Hey there, everyone! I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! Now, I don’t know what possessed us to decide to fit everything we could in this past week, but my family and I went on a lot of adventures during the holiday! One of my favorite adventures that just my husband and I got to enjoy this week was exploring Flower Hill Nature Preserve. But we got to bring the kids to so many other awesome places! We visited Pullen Park, Sandy Pines Nature Preserve in Wendell, the North Carolina Zoo (excellent!), the Marbles Museum, and the brand-new Downtown Cary Park (very crowded but stunning). However, Flower Hill Nature Preserve was so special that I had to share!
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Finding Flower Hill Nature Preserve
A while back, during my watercolor painting course with Amy Richards, Amy mentioned a unique preserve that feels almost like you’re in the mountains, but it’s located on the eastern side of the Triangle. Flower Hill Nature Preserve is located at 9038 Flower Hill Rd in Middlesex, NC, about 20-25 minutes southeast of Knightdale. This preserve is just outside of Wake County in Johnston County. It is owned and operated by the Triangle Land Conservancy, an organization passionate about land conservation, particularly around watersheds, to safeguard clean drinking water.
The Uniqueness of Flower Hill Nature Preserve
This hiking trail is mainly known for its unique flora, such as the Catawba rhododendron, which you would typically find in the western part of the state closer to the mountains. Hence the name, Flower Hill Nature Preserve! However, these flowers typically bloom around June, so we didn’t see any blossoms. But we wanted to come out anyway for two reasons. One, anytime I can get exercise outdoors is always a plus! And two, I wanted to see if this is a hike I could bring my kids to in the near future.
Navigating the Trail
We found a small, circular gravel parking area and a Flower Hill Nature Preserve trail sign with a map when we pulled in. This area to pull in and the preserve is understated and inconspicuous, so watch for the sign! Our trail was also covered in fallen leaves, making it a challenge to navigate, but thankfully, we could tell where others had walked before since there was enough of a clearing to help guide us. The intermittent trail signs placed on the side of trees were also helpful.
One thing that I was so glad I had on me was the AllTrails app. I could use my GPS to ensure we were still on the trail and not encroaching onto someone’s private property. It’s hunting season in North Carolina, so we wanted to stay safe!
The trail itself was a lot of fun! The hike was relatively short- only about half a mile. But the elevation change, climbing some steeper areas, and walking across a narrower cliff was exciting. The trail leads you to a nice view of Mocassin Creek. We had to cross a few wooden footbridges around deeper areas, where the creek was most likely carved out.
On our way back from the trail, we passed by a family with kids (my guess was 8-10 years old) and their dog. They were the only other people we saw that day (other than hearing the occasional boom of a hunting rifle far away in the distance).
Is Flower Hill Nature Preserve Family-Friendly?
Regarding my assessment of whether or not this trail is kid-friendly, I’d say yes- depending on the age of your children. Note- there are no public restrooms here. We had to climb some areas, and the cliff portion had a very steep drop-off and a somewhat narrow path to go around. Certain parts of the trail have plenty of tree roots and steeper drop-offs.
So, I would not bring my four and 2.5-year-old to Flower Hill Nature Preserve at this time, simply because my husband and I saw too many things that would be a real challenge to keep them safe. However, I could see older children enjoying this short hike. We can’t wait to get back next June to see the blooms!