Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Durham, North Carolina 27706

Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Johnston Mill Nature Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike explores a protected parcel of the upper New Hope Creek watershed. Follow New Hope Creek downstream past two former mill sites, then make a loop around a tributary—Old Field Creek—walking hilly bluffs and streamside flats. These watercourses deliver beauty in each season, luring you to return for multiple visits.

Sometimes while driving, we roll on bridges right over creeks and never give them much thought. However, many creeks in the Triangle area harbor natural beauty and a glimpse of the area’s past. New Hope Creek and its tributary Old Field Creek are two such waterways, streams that once hosted mills where local farmers ground their corn into meal, streams now functioning as wildlife corridors, valleys where trees rise regally to cool the waters below them, and where wildflowers from trout lilies to jack-in-the-pulpit color the woodland floor."

More Johnston Mill Nature Preserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Easy Day Hikes: Raleigh-Durham (Falcon Guides)
Peter Reylek and Lauren Reylek
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"This former homestead area is predominantly flat, with a series of bluffs as you head south. The bluffs can be bypassed for an easier hike, but to fully appreciate this diverse forest you’ll want to climb the hill to reach the overlook. Dozens of tree species can be found in the preserve. Take your time and look for placards on many trees, a great introduction to tree identification. Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, formerly a homestead to the Johnston family for two centuries, was acquired by the Triangle Land Conservancy in 1999 and opened to the public in 2001. The 296-acre preserve is notable for its variety of tree species, many of which bear informational olacards to aid identification." Read more
100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina (The Mountaineers Books)
Joe Miller
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"In the case of Johnston Mill, the TLC preserved what was identified in a 1988 inventory of natural areas and wildlife habitats as “one of Orange County’s most important natural areas.” Among the rarities at Johnston’s Mill: the four-toed salamander, Thorey’s grayback dragonfly, green violet, bloodroot, stemmed yellow violet, and columbine. Sightings of any of these are icing on the cake on what is already a lovely walk through a bottomland forest hosting the generally placid, occasionally perky New Hope Creek." Read more

Johnston Mill Nature Preserve Reviews

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Very nice trail that's an easy walk. Mostly former farmland (19th & early 20th century) so lot's of new growth mixed in with old hardwoods. The creek can be placid or active depending upon rainfall. Good parking off Mt. Sinai Road next to the New Hope Creek bridge. Adjacent to Duke Forest Korstian Division and it's myriad trails but they unfortunately do not inter-connect. Trail follows New Hope Creek for much of it's route. There is a loop that veers off and is a bit of a steeper walk over a nearby rise. Quiet and cool in the summer when foliage is quite dense. Excellent fall foliage site. Several benches throughout the length dedicated to the children of trail supporters. Not as busy as many Duke Forest trails but then many folks just don't know what they're missing. :-)

Johnston Mill Nature Preserve Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
1.5- 2.5 hours
Triangle Land Conservancy, 514 S. Duke St., Durham, NC 27701; (919) 908-8809;
Local Contacts
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018