About this TrailJohnston Mill Nature Preserve, located next to parts of Duke University's research forest, is part of a large tract of unfragmented mixed hardwood forest. It is a scenic blend of forest, rocky outcrops, and flowing water.
Take time to sit at the junction of Old Field and New Hope Creeks and just watch the water. With uplands, creeksides, and a power line cut, there is a diversity of habitat; more than 125 species of birds have been observed (see the picture of the bird-watchers at left).
The Johnstons were a family of Scots Presbyterians who lived, farmed and operated a gristmill on this property for 200 years, beginning in the first half of the eighteenth century. Stone walls from the foundation of the mill are still visible (especially in winter).
Directions to Trailhead (or put-in on water trails)Take NC 86 north from I-40 (exit 266) 1.8 miles. Turn right on Mt. Sinai Road and follow it for 1.1 miles. The parking area is on the right just before the New Hope Creek bridge.
Notes on Difficulty RatingThe trails are well marked.