Posted on Wed, Apr 3, 2013
meet at the Church at 4PM, we will return and have supper at 6PM
Please signup at Church
White Pines Nature Preserve
Getting there: From the traffic circle in Pittsboro, head south. Cross the Rocky River at 7 miles;
proceed another mile up the hill and go left on River Fork Road (SR 1958). The road Ts: take an
immediate right. The road turns to gravel after 1.2 miles; at mile 1.6 go right at the stop sign.
The road veers left after 0.6 miles (a driveway veers right). Go another 0.3 miles to the
Size of property: 276 acres
Miles of trail: 3.5 (Gilbert Yager Trail, 1.1; River Trail, 1.0; White Pines Trail, 0.8; Schoolkids
Trail, 0.4; Comet Trail, 0.2).
Reason to visit by season: Summer: cool north-facing bluffs that make it possible for the white
pines to survive have been known to knock off up to 10 degrees from the temperature in nearby
Pittsboro; Winter: Naked canopy and understory offer sightlines underscoring the magnitude of
the preserve’s 100-foot bluffs. Spring: Wildflower display includes Catesby’s trillium, trout lily,
bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit and Dutchman’s britches. Fall: Though known for its namesake
evergreen, the property also hosts a mature southern hardwood forest with good autumn color.
Kids: The diversity of White Pines help keeps a child’s attention. One moment you’re staring up
the trunk of a massive white pine or beech tree, the next you’re negotiating a tight passage
between rock outcrop and the Rocky River, the next you’re checking out wetlands that,
especially in a kid’s mind, say mysterious swamp. Plan your hike to save the best for last: At the
far loop of the Schoolkids Trail is a length of old, rusted cable (a portion of which runs through
the side of a tree). Intriguing on its own, all the more so when you reveal it was once part of a
cable bridge kids used to cross the river to get to school.
Protection status: White Pines was the first property purchased by the Triangle Land
Conservancy, in 1986. The initial purchase was 258 acres; the preserve has since expanded to
Additional information: For a sense of bird life in the preserve, check out this report from the
Carolina Bird Club http://www.carolinabirdclub.org/birdingnc/white_pines.html. For more on
hiking the preserve, see Hike No. 44 White Pines Nature Preserve in “100 Classic Hikes in
North Carolina,” Mountaineers Press.