What it is: We have to thank another wonderful reader for this suggestion. This one is for all of our readers in North Durham. However, I would say that this park is definitely worth a trip even for us South Durham folks. Little River Park is located in very, very Northern Durham. In fact, the address on google maps is in Rougemont. To get there you travel 11 miles north on Guess Rd. once you exit on I-85.
This park isn't listed in the Durham Park locator because it's a collaboration between Durham and Orange counties in partnership with the Eno River Association and several other groups. It's a great place to take your kids of any age. For our little ones there's a great little play structure. While it's located fully in the sun, it was a fun stop early in the morning when it wasn't too hot yet.
After our stop at the playground we headed to a great 1/4 miles paved loop trail through the woods. This was fabulous for our little boys who are learning to ride their bikes. It's a short enough distance, but it is nice and shaded and still feels like an adventure because we were heading through the woods. Our little two-year olds were also able to make it around the trail on foot.
Our final stop before our picnic lunch at this park was a fabulous butterfly garden. It's enclosed by a wooden fence, and inside is an area filled with flowers and butterflies flitting about everywhere. At this time of the year, I think there were almost as many butterflies as we normally see in the Museum of Life and Science butterfly pavilion. Our kids had a ball.
There were also plenty of activities that we didn't get a chance to do that day. There are some great hiking trails, a bird trail, as well as 8 miles of single track mountain biking trails for the older kids. While we were there we saw a group of older kids and a guide head off on a fun trip on the mountain biking trails. They also have programming for kids which I would like to head back and take advantage of.
What we liked: Our favorite part of this part was definitely the nice paved trail through the woods which was perfect for our little kiddos. However, there was also the playground and butterfly garden to entertain us and a few picnic shelters for us to choose from where we could eat our picnic lunch.
What we would change: For those of us in South Durham, it's a bit of a trek, but for anyone further north this is a great, close stop. In addition, we did find some bugs in the picnic shelter (spiders and some wasps), but after all, it's the woods and of course there are bugs in the woods.
Website and other important information:
Address: 301 Little River Park Way, Rougemont, NC 27572
(the butterfly garden)
(A scenic barn tunnel at the entrance to the trails)
(The 1/4 mile paved trail)