Spend three hours in the Triangle with our newest recommended weekend itinerary!
1 p.m. Arrive at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, 2616 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary. Though found in the traditionally Piedmont Prairie region of North Carolina, this state nature preserve features flora and fauna more typically associated with alpine ecosystems, including the famous hemlock trees for which it is named.
Begin with a quick tour through Steven’s Nature Center. Built in 1992 and covering nearly 3200 square feet, the Nature Center includes “an exhibit hall, Nature’s Niche gift shop, office space for Nature Center staff, a classroom for program activities and public restrooms.”
1:15 p.m. From the Steven’s Nature Center, begin on the Chestnut Oak Loop Trail (1.2 miles). From this trail visitors can expect to see more wildlife as the path arches away from the nature center and parking area. Keep your eyes and ears open, you could even see a gray fox! This trail highlights “upland forest, with ridges, ravines, and creeks.”
2:00 p.m. Before finishing the Chestnut Oak Trail, take a spin around the Beech Tree Cove Loop, (.9 miles). This trail takes visitors to the West Hemlock Overlook, with one of the best views of the hemlock trees.
2:30 p.m. After completing the Beech Tree Cove Loop and the Chestnut Oak Trail, finish with the .8 mile Swift Creek Loop. This trail includes a network of boardwalks and stairs that allow visitors to see not only hemlock trees, but also Swift Creek and an amazing array of spring wildflowers.
Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is a particularly spectacular birding site during the spring migration. 28 warbler species have been seen here, in addition to over 130 bird species year round.
3:15 p.m. Hop in the car and head to Elevation Burger, a new restaurant located at 8301 Brier Creek Pkwy #101, Raleigh. With locations in various states and all over the world, Elevation Burger strives to provide quality ingredients and a healthy experience to their customers. They are committed to providing organic, grass-fed, and free-range burger options, in addition to vegetarian varieties.
Try the famous “Elevation Burger” with two organic beef patties, or a “Half-the-Guilt Burger” with one organic beef patty and one veggie pattie, both paired with toppings of your choice. Looking for something sweet? Try one of Elevation Burger’s shakes, with real bananas, strawberries, mangos, blueberries, Oreo cookies, key lime, or even organic cheesecake.
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