Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve

If it has recently rained, please check for a RED trail alert banner at the top of this page. This banner will list closed TLC preserves. Trail status can also be found online by visiting Triangle MTB or TORC. Please help us prevent erosion by respecting trail closings. Do not enter Williamson Preserve or park along the side of the road if the gate and trails are closed.

A 405-acre preserve in Wake and Johnston counties

Parking lot: 4409 Mial Plantation Road, Raleigh, NC 27610
Neuse River Greenway access: 6090 Mial Plantation Road, Raleigh NC 27610
Seven miles of multi-use trails for walking and biking with 1 mile just for walking. Trails go one way, so please pay attention to signs. Sunday-Wednesday, walkers turn right at trail intersections, and bikers and runners turn left. Thursday-Saturday, walkers turn left, and bikers and runners turn right. The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk.

“He felt closer to God down there on the farm than sitting on a pew in church.” – Sally Greaser recalling the love her father, Bailey Williamson, had for the land at Walnut Hill.

At Bailey and Sarah Williamson Farm & Nature Preserve in the Walnut Hill Historic District, you can lose yourself in the tranquil scenery, totally forgetting the state’s capital lies just 20 minutes west. This special place is more than a nature preserve and farm, though, it’s an integral piece in protecting the history of the region and connecting the community with nature for generations to come.

Nine miles of multi-use trails wind through farm fields and contiguous, unfragmented forests. Williamson Preserve is TLC’s first public nature preserve to have active farming activities on-site thanks to partnerships with organizations including NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State University, and Wake County. The land and surrounding area also have a long history, which TLC has worked to document with the UNC Communities History Workshop. Along the breezeway of the White Barn, signage shares information on the Indigenous and Black communities who lived and farmed in the area, as well as of the prominent white families who owned the land.

Bailey Williamson
Bailey Williamson

Bailey and Sarah Williamson first approached TLC about conserving the property back in the early 2000s, and in October 2013, unfortunately after both had passed, their vision was realized when TLC purchased the property for future use as a public preserve. This preserve was made possible because of a shared vision and commitment to open space by Wake County, the Land and Water Fund, Johnston County, the Environmental Enhancement Grant Program, individuals who supported TLC’s Our Water, Our Land campaign; and the Williamson family who donated more than 60% of the land’s value.

Request for Agricultural Proposals

Contact: Heather Szaro,

Farmers interested in small-scale annual crop production, market gardens, cut flower operations, beekeeping, small livestock, or community-focused garden projects are invited to submit proposals for the use of farmland at the Williamson Preserve.

Currently, we are NOT reviewing applications for cattle operations, dairy operations, large chicken operations, or aquaponic systems. All other small producers however are welcome to submit a proposal. Small operations are those that can operate on less than 2 acres of land.

Qualifying operations will agree to the Guiding Principles of the farm. Proposals should be thorough and describe the agricultural intent of how the land will be used, outlining the scope of work, a desired timeline for beginning operations onsite, and a list of team members involved. Please email our team member listed above for full details.


Read the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve Agricultural Concept.
Learn more about regenerative agriculture.
Read more about Williamson Preserve’s history.
Click here for a PDF of the map.
Invitation for Farmers or Ranchers to submit proposals for the use of farm land at Williamson Preserve

HOURS: Dawn to dusk. 

ACCESS: Enter only via designated parking lot. 

– Follow proper trail directions. 
– Trail users are asked to be polite and courteous to fellow patrons. 
–  Most trails at Williamson Preserve go in one direction. Sunday-Wednesday, walkers turn right at trail intersections, and bikers and runners turn left. Thursday-Saturday, walkers turn left, and bikers and runners turn right. 
– Trail users must ride or walk on the right side of the trail. 
– Trail users must give an audible warning before passing others. Announce yourself and slow down to pass. 
– Patrons must obey all signs. 
– Helmets are required for all riders. 
– Bicyclists must ride single-file. 
– Stop only on the shoulder of the trail. 
– Ride at a responsible, controlled speed.  

VEHICLES: Motorized must be parked in parking lot and may not be used anywhere other than the parking lot. Vehicles parked along the road are subject to removal. No overnight parking.

PETS: Pets must be leashed at all times with no exception, and all waste must be removed from the preserve. This is incredibly important for the safety of other visitors, wildlife, and farm animals who could be harmed by off-leash pets and waste.

– Littering 
– Off-trail riding and hiking 
– Horseback riding (no horses are allowed at the preserve) 
– Racing on bikes
– Electric bikes (e-bikes)
– Smoking 
– Bringing or consuming alcohol 
– Collecting plants and wildlife 
– Hunting 
– Feeding wildlife or livestock 
– Approaching or handling livestock or farm equipment  
– Firearms 
– Swimming 
– Tents and/or camping 
– Using drones 
– Metal detecting 
– Commercial activity of any kind 

– Any and all ruins or artifacts found in the preserve are the property of TLC and may not be removed without consent. 
– Visitors may not alter, deface, damage or otherwise change any monuments, either natural or manmade, within the preserve. 

GEOCACHING: Geocache placements must be permitted by TLC. 

Thank you to our sponsors!

The Cannon Foundation, Inc.     
The Longleaf Alliance
Appalachian Mountain Brewing Company
Triangle Off-Road Cyclists
Wake County     

Johnston County     
Recreational Trails Program     

NC Land & Water Fund     
Environmental Enhancement Grant Program

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