Information on:

Charlotte - McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

15222 York Road

McDowell Nature Center serves as the gateway to the 1107- acre McDowell Nature Preserve and is the source for educational programs and information on the preserve's natural communities, flora, and fauna. The preserve, the oldest in Mecklenburg County, has been left 90% undeveloped and protects mostly forested, rolling terrain along the banks of Lake Wylie.


  • 1,107.6 acres
  • Nature Center
  • 56-Site Camp Ground
  • Copperhead Island - Fishing and Boating Access, Primitive Group Camping
  • 7 miles of hiking trails
  • Playgrounds
  • Picnic areas
  • Wildlife viewing opportunities


Emily Stephens

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Very nice nature preserve. It contains several well kept hiking trails that interconnect, so you can easily tailor the distance you hike to your preference. Some of the trails provide access to Lake Wylie. There are several picnic areas, both picnic tables and covered areas. There is a camping area and multiple playgrounds for children as well as fishing areas. The preserve is open year round, providing an excellent opportunity to enjoy the variety of the seasons.

Michele Karma

Monday, April 2, 2018
Beautiful and serene. Be careful though. Heard of a few shady moments out here. Don't leave valuables in car. Protect ya-self, in every way. You know folks is cray-cray.

Jenn Glidden

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
The McDowell Nature Preserve is one of the best parks in Charlotte. It is a peaceful park on the lake with an incredible nature center featuring classes, equipment rentals, tons of picnic tables and grills all over, a great playground, and some boat launch and fishing pier access. We enjoy this place, it is truly a sanctuary in Charlotte and a great gift to the residents.

Kristina Williams

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018
Easy way to get into nature. This preserve has walking and hiking trails, including a paved trail. There is also a park with a playground, including equipment for younger and older children, although there are no swings. Plenty of places to view the lake from, including a huge deck. Picnic tables, shelters and grills throughout. Plenty of parking, although right by the lake does tend to get full. There is also a nature museum for kids and a camping area. You feel away from it all, but are still close to eating and shops.

RJ Manoni

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
What a great place for a hike. The family and I were there for hours hiking around, seeing the lake and the nature center had just enough stuff to break the hike in 2 for my 4.5 year old. Highly recommend it for an sunny afternoon.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media