carowinds May 2016 Calendar
Yes, May 2016 is the month in which Carowinds is slated to open the new Carolina Harbor Waterpark for everyone to enjoy. This amusement park that straddles the NC/SC border offers a wide variety of land and water rides for the family to enjoy. 

Below you will find the dates and times scheduled for regular operating hours at Carowinds in May 2016. Carowinds may change any of these without notice, but all information was correct when this article was published.

Carowinds May 2016 Calendar

Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 8 p.m.
May 1, 8, 15, 30, 31
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
May 7, 14, 21, 22. 29
Open @ 9 a.m.

Close @ 10 p.m.
May 6, 13, 20, 27
Open @ 9 a.m.

Close @ 6 p.m.
May 12, 19
Open @ 10 a.m.

Close @ 11 p.m.
May 28
Carowinds
Closed
Carowinds
Closed
May 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26


Carolina Harbor Waterpark May 2016 Calendar

Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 7 p.m.
May 21, 22, 28, 29, 30
Open @ 11 a.m.
Close @ 5 p.m.
May 31
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
Carolina Harbor Waterpark Closed
All other dates in May

Additional articles
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