College Woods is located on the west side of the main campus. It comprises approximately 250 acres of woods, streams, and small fields, with a network of trails through the property.
From the main trailhead on Colovos Road there is a .65 mile accessible trail through the beautiful hemlock-hardwood forest and leads to a bench with a view of the Oyster River reservoir. The trail has a packed earth surface with occasional small obstacles (roots and rocks) and ranges in width from 4-12 feet. Rest stops with benches are available in areas with more slope.
Recreational activities occurring within the entire College Woods are hiking, walking, skiing, jogging, bird watching, and general relaxation. Biking is allowed outside of the Natural Area. Hunting is not allowed in any areas of College Woods.
The main trail departing from the Campus trailhead is an equal access trail, which follows ADA guidelines for maintenance and is surfaced in packed dirt and crushed gravel.
Presently, some 70 acres within the main woods area is designated as a Natural Area. This designation places these stands in a preservation status. This area was designated in 1961. Since this time nothing has been done to alter natural process within the Natural Area. Dead or dying trees have only been removed when they pose a hazard to trail traffic and safety.
Occasionally, timber harvests are conducted in areas outside the Natural Area to fulfill specific management objectives. These harvests are used to create areas to support specific educational and research activities.
The following activities are presently registered as in progress in College Woods:
From Campus: From Pettee Hall, walk down Colovos Road and under the railroad trestle. Then take a left, walk along the road until you reach a fork in the road. Look off the road to the right and there is a path -- this is the beginning of College Woods. There is parking in this area, but it is limited to weekends or permit holders. There is a single van accessible spot at this main trailhead (parking still limited to weekends or permit holders).
Public Access/Parking: From Durham town center head southwest on Mill Road. After you cross the bridge over the railroad tracks, you'll see a small pullout on the right with parking for 1-2 vehicles and a kiosk. If parking is not available here there are 2 more pullouts farther along Mill Road with access to the trail system.
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