Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center
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Hiking Trails

Habitat Diversity Trail System Brochure and Map  (PDF: 195KB/2pp)

Turkey Pen Ridge RoadLocated around the Learning Center building is a diverse network of short and long trails called the Learning Center Habitat Diversity Hiking Trails. The 15 separate trails that make up this trail system are some of the best trails for bird watching on the property and are a feature of the North Carolina Birding Trail.  The shortest trail is a mere tenth of a mile, while the longest is 3/4 mile in length.

A diverse group of ecosystems such as, bottomland hardwood forest, open fallow fields, mixed pine/hardwood, longleaf and loblolly pine forests, pond, and creek may be visited by walking several of the trails. A 10-foot high observation platform/picnic shelter located on Muir trail offers excellent viewing or a variety of habitats.  This trail system is open seven days a week during daylight hours only unless otherwise posted. Maps are located under the porch of the Learning Center building.

There are many miles of more remote and less maintained trails that are available for exploring but require prior staff approval to access. One of these areas is the new
Fort Island Birding Trail system. This new trail system consists of only two trails, but offers excellent viewing access to wet early successional, swamp, forested pond, and rarely visited mixed hardwood/pine forest ecosystems. The total length is less than one mile. To take advantage of these lesser used "pathways to wildlife," contact the Howell Woods Director or Operations Supervisor for a map of these secluded areas.

All trails at Howell Woods are flat and average 6-8 feet wide. Some are improved dirt or gravel trails while others are mostly mowed natural vegetation. Many may be extremely damp/wet or "soft" depending on weather conditions.

No user fee is charged for trail access.  The Habitat Diversity Trail system is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.  Other walking trails may be closed during scheduled hunts.  Trail status is posted on the information board at the Learning Center.

Horseback and Bike Trails

Horse and Bike Riding Trails Brochure and Map

Rider on Horseback Available to the horseback and bike riders are more than 15 miles of very scenic roads that meander through mature bottomland hardwood forest, open fallow and managed wildlife fields, loblolly and longleaf pine forest, mixed pine/hardwood forest, wet early successional and hardwood forest edge habitat, and a 3/4 mile stretch adjacent to the Neuse River.

All equine six months of age and older must have proof of a current negative EIA test to ride on the property. All horseback and bike riders are highly encouraged to wear the appropriate safety head gear while on the property. There are currently two water spigots located in the parking lot to water horses.

All horseback and bike trails are maintained dirt or gravel single lane roads. Some road surfaces are "crush and run" type gravel. Several water fords with larger stones are located on several of the major roads. There are also two wooden plank bridges on two of the major roads.

All horses and their riders must have reservations with Howell Woods before riding on the property.

You must have a registration form and current negative EIA test.
Please download the Registration Form (PDF) complete and keep current. Keep the registration form and current negative EIA test with you when you ride. This should be readily available upon request by a staff member.

For weekend riding, reservations must be made by noon on Friday.
For weekday riding, reservations must be made at least 12 hours in advance.

Office hours for making reservations are Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm.

User fee of $10 per horse and $5 per bike applies.

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