This trail was designed and developed to help create a more interactive experience for visitors at the Beaver Marsh. As you travel along the preserve trails, you will find 8 individual posts with signs on them. The signs point out different site topics and each will have a QR Code on it. The QR Code can be scanned using your mobile device, which will connect you directly to information related to the Beaver Marsh Preserve on various topics: Mammals; Amphibians/Reptiles; Birds; Insects; Native Plants; Stormwater Runoff; Wetlands; and, of course, ECWA’s organization.
The Association's first preserve, the 17-Acre Wood actually covers 20 acres of floodplain forest. Located in the Watts Hospital-Hillandale Neighborhood near NC School of Science and Math, the preserve extends from Albany St. to Maryland Ave, on both sides of the creek. The Preserve complements two city parks, Indian Trail Park and Westover Park, which border it at either end.
Since the initial purchase, in 2000, volunteers have transformed the Albany Street end of the preserve from an impenetrable thicket of invasive exotic plants into an oasis for people, wildlife, and native plant diversity. Educational signage and a kiosk aid self-guided tours. Represented plant communities include prairie remnant and wetland, in addition to the mature floodplain forest.
Located just 15 minutes east of downtown Durham, Glennstone Nature Preserve borders Ellerbe Creek’s floodplain, land owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and managed by NC Wildlife Resources. Through this land the preserve is connected to the downstream Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Within the 83-acre Nature Preserve, nearly 3 miles of trail connect the Glennstone Neighborhood through new growth forest, past an old cabin site, and across rocky diabase feeder streams, to one of the most attractive and wilder parts of Ellerbe Creek.
A sewer line right of way extends westward from the property to the old city landfill. This is one potential route for a future regional trail that could run along the northwest edge of the preserve connecting the preserve to the city to the west and the Mountains To Sea Trail running along Falls Lake to the east.
In 2006, the Duke Energy Corporation donated these 3 acres of urban nature to create ECWA's third preserve in Durham. Located along the East Branch of the South Ellerbe Creek, the Pearl Mill Nature Preserve is part of a corridor of wetlands and floodplain woods bounded by the Trinity Park, Old North Durham and Duke Park neighborhoods. It includes a portion of the popular South Ellerbe Creek Greenway Trail, just south of Green Street.
The property was named the Pearl Mill Preserve because of the old textile mill - Pearl Mill - that is nearby - just upstream, near the headwaters of the South Ellerbe. The mill has been converted to apartments and the old tall smokestack is visible from all around. There are mill houses just east of the creek. In short, the name reflects this history, and folks in the area still call the creek Pearl Mill creek.
When it comes to hiking and running trails, Durham is rich with a variety of options. Eno River State Park and Little River Regional Park & Natural Area feature hiking and biking trails along winding rivers and hills. West Point on the Eno City Park includes a historic mill and farmhouse surrounded by trails with beautiful views of the Eno River. There are also urban pathways lined with nature preserves, trails through protected forests, and more.
The American Tobacco Trail is a 22+ mile rails-to-trails project located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina. The route crosses through the City of Durham; Durham, Chatham, and Wake counties; the planning jurisdictions of the Towns of Cary and Apex; and passes through the Lake Jordan project land of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Paving from Massey Chapel Road south to the Chatham County line was completed early in 2013 and the short section along Massey Chapel Rd. was completed in late November 2013. Sections north of Renaissance Parkway and connecting to the bridge were completed early in 2014. The bridge spanning I-40 had numerous delays on the protective fencing and opened on February 19th 2014.
The Eno River Association has been leading people out to hike and explore the Eno for the last 50 years. The Association hosts its own series of winter and spring hikes and outings to bring all the citizens of the Eno to the river to enjoy, explore, and learn more about the river. Most hikes and outings take place on Sunday afternoons. Check the website for details.
The DUKE FOREST is owned and managed by Duke University. It consists of over 7,000 acres of forested land and open fields in Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties. It has been managed for teaching and research purposes since 1931. The mission of the forest is to facilitate research that addresses fundamental and applied questions concerning forested and aquatic ecosystems and to aid in the instruction of students so that they will be informed citizens and effective stewards of our natural resources. The management of the forest is guided by a comprehensive plan that promotes the Forest’s academic mission while ensuring the protection of its natural resources. The DUKE FOREST also provides education and outreach through tours and volunteer events and serves as an outdoor recreation destination for the local community.
There are walking trails through the forest of the Bennett Farm. Along the trails visitors can view plant life and wildlife, some plants that were present at the time the Bennett’s occupied the land. Benches and boardwalks built by Eagle Scouts and staff provide places to rest and cross remnants of the Ellerbe Creek. A picnic area provides visitors a respite to enjoy a meal or snack with friends and family.
Hikers, trail runners, bicyclists and equestrians cherish the extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails at William B. Umstead State Park. Trailheads on both sides of the park—accessible from Interstate 40 and US 70—surround three manmade lakes. The largest is Big Lake, offering canoe and rowboat rentals. Fishing is welcome at all the lakes and connecting tributaries. At both access areas, picnic grounds surround shelters with fireplaces that can be reserved. For organizations and nonprofit groups, primitive group campsites are available as well as two group camps with cabins, mess halls, and washhouses. Historic Maple Hill Lodge can be reserved for overnight group gatherings. A tent campground is open during summer months.
The Capital Area Greenway System is a network of public open spaces and recreational trails which provides for activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, bird watching, nature study, fishing, picnicking and outdoor fun. The trails connect many of Raleigh's parks and in many cases provide a complement to the recreational activities at the parks. Many of the city's major ecological features can be experienced in their natural state along the Greenway. A major goal of the Greenway Program is to establish a completed network of interconnected trails throughout the city.
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is North Carolina’s state hiking trail. It stretches 1175 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, stopping at many of our state’s most beautiful places along the way. It is as diverse as North Carolina. Along the trail, you may see mountain vistas, rolling Piedmont farms, picture postcard colonial towns, weathered tobacco barns, old textile villages, country churches, rushing mountain streams, coastal swamps, hardwood and pine forests, lighthouses, sand dunes, miles of seashore, and friendly people. 680 miles of the route are on trail, and connecting backroads and an optional paddle route allow hikers to trek across the state.
With hundreds of miles of trails, North Carolina state parks have something for everyone - hiking, biking, and equestrian trails as well as handicap-accessible trails. Trail networks offer easy to advanced hikes. Discovery/Track trails found in many parks are specifically designed for a young person's exploration with learning activities—such as a scavenger hunt—along the route. It's a great family activity.
Pick up a trail map at the park office or print one ahead of time — maps are available on each park's webpage.