2023: The Year of the Trail

2023 is the Year of the Trail in North Carolina! With over 5 miles of walking trails and a 10 mile driving trail, Bentonville is excited to be a part of the celebration!

From the Great Trails State Coalition, “In North Carolina, there is a trail for each of us. An open invitation for bikers, hikers, paddlers, and riders. For amblers, explorers, and commuters. These paths are a place of refuge and recreation, connecting us to the very essence of this state. To its storied, winding history. And—with our active use and care—to its future. Because we blaze and sustain trails together: those born and bred here, and those beckoned by its promise as the Great Trail State. Along these trails, we lead and we follow. We march on our own and we build community. We find new purpose, generation after generation. Because North Carolina’s trails are for all of us. To enjoy, to sustain, and to champion. This is our year. The Year of the Trail.

We need trails. To move, to play, to discover.”

Explore the trails at Bentonville!

One of the most exciting aspects of our trail system is its place within the much, much larger Mountains-to-Sea Trail! Stretching across 1,175 miles of North Carolina the trail literally travels from the mountains at Clingman’s Dome to the sea at Jockey’s Ridge and everywhere in between, including Bentonville Battlefield. The MST traverses 2.4 miles of our trails, from the Harper Farm and Visitor Center to the Cole Plantation: Battle of Acorn Run Tour Stop.

For a quick walk and a bit of history, our Harper Farm Trail is a great stop! The trailhead is conveniently located right across the road from the Visitor Center with its own parking lot, open daily sunrise-sunset. There’s a short loop and a long loop, so be sure to pay attention when on the trail so that you don’t get turned around, both loops together are just under a mile, making it a great, quick walk. Along the way you also encounter trenches built during the battle!

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail kiosk at the Harper Farm trailhead provides important information before you begin your journey

The Cole Plantation Walking Loop is a crown jewel of our trail system. A mile and a half journey takes you through woods, across fields and alongside trenches built by both United States and Confederate soldiers during the battle of Bentonville. This trail takes you through the the historic Cole Plantation, where some of the most intense fighting happened during the battle. Don’t miss the brand new spur trail that takes you to a great view of the infamous ravine that played an integral role in the battle.

If you want a bit more of a walk, instead of returning to the parking area via a gravel access road, you can continue on the .8 mile Junior Reserves trail to the Junior Reserves tour stop and monument.

Beautiful springtime view of the open field from the Cole Plantation Walking Loop

Connecting the Harper Farm and Cole Plantation trails is the Morris Farm Trail, a 1.7 mile walk that crosses Battlefield Rd, features areas of heavy fighting during the battle with wayside panels, and some beautiful woods. With a parking lot on both sides, this is a great one way or out-and-back trail if you don’t mind doubling the distance.

Foot bridge on the Morris Farm Trail

Finally, our shortest trail is disconnected from the rest of the system and located at the Sherman’s Headquarters Tour Stop. You can see the battle from a totally different perspective here and see trenches constructed by the 17th Corps of the US Army, part of Sherman’s Right Wing that were instrumental on the final day of the battle.

Be sure to check out our trails on AllTrails, linked here, for more information and great directions. Additionally, below is a map of our driving tour and all of the walking trails listed above, we have plenty of options to satisfy that need to get out on the trail and explore!


As we launch into 2023, keep following us on here and across social media as we continue celebrating the Year of the Trail! We have trail work days, family activity events, bird watching tours, and much more planned to celebrate the incredible trails here at Bentonville Battlefield!

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