In early Fall we headed out to Durant Nature Preserve with some friends to enjoy their weekly Wee Walkers program (Thursdays from 10-11am). Having never visited Durant Nature Preserve before I’m glad I attended an organized program that guides you and the kiddos on a short walk through the park because this nature park is huge! Durant Nature Preserve is located at 8305 Camp Durant Rd in North Raleigh (north entrance is located off Camp Durant Rd and south entrance is located off Spottswood St). According to the COR’s website, this park was originally known as Camp Durant and was the headquarters for the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts until 1979 when the City of Raleigh purchased the land from the scouts and turned it into a nature park. We parked in the parking lot near the park office at the north entrance. Once everyone arrived (about 10-15 moms/kids total), we set off on our nature walk with our super friendly and knowledgeable guide. For those with babies or early walkers, I’d recommend wearing the babes in a carrier as most of the trails are unpaved.
We hiked along the eastern side of the park following the Pine Ridge Connector, Pine Ridge Trail and Lakeside unpaved trails. Our guide stopped several times along the trail to point out a variety of flora and fauna. We saw a little bit of everything: wasp nests, leaf poppers, water striders, water frogs, mushrooms, mosquito fish, poplar tulip leaves, muscadine grapes, dogwood berries and a real turtle! The kids (ranging in ages from under 1 to 5 years old) were most impressed by the turtle walking along the trail, but it’s been fun to see how Ashley gets excited when she sees dogwood berries in the backyard! The neat part about the Wee Walkers program is that each program is different because it’s based on what’s going on in nature that week and it’s FREE…what a deal!
After the Wee Walkers program we explored the playground area and had a picnic lunch. The nearby shelters were very muddy due to the recent heavy rains, but we made do. The playground is for ages 2-12 and has a few slides, monkey bars, climbing ladders, a large sandbox with teeter totters and diggers, two tot swings, and two regular swings. Also close to the playground area is sand volleyball, basketball and the public restrooms.
This post simply scratches the surface of all there is to explore at Durant Nature Preserve. If you want more than just hiking, this seems to be a great park for camping, biking, birding and so much more. I look forward to coming back again soon!
- City of Raleigh Durant Nature Preserve
- Park map
- Upcoming programs at Durant Nature Preserve
- Nearby Simms Branch Trail greenway
Thumbs up: Wee Walkers program, variety of hiking trails
Thumbs down: signage throughout park (we got lost heading back to our cars)