The Mountain Bike Trails are closed to bicyclists due to slippery conditions caused by rain. This alert will be removed when the trails are safe.Posted on: Monday, August 13, 2018
The Air Awareness Trail is undergoing construction and is closed until further notice.Posted on: Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Medoc Mountain is not really a mountain at all; its highest point reaches an elevation of only 325 feet above sea level. It is, rather, the core of what was once a mighty range of mountains - Medoc Mountain is what remains after millions of years of erosion. The eroded peaks were formed by volcanic action during the Paleozoic Age, about 350 million years ago.
An elongated structure of biotite granite, Medoc Mountain has effectively routed the streams of the area around itself and has resisted the erosion typical of the surrounding lowlands. The park sits near the fall line, an area where the hard, resistant rocks of the foothills give way to the softer rocks and sediments of the coastal plain. The northern and western faces of Medoc Mountain have very steep slopes, dropping 160 feet over a distance of less than a quarter mile. Such rugged terrain is unusual for the eastern piedmont.
Medoc Mountain is cloaked in a forest of green, its trees masking the peak. There are no scenic panoramas, no distant views of a majestic pinnacle rising to the sky. Medoc Mountain State Park has a more intimate beauty, an allure that is meant to be explored and appreciated up close.
The mountain and surrounding land have long been used for agriculture. Once the property of Sidney Weller, a noted farmer and educator, the area was used for the cultivation of grapes in the 19th century. Weller produced a highly acclaimed wine known as Weller's Halifax and is credited with developing the American system of grape culture and winemaking. It was Weller who named the mountain "Medoc," after a province in the Bordeaux region of France famous for its vineyards. Weller organized and operated an academy for area children and assisted with the development of the first North Carolina state fair in 1853.
Following Weller's death in 1854, his land was sold. The vineyards continued to produce into the early 20th century, but the land was later subdivided, sold and used for the production of other crops. The vineyards disappeared, and little trace of them remains. The high ridge and the slopes of Little Fishing and Bear Swamp creeks are the only places in the area that have not been extensively cultivated. A grist mill operated in the area until the late 19th century.
In the 1920s, a Boy Scout camp was built on the summit of the mountain and, a few years later, lumbermen cut the mountain forest for timber. In the early 1930s, a deposit of molybdenum was discovered near the summit. Exploration of the site occurred then and again in the late 1960s, scarring the land though no significant mining operations took place. For many years, local residents used the area for hunting, horseback riding and hiking. Numerous old roads and trails passing through the woods are evidence that these forests have long been enjoyed.
In 1970, citizens proposed the creation of a state park in the area. In 1972, the Division of Parks and Recreation surveyed a five-county area for a suitable site and recommended Medoc Mountain and the surrounding land. The Halifax Development Commission obtained a one-year option to purchase timber on the mountain from Union Camp, allowing the state time to acquire 2,300 acres of land to establish the park.