Sneak Peek: Turnipseed Nature Preserve Now Open in Wendell

New park in Wendell offers hiking, picnicking, and a retreat in nature

I know, I know, everyone's still obsessed with snow right now (can you believe we got well over 8 inches in Durham?!) but today's a little bit of a throwback. The final photos for the Wake County Parks project were delivered and I am just itching to show you all the last round of images! I got to do a ton of fun things for the Wake County Parks photography project, from photographing mountain bikers and stand-up paddleboarders to meeting up with equestrians on the American Tobacco Trail to exploring hiking trails to doing some fun interactive lessons with kids - but it also gave me the opportunity to do something I'd never be able to do otherwise (well, not legally at least): explore a park that hadn't been opened yet!

Wake County expanded its park system in 2017 to include Turnipseed Nature Preserve in Wendell, NC. With 265 acres of land preserved, it's an important wetland area and has historical farming significance as well as geological significance as a point where the piedmont and coastal plains of North Carolina meet. The park had its soft opening in fall 2017 and construction is on-going as they build additional trails through the preserve.

I had a chance to see the park in late fall just before the soft open. I grabbed some good friends of mine to have a little picnic in the park and explore some trails. It was so much fun doing this photoshoot, and I can't wait until spring to go back and do some more exploring! Enjoy the sneak peek of this new park!

Before you ask: no, it's not named "Turnipseed" because there are wild turnips growing there or anything. Apparently part of the land belonged to the Turnipseed family, and when they sold a parcel for a local road folks around there started calling it "Turnipseed Road" and the family name has stuck around!

A huge thank you to Emily, Brittany, and Britt for coming out and exploring the park with me!

The park is open now and has about 1 mile of walking trails (two half-mile trails). It's located in Wendell, NC which is east of Raleigh.

Hike It:

Get there: Turnipseed Nature Preserve is in Wendell, NC. Generous parking is available at the end of a long paved road into the park.

Distance:  About 1 mile of walking trails (two half-mile trails). More trails are under construction.

Difficulty: Easy. The trails are flat and made of graded gravel.

Dog friendly? Yes, but dogs must be leashed.

Kid friendly? Yes. Kids will enjoy the bridge at the end of Gin Branch Creek Trail and there are open meadows where they can play.

Tips: You can picnic, hike, check out the bridge over the creek, and explore the boulders in the park. There are nice grassy meadows, so I highly recommend exploring this new park in the spring when the meadows are green.

What else can you do in the area? Wendell is a fast-growing suburb so you can explore the latest new homes there or you can bring your kayak or rent one at Robertson Millpond Preserve.

Trail map:

What do you think of the new park? Will you be visiting it in the spring? Let me know in the comments!

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