Carolina Thread Trail

What will one day become a 500-mile trail network began with one step initiated by Foundation For The Carolinas.

In 2005, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation (an affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas) convened more than 40 regional leaders and organizations to determine the most pressing environmental needs and concerns. From that discovery process, open space preservation surfaced as the number one priority and the concept for a regional trail was developed.

The Thread weaves along Little Sugar Creek Greenway in the heart of Charlotte.

The Carolina Thread Trail weaves together communities and connects North and South Carolina, knitting together existing and planned local greenways in the 15-county region through a ribbon of green spaces and recreation areas. It links parks, trails, paths, repurposed railroads, scenic roadways, rural green space and historic sites and will connect to more than 40 destinations and attractions across the region.

Under the leadership of Catawba Lands Conservancy and many local partners, the Carolina Thread Trail strengthens the region and promotes economic development, education, better health and land preservation by connecting people, businesses and communities of diverse backgrounds and interests.

The Carolina Thread Trail is made up of segments that are designed, built and owned by the counties and towns through which the trail network is woven. The organization provides technical resources and catalytic funding as local communities adopt, plan and implement their trail systems, weaving them into this regional network.

The Carolina Thread Trail offers many types of trails on which to hike, bike, paddle and play.

The Carolina Thread Trail governing board is led by the Foundation’s past chair, Ruth Shaw, the former president of Duke Energy—a corporate champion of The Thread initiative. The board has committed to raising $25 million in private capital to support trail development in Carolina Thread Trail communities across the region. Since the project launch in 2007, The Thread has awarded more than $1.5 million in catalytic grants.

Community members are invited to support the Carolina Thread Trail by becoming a Trailhead. Click here to make a donation and join the Trailheads.

The $2 million financial commitment from Foundation For The Carolinas to the Carolina Thread Trail is one of the largest in the Foundation’s history. For a complete list of corporate and foundation partners, visit  


A family rides bicycles on The Thread in Manchester Meadows.

Carolina Thread Trail
Governing Board

Ruth G. Shaw, Chair
Bernard N. Ackerman
Philip Blumenthal
Crandall C. Bowles
Amy Brinkley
Robert Brinkley
Bill Carstarphen
Carol Carstarphen
Roger L. Dick
Anne Doss
Michael Mabry
Anna Spangler Nelson
Thomas Nelson
Sally Ormand
Alex Rankin, III
Stoney Sellars
Carl Spangler
James Turner
H. Thomas Webb
James G. Whitton