For Mother’s Day I really wanted a family hike (how Modern Family is that?). And since I had heard so many rave reviews about the Johnston Mill trails in Chapel Hill, we went there in the late afternoon.
This was a great hike for us! We had C in a Kelty for most of it, then he did his own hiking for a little ways. There are some steps here, as well as roots and stones on the path, so jogging strollers won’t work. But kids could easily hike this. In fact, many were while we were there.
The land is owned and well maintained by Triangle Land Conservancy. They obtained the property in 1999 to protect the area around New Hope Creek. There was a historic mill site (although we must of the missed the evidence of it) and therefore worth conserving.
There are 296 acres in the preserve, about 3 miles of hiking. The mileage is various trails strung together. There are 2 access points to the preserve and trails (see links below) that will both get you to the same paths.
The path is great. Like I said, it is well maintained but also the scenery changes a lot. You get everything from rock outcroppings, to creek, to big fields, to old woods. It was a beautiful hike, especially with the smell of honeysuckle in the air right now.
Overall, we thought it was fairly easy. There are some areas that gain a quick elevation, but they are really short. And all along the path are benches for sitting and gazing at the flora and fauna.
This hike is really popular with dog walkers. Which is fantastic, but we have read that they have problems here with people walking their dogs off-leash (in fact, there are huge signs at the trailhead reminding citizens to leash their dogs because of the issues). Therefore, we couldn’t take our pooch, as she likes to eat other dogs if they are off leash, but would like to use this moment to say: folks, please leash your dogs when out on trails! And PSA done.
We didn’t take our GPS this trip, but you should explore whether there are any geocaches here!
We really enjoyed this hike. Thanks to all for the recommendation!
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
2881 Mt. Sinai Road