Shepherd Nature Trail Opening Celebration

April 15, 2017 - 9:30 am
Durham Division, Gate C, Hwy 751



Join us for a family-friendly morning of refreshments, children’s activities, and guided or self-guided hikes along the restored Shepherd Nature Trail!

The Office of the Duke Forest is excited to invite you to our opening celebration for the newly restored Shepherd Nature Trail - Duke Forest's one and only interpretive trail.  With a matching grant from Durham County, we have worked to overhaul signage, improve trail conditions, and upgrade infrastructure.  We hope the trail will engage audiences both young and old in understanding forest change and considering the roles we play in it.    

Opening remarks begin at 9:30am and there will be refreshments, children’s activities, and three guided hikes on the hour beginning at 9:30.

Parking available along the road and inside the gate; use this Google Map link to generate directions to Gate C:



This project is funded through the Duke Forest Improvement Fund and by the Durham County Matching Grants Program for Recreation and Open Space Projects.

The Duke Forest recently received a grant from the Durham County Open Space and Trails Commission to support a project to overhaul its worn-out, outdated, but one and only interpretive trail.  The trail is located off of Highway 751 in the Durham Division of the Duke Forest.  It is known as the Shepherd Nature Trail and was developed by boy scouts and then added to by students over the past 20 years.  It is intended to be a self-guided nature trail that demonstrates a continuum of systems typical of the North Carolina Piedmont and teaches visitors about tree species, forest processes, past inhabitants, and current research.  Unfortunately, both signage and sections of the trail have fallen into disrepair.

We hope the restoration and enhancement of the Shepherd Nature Trail will provide an outdoor forum for a wide range of users to learn about and discuss the natural environment of the NC Piedmont and sustainable forest management.  This project will improve the visibility, accessibility, and educational value of the Shepherd Nature Trail through overhauling signage, improving trail conditions, and investing in infrastructure upgrades. Examples include removing dense, difficult to read signage and replacing it with bright, descriptive, and easy to read educational ‘snapshots’; replacing fence railings and bridge treads to improve safety and accessibility; rerouting trail sections to prevent erosion, improve accessibility, and minimize tripping hazards; and building additional picnic tables near the trailhead to accommodate more users.