Geography of Cumberland County, North Carolina

By | March 14, 2024

Geography of Cumberland County, North Carolina

Cumberland County, located in the southeastern part of North Carolina, is a region characterized by its diverse landscapes, historic landmarks, and vibrant communities. From rolling hills and fertile farmland to meandering rivers and lush forests, Cumberland County offers residents and visitors alike a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. Check travelationary to learn more about the state of North Carolina.

Physical Features:

  • Cape Fear River: The Cape Fear River, one of the largest rivers in North Carolina, flows through the western part of Cumberland County, shaping the landscape and providing a vital water resource for the region. The river and its tributaries support a variety of wildlife, including fish, birds, and mammals, as well as providing opportunities for fishing, boating, and water-based recreation. The Cape Fear River also played a significant role in the region’s history, serving as a transportation route for Native American tribes, European settlers, and industrial development.
  • Sandhills Region: Cumberland County is located within the Sandhills region of North Carolina, a unique geological area characterized by rolling hills, sandy soils, and longleaf pine forests. The Sandhills are part of the ancient Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States, formed millions of years ago by the erosion of sedimentary rock layers. The region’s sandy soils and mild climate support a diverse range of plant and animal species, including longleaf pine trees, wiregrass, and gopher tortoises. The Sandhills also offer opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, birdwatching, and horseback riding.
  • Fayetteville Lake: Fayetteville Lake, also known as Cross Creek Reservoir, is a man-made lake located in the northern part of Cumberland County. The lake was created in the 1950s to provide drinking water for the city of Fayetteville and surrounding communities. Fayetteville Lake offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking, as well as scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The lake is also home to a variety of wildlife, including fish, waterfowl, and turtles.
  • Carvers Creek State Park: Carvers Creek State Park, located in the southeastern part of Cumberland County, is a 4,000-acre park that encompasses a diverse range of habitats, including longleaf pine forests, cypress swamps, and wetlands. The park is home to several miles of hiking trails, as well as the historic Rockefeller House, which was once the winter retreat of industrialist James Stillman Rockefeller. Carvers Creek State Park offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography, as well as educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.


Cumberland County experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, relatively dry winters. The region’s climate is influenced by its inland location, as well as its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Summers in Cumberland County are typically hot and humid, with daytime temperatures often reaching into the 90s Fahrenheit. Humidity levels can be high, especially during the summer months, making it feel even hotter. Thunderstorms are common during the summer afternoons and evenings, bringing heavy rain, lightning, and occasional hail.

Winters in Cumberland County are generally mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 60s Fahrenheit. Snowfall is rare but possible, especially in inland areas, where colder temperatures prevail. Cold air masses from the north and west can bring periods of freezing temperatures and strong winds, but overall, winters are relatively mild compared to other parts of the country.

Human Impact:

  • Military Presence: Cumberland County is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the United States. Fort Bragg serves as the headquarters of the United States Army Forces Command, the United States Army Reserve Command, and the United States Army Special Operations Command. The military presence in Cumberland County has a significant impact on the local economy, providing jobs, housing, and services for military personnel and their families. The military also plays a role in the community, supporting local businesses, schools, and organizations through partnerships and outreach programs.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture has long been an important industry in Cumberland County, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn, soybeans, tobacco, and cotton. The fertile soils and favorable climate of the region support a diverse range of agricultural practices, from traditional farming to organic agriculture. In addition to crop production, Cumberland County is known for its poultry industry, with poultry farms producing chicken, eggs, and other poultry products for domestic and international markets.
  • Urbanization: The city of Fayetteville, located in the central part of Cumberland County, is the largest city in the region and serves as the county seat. Fayetteville is a major urban center with a diverse population, vibrant cultural scene, and bustling downtown area. The city is home to numerous restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums, as well as educational institutions such as Fayetteville State University and Methodist University. Urbanization has led to the development of infrastructure such as highways, railways, and airports, which support transportation and commerce in the county.

Conservation Efforts:

Efforts to conserve and protect Cumberland County’s natural resources are ongoing, with a focus on preserving sensitive habitats, managing water resources sustainably, and promoting responsible land use practices. Conservation organizations, such as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Nature Conservancy, work to protect critical ecosystems, restore degraded habitats, and educate the public about the importance of environmental conservation. Efforts to address issues such as water pollution, habitat loss, and climate change are also underway, with initiatives to restore wetlands, control erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat.


In conclusion, Cumberland County, North Carolina, offers a diverse and dynamic landscape characterized by its rivers, lakes, forests, and military presence. From the scenic beauty of the Cape Fear River to the historic landmarks of Fayetteville, the county boasts a wealth of natural resources and cultural attractions for residents and visitors alike. While facing challenges such as urbanization, agricultural runoff, and climate change, Cumberland County remains a resilient and vibrant community with a deep connection to its natural heritage and military history. Through collaboration, innovation, and conservation efforts, the county continues to balance economic development with the protection of its unique landscapes and ecosystems, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.