Hiking North Carolina
by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Randy Johnson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
Duke Forest Teaching and Research Laboratory is over 7,000 acres of managed forest owned by Duke University in Durham, and used for forestry research, environmental education, and public recreation. Duke Forest is easily one of the best things about living in the Triangle. There are many separate trails of varying length and difficulty that traverse the forest throughout it's 3 county span. Entry is through "gates" located on public roads and parking is along roadside shoulders. Many of the trails are actually wide, well cleared fire roads. There are very limited facilities, notably picnic shelters and outhouses at several sites for group outings. Cell phone coverage can be frustrating but trails are well marked, reasonably busy and quite safe. Much of the area is old farmsteads from the 18th through the very early 20th centuries so there can be areas of recovering new growth mixed in with older hardwood forest. Birds, insects and some major wildlife abound here. Several major creeks cross many of the trails. Closures of the forest can happen on weekdays during fall hunting season but they usually are always open on weekends. Cool respites from Piedmont summer heat along with outstanding fall foliage viewing opportunities. Excellent maps available from the University for a small fee. (Google "Duke Forest".)
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