North Carolina has 24 land trusts working throughout the state to save some of our most precious landscapes from development. Sometimes, those lands spared by the land trusts subsequently become part of our public lands. And sometimes the land trusts hand on to these properties, create trails on them, and open them to the public.
In this collection, we offer five of our favorite land trust properties open for exploring in the Triangle and Triad areas. We like them for a variety of reasons, which we quickly summarize below.
Horton Grove Nature Preserve, Triangle Land Conservancy, Bahama. With 8 miles of trail divvied up on 7 trails it’s possible to hike both short (a half mile) and long (around 10, with some necessary overlap) here.
Knight Brown Nature Preserve, Piedmont Land Conservancy, Stokesdale. Dropping into the valley carved by Belews Creek that makes up much of this 189-acre preserve is like entering a different world, of giant beech, steep valley walls, mature forest.
Confluence Natural Area, Eno River Association, Hillsborough. Confluence is new enough (2017) and remote enough that it’s yet to be discovered. Exposed meadows and intimate walks along the east and west branches of the Eno dominate this 2.25-mile network.
Brumley Family Nature Preserve (North), Triangle Land Conservancy, Chapel Hill. Varied landscapes and surprisingly flat terrain make this an especially good first hike for a beginner. 3.5 miles of trail combined on 5 trails.
Eno River State Park, Fews Ford 7-Miler, Eno River Association, Durham. Eno River State Park might not exist were it not for the Eno River Association; this long hike is one of the few opportunities to escape gorgeous spring and fall weekend crowds along the Eno.