(Every Monday for the duration, we’ll explore an aspect of Exploring Your Neighborhood. Today, a gem we stumbled upon in our own backyard.)
I’d heard tell of some trails I wasn’t aware of in western Orange County a couple years back while researching a story about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail’s path from Saxapahaw to Hillsborough. Because of landowner objections along the planned route, the route was pretty much just that, planned. “That is,” came the vague caveat, “except for a couple miles of trail somewhere along Seven Mile Creek.”
Where along Seven Mile Creek?
“Somewhere. Somewhere around Moorefields.”
After some Googling, I learned a little about Moorefields, the summer home of former U.S. Supreme Court justice Alfred Moore built in 1785. One thing lead to another, yada yada yada, and today the house is on the National Register of Historic Places and is run by the Friends of Morefields. I paid a visit, poked around, followed Seven Mile Creek in a couple spots, couldn’t find the trail. Two years later, I take a wrong turn down a road that soon turns to gravel, realize the gravel road likely isn’t headed where I am, pull into a second gravel road to turn around, and — hello! The trailhead and modest parking area of Seven Mile Creek Natural Area operated by Orange County.
Since that chance meeting I’ve become good friends with Seven Mile Creek. It’s close, a little more than 3 mile from home. It’s secluded, I’ve not seen another soul on the trails. It’s gorgeous, including a lush bottomland forest dominated by southern sugar maple, among other hardwoods. It also includes passage along a rocky stretch of its namesake creek, with boulders that make ideal reading spots on a sunny day.
Take a minute (and 25 seconds) to get to know Seven Mile Creek in the video. Maybe we’ll see you out there.
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Seven Mile Creek Natural Area
Address: 2187 Moorefields Road, Hillsborough, NC
Trail: 2+ miles
Size: 360 acres
Facilities: currently closed as a result of COVID-19.
Learn more here.
Explore Your Neighborhood
For more on exploring your neighborhood during these shelter-in-place times, check out our new “Explore Your Neighborhood: A Guide to Discovering the World Immediately Around You,” available in both ebook and paperback. Includes guidance on everything from how to scout your neighborhood for hidden gems to how to execute your neighborhood treks.
And don’t forget to join us weekday mornings at 7:30 for Morning Walk with Joe, about 10 minutes of Joe’s half-hour morning ramble.