Skip to main content

Riverwalk Information


The Riverwalk segment of the Hickory Trail showcases one of Hickory’s most beautiful, natural assets — the Catawba River. The Riverwalk runs approximately 2.3 miles through Geitner Park along the river. It provides public access to Lake Hickory with an overwater bridge and a combination of waterfront and wooded trails, offering visitors a variety of scenery and multiple vantage points to admire the beauty of the lake and the surrounding natural environments.

The Riverwalk connects existing and future amenities in the area, including the paved Geitner Trail greenway and Boy Scout Cabin at Rotary-Geitner Park, mountain bike paths called the Lake Hickory Trails, the future Deidra Lackey Memorial Park, the future OLLE Art Walk, and the future pedestrian bridge across Lake Hickory to Caldwell County. 

Through a public/private partnership with the City of Hickory, the Robert Lackey family plans to renovate Rotary-Geitner Park to create the Deidra Lackey Memorial Park, featuring a Lake House for events, conservatory, gardens, trails, a picnic shelter/restroom facility, canoe/kayak launch, boat slips for visitors from the water, and a new fishing pier. 

When the North Carolina Department of Transportation completes improvements to U.S. 321, the current northbound bridge will be turned over to the City of Hickory for pedestrian use, furthering access and connectivity from the Riverwalk across Lake Hickory.

The Riverwalk creates a unique destination in the region and presents opportunities for economic development in Hickory's innovation district.

Project History

The Riverwalk was one of four projects approved with the 2014 bond referedum. In October 2016, the City accepted requests for qualifications to find a design firm to create the Riverwalk design. Design Workshop, Inc. worked on the Riverwalk design. 

Construction of Hickory’s Riverwalk started on January 10, 2020, following the award of a contract for the City-funded portion of the project. During its January 7 meeting, Hickory City Council approved a construction contract with David E. Looper & Company in the amount of $5,889,133 for the City portion of the Riverwalk bond project.

The contract with David E. Looper & Company for the Riverwalk City portion included construction of approximately 2,500 linear feet of 10-foot-wide overland multiuse trail with elevated concrete decking supported on columns and metal handrails, approximately 200 linear feet of on-land multiuse trail at the intersection with Duke Energy’s transmission right of way, landscaping, and other amenities.  

During its October 20, 2020 meeting, Hickory City Council approved a construction contract with W.C. English, Inc. in the amount of $7,185,655.25 for the partially NCDOT-funded portion of the Riverwalk bond project. This was the second phase of the Riverwalk's construction.

The contract with W.C. English, Inc. for the Riverwalk NCDOT portion included construction of an entrance from Old Lenoir Road, parking and access to the trail system, as well as an elevated walkway over Lake Hickory that interacts with existing City of Hickory amenities. Lighting on the bridge, retaining walls, and all necessary drainage piping were also included in this project. Construction for this portion of the project started in early 2021.

The Riverwalk celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 4, 2024, and is now open to the public. The Riverwalk's overwater bridge was designed by renowned architect Miguel Rosales and is the longest inverted Fink truss bridge in North America.

The Riverwalk was the second of five Hickory Trail segments to be completed. The Hickory Trail is a multiuse path system spanning over 10 miles that is designed to improve quality of life and drive economic development by connecting destinations across the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I park to access the Riverwalk?

There are multiple access points to the Riverwalk with several options for parking. (1) Park at Rotary-Geitner Park (2035 12th St Dr NW, Hickory, NC 28601) and walk to the trails and overwater bridge. One end of the overland, elevated Riverwalk trail begins here. (2) Park at Hickory City Park (1581 12th St Dr NW, Hickory, NC 28601), enter the Lake Hickory Trails system, and continue on the paved greenway to the overland Riverwalk trail sections and overwater bridge. (3) Park at the Riverwalk overwater bridge trailhead at the end of Old Lenoir Road (1580 Old Lenoir Rd NW, Hickory, NC 28601). Park here for the shortest distance to the overwater bridge. (4) Park at Jaycee Park (1250 15th Ave NW, Hickory, NC 28601), home of P.D. Fowler Field, and walk down Old Lenoir Road to the Riverwalk bridge trailhead.

What are the Riverwalk's hours?

The Riverwalk follows the hours of Rotary-Geitner Park. The Riverwalk overwater bridge and trails are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. March through October and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. November through February.

Can I fish, swim, or dive from the Riverwalk overwater bridge?

No. The Riverwalk bridge on Lake Hickory is part of the Hickory Trail multiuse path system intended for pedestrians and bicyclists. Therefore, fishing is not permitted from the bridge or other parts of the Riverwalk trail. Diving from the overwater bridge is prohibited, and swimming is not permitted in this area. There is a fishing pier about 200 feet from the start of the Riverwalk overland trail at Rotary-Geitner Park. 

For more FAQs and trail tips, visit

Riverwalk Photos