Sunday Stroll: Adams Tract in Carrboro, NC

27 acre woodland preserve in Carrboro offers natural trail hiking along Bolin Creek

I ran my longest distance ever this past weekend - 14 miles on Saturday morning - so on Sunday I needed a nice and easy warm-up hike with my dad before my trail run with Kelly at Carolina North. I was doing my usual scrounging around looking for green patches on Google Maps when I remembered that on the last long run in Carrboro we passed by a park sign on N Greensboro St and someone mentioned there were some trails back there. I pulled it up and sure enough: there was a little patch of green and a dotted line suggesting trails.

Mural along paved greenway before reaching the natural trails of Adams Tract

We took the Red Trail at Adams Tract in Carrboro

It took me a while to pull up information on it but eventually, thanks to a handy Boy Scouts project, I found some barebones information on the park and trail. The trail is simply named "Red Trail" and it runs 0.7 miles in a lollipop fashion from the trailhead at Wilson Park. My dad and I added on the Green Trail to cut down to the banks of Bolin Creek, bringing the total mileage of our hike to just at one mile.

Even though the hiking trail here was short it was still a pleasant walk. I marveled at the trout lily (Erythronium americanum) carpeting the forest floor while my dad remarked how surprised he was that the railroad bridge still used wooden trestles. I had first seen trout lilies in the NC mountains, and they're a lovely little spring ephemeral - popping up very briefly to bloom and then disappearing again. They're a colony species, and it can take up to 7 years for trout lily to mature and bloom and it can take hundreds of years to establish a colony, so finding such a well-established colony in Carrboro was a sweet surprise. Dad on the other hand was interested in the old railroad bridge - ever the mechanic, he's the type to be fascinated by how something works. Ryder, as usual, was oblivious to flower and train tracks and was enjoying his usual canine pursuits of sniffing and pooping.

Trout lilies at Adams Tract in Carrboro

Railroad bridge in Adams Tract in Carrboro

Adams Tract meets Bolin Creek in Carrboro

While the natural trail here was short it looked like it connected to various greenways and another trail heading to Carolina North, so when I've got some fresher legs I may come back here and do some more exploring to see just how far I can go.

Hike It:

Get there: You can access Adams Tract via Wilson Park in Carrboro.

Adams Tract in Carrboro - 27 acre woodland preserve in Carrboro offers natural trail hiking along Bolin Creek

Distance: Dad and I did exactly one mile on the trail. Supposedly you can get up to 1.25 miles with a couple other connector trails.

Difficulty: Easy. There is some elevation change but it was gently rolling.

Dog friendly? Yes, but dogs must be leashed.

Kid friendly? Yes. Kids will enjoy exploring the creek and there are signs identifying trees as well as a tree ID brochure (note: I didn't find any of the brochures at the trailhead but I didn't look very carefully). Please exercise caution near the railroad tracks. You don't cross the tracks on the trail but an over-eager child could run off the trail to the tracks.

Tips: When you first get to Wilson Park following the paved trail from the parking lot to behind the tennis courts. You'll eventually see a turn-off onto natural trails to the left. It's a rather small hiking area so it's unlikely you'll get lost. That said, the trail isn't really marked or blazed, but it's well-traveled and easy to follow. You may also enjoy exploring the connecting paved greenways or playing some baseball or tennis at Wilson Park.

What else can you do in the area? Check out all that UNC and Carrboro has to offer! Chapel Hill is just down the road and has all the wonderful amenities of a college town, but Carrboro has its own unique vibe. Check out Weaver Street and its co-op market and ice cream shop, or go to the popular Carrboro Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.

Park website: (Wilson Park) and (Adams Tract)

Trail map:

That map isn't great though, so also see: and

Have you ever done any hiking or exploring in Carrboro? Let me know in the comments!


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