McAlpine Creek Park (Charlotte): Complete Guide

Many of our favorite parks in Charlotte serve the South Charlotte region. McAlpine Creek Park sits along the north side of Monroe Road, on the edge of East Charlotte. For this reason alone, we appreciate McAlpine Creek Park because it serves a different population. 

Visit McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte

McAlpine Creek Park is expansive but doesn’t feature many of the amenities you see at other regional parks. You can use a few fields for soccer, but you won’t find baseball fields, basketball courts, or tennis courts.

McAlpine Creek doesn’t have a children’s playground, either. Still, some people love the park for these same reasons. The park isn’t as busy as similarly-sized parks in the region.  It is very peaceful, and the trails pass by trees and two small lakes. 

Plus, McAlpine Creek Park features a Cross-Country Course, the McAlpine Creek Greenway, and an off-leash dog park. 

McAlpine Creek Park Field

Cross-Country Course

McAlpine Creek Park is home to the Larry McAfee Cross-Country Course. The beautiful 5K course hosts races for local high schools and running organizations. The course starts along the McAlpine Creek Greenway and stretches for a kilometer, turning just short of Independence Blvd. 

As the course turns back towards the park’s heart, it crosses a stream and winds up and down “The Hill.”  The Hill is closed off for bikes to preserve the course conditions, so you can just imagine what it is like to conquer The Hill during the middle of a big race.

After traversing The Hill, the trail winds around two small lakes and through the woods. The course features a little bit of everything, including a long straightaway to start, dirt trails, streams, lakes, hills, and secluded pathways.

Meets are held year-round, with a heavy concentration of competitions in the fall. Previous meets include some of the following (and many more):

  • Wendy’s Invitational
  • MAC Championships
  • Hare & Hounds XC Invitational
  • Queen City Invitational
  • Home Meets For Mulitple High Schools
  • Several Conference Championships

Parking gets a little crazy on meet days, primarily because there is only one way in and out of the park. There should be plenty of parking if you are participating or watching the meet. Still, if you aren’t involved in a meet, you likely will want to pick another day to visit.

McAlpine Cross Country Course

Nature Trails

The 5K course is open to the public with no competition. The course serves as awesome nature trails, but that is really just the beginning.

The McAlpine Creek Greenway stretches for nearly six miles west and converts to the Campbell Creek Greenway east.

There are several entrances to the greenways, but the park serves as a central hub for parking. The greenways are paved with asphalt, so they are nice to visit even on a wet day. The cross-country path is mostly dirt.

The greenways and nature trails are peaceful and serene. They are gorgeous on cool fall days when the leaves are changing colors. You will often see geese at the lakes, but if you are lucky, you may see deer or other wildlife.

Dog Park

The off-leash dog park may be the biggest reason people visit the park, aside from cross-country meets. The large fenced area is perfect for dogs of all sizes to run around.

Erin and I once had a golden retriever who loved playing at this park. He would pick up sticks and rocks and carry them from place to place. Unfortunately, he chipped some teeth carrying rocks, but that’s a story for another day.

This dog park is one of those places where regulars go every day.  Their dogs play together while the owners stand to the side and chat. There are multiple fenced areas, including one for small dogs and one for large dogs.

The one downside to the dog park is that it has a reputation for turning into a mud pit following bad weather. We still like this dog park, which is definitely worth checking out. Consider avoiding most rainy days. 

It is one of the best dog parks Charlotte has to offer.

Dog Parks At McAlpine Creek Park

For another dog park in the Charlotte region, we recommend that you visit Reedy Creek Dog Park in northeastern Charlotte.

More About McAlpine Creek Park

McAlpine Creek Park is set back off the road, and largely hidden by trees. On race day, you might be surprised to see a line of cars turning into this anonymous park entrance. For this reason, and because there are few ballfields or playgrounds, it is a little like the hidden gem of a park. Here are some other things to consider.

Fishing at McAlpine Creek Park

A dock at the small lake at McAlpine Creek Park is great for fishing. Parks and Recreation stocked the lake with catfish. You can also catch largemouth bass and bluegill fish. To go fishing, you must be at least 16 years old and have a North Carolina fishing license. 

While the county encourages catch and release, they also post creel limits for each fishing location, including McAlpine Lake.

Lake at McAlpine Creek Park

Dogs at McAlpine Creek Park

McAlpine is a great place to take your dog. Your dog must be on its leash unless you visit the fenced dog park. Still, there are miles of trails for you and your pup to get exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Please take baggies to clean up waste.

Where is McAlpine Creek Park?

McAlpine Creek Park sits at 8711 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28212. This 114-acre county park stretches from Monroe Rd. to Independence Blvd, but there is no entrance for cars near Independence Blvd. The greenway system transfers under Independence Blvd from the McAlpine Creek Greenway to the Campbell Creek Greenway.

Here is a fun fact for you. McAlpines Center is a business park that sits across Monroe Road. Charlotte FC uses the business park as a headquarters and training facility for the team.

Dog Park Path McAlpine Creek Park

McAlpine Creek Park Map

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation has a great map showing McAlpine Creek Park’s size. There are no roads or parking along the trail. Most of the parking is near Monroe Road and the dog park. The cross-country course is secluded, a great setup for cross-country running.

Is McAlpine Creek Park Worth It?

McAlpine Creek Park serves a niche purpose within the Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation family. The park doesn’t have softball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, or even playgrounds like most other parks. It does feature a championship cross-country course and a large dog park. For these reasons, it is worth visiting. 

Plus, McAlpine Creek Greenway runs through the park, and there is ample parking. The parking makes this location a popular meet-up spot for runners and cyclists. Of course, you don’t have to be a fitness enthusiast to enjoy the nature trails and greenway.

The park offers scenic views in almost every direction, as trees seclude it. You can’t see the nearby roads or railroad tracks. All you see are green fields, tree-lined trails, and a peaceful lake. 

Despite the lack of sports fields and playgrounds, McAlpine Creek Park is still one of the best parks in the Charlotte area. You can always visit Freedom Park or Park Road Park for ballfields and playgrounds, but only McAlpine offers a dog park and championship cross-country course.

Bridge Over McAlpine Creek

Jeremiah moved to the Charlotte area with his wife, Erin, back in 2013. The family has grown over the years, and they now call the Carolinas home. They enjoy hiking and adventures, road trips, backyard fire pits, and pizza night. Jeremiah loves to explore, and looks forward to sharing tips, tricks, and resources for your next trip.