Self-Guided Activities at TLC Preserves

Pond at Brumley North. Photo by Amber Alsobrooks.

While our monthly guided events are a great way to build community and explore unfamiliar areas, self-guided activities are a great way to create your own unique experiences at TLC preserves. There are many opportunities to connect with nature at your own pace, whether it’s through a reflective solo hike through the forest or a walk with family to discover local bird species.

Below are a list of ideas to help you create your own adventure at TLC preserves!

Connect with nature at Williamson Nature Preserve
Click for details

Visit the Nature Journaling kiosks at Williamson Nature Preserve along the Two Pond Loop trail for inspiration on how to observe the nature around you. Slowing down to take a closer look or listen for sounds in the woods can reduce stress and help you notice things you may not have before. For more ideas on how to relax and connect with nature, you can read “Be Your Own Nature Connection Guide”, a guest blog written by Margot Lester, a TLC Trail Guide.

History Walk at Horton Grove
Click for details

Other than being our largest public nature preserve, rich in mature forests and a 20-acre native grassland, Horton Grove offers an opportunity to learn about the history of enslavement in the area. Trails at Horton Grove are named after Black families — Holman, Peaks, Hart, Justice, Latta, Walker, Jordan, and Sowell — whose ancestors were enslaved and forced to work on the land. Thanks to the work of staff at Stagville State Historic Site, we are able to share the families’ stories of resilience and their persistent struggle for freedom. PDFs of the kiosks can be viewed here.

Escape the heat on a stroll along the Rocky and Deep Rivers
Click for details

Temperatures at our White Pines Nature Preserve can be as much as ten degrees cooler than nearby downtown Pittsboro due to its unique microclimate, making it a great summer hiking destination. The river trail is a 1.1-mile trail that will take you along the confluence of the Rocky and Deep Rivers.

Complete a Scavenger Hunt
Click for details

Scavenger hunts are a great way to take a closer look at your surroundings. The That Makes Sense trail follows the 0.8 mile Holman Loop at Horton Grove Nature Preserve in Durham. As you follow the trail, each sign invites you to explore how animals use their senses to survive and how we can use our senses to better observe the world around us. Engage with the That Makes Sense trail by downloading this scavenger hunt sheet before you go!

Participate in a citizen science project
Click for details

There are many opportunities to participate in citizen science projects at our preserves. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, iNaturalist and eBird are two great examples of citizen science platforms you can use to explore local plant and bird species! For more citizen science opportunities please visit our Community Science Projects page.

Sign up for our Hiking Challenge
Click for details

Complete 6 hikes at 6 public TLC nature preserves and receive fun prizes! In addition to prizes, nonmembers who complete the challenge will receive a year’s TLC membership and current members will receive a gift card to the Great Outdoor Provision Company. You have one year from the date you enroll to conquer the challenge. For more information please visit our Hiking Challenge page here.

Find a TLC Nature Preserve Near You