Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve

The Frog Pond at Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, a 447-acre preserve in Wake and Johnston counties

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.

Getting here

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 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.

About The Preserve

The 447-acre preserve in Wake and Johnston counties is one of the largest multi-use trail systems in the Triangle, with 15.3 miles of single-track trails. This special place is more than a nature preserve and farm; it’s integral to protecting the region’s history and connecting the community with nature for generations to come. Indigenous people have long lived in what is now modern-day North Carolina, possibly dating back to at least 8,000 BCE. The land that became Wake County was within the larger area of the piedmont and coastal plain that Tuscarora peoples occupied by the colonial period. King Charles II claimed ownership of the land for England and created the Province of Carolina in 1663. You can read more about its history through interpretive signage posted at the renovated pack house that also serves. We use a staff office space. 

Williamson trail map_updated August 2022

Click here for a PDF of the map.

Features

Lose yourself in the tranquil scenery at the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Farm & Nature Preserve. Williamson Preserve has 17 miles of hiking and multi-use trails that wind through farms 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 white barn’s breezeway, signage shares information on the Indigenous and Black communities who lived and farmed in the area and of the prominent white families who owned the land.

Hours 

The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk. 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.

History

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.
Bailey Williamson
Bailey Williamson

Bailey and Sarah Williamson first approached TLC about conserving the property in the early 2000s. 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.

You can learn more about the rich history of the preserve here.

Request for Agricultural Proposals/Solicitud de Propuesta Agropecuaria

Contact: Heather Szaro, hszaro@triangleland.org

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.

We are NOT currently 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 can operate on 1-5 acres of land.

Qualifying operations will agree to the Guiding Principles of the farm, which can be found in the Agricultural Concept plan. Proposals should be thorough and describe the agricultural intent of how the land will be used, outlining the scope of work, the desired timeline for beginning operations on site, and a list of team members involved. Please email our team member listed above with questions.

Contacto: Heather Szaro, hszaro@triangleland.org

Abrimos convocatoria para proyectos de pequeños productores interesados en usar terrenos en nuestra Reserva Williamson. Buscamos proyectos de cultivos anuales, huertos individuales, comerciales o comunitarios, producción de flores, apicultura o ganado menor.

Por el momento NO buscamos solicitudes de proyectos ganaderos (con vacas), operaciones lecheras, proyectos mayores de avicultura o sistemas acuapónicos. Fuera de estos casos, invitamos propuestas de pequeños productores, entendiendo por esto proyectos que puedan operar en terrenos de 1-5 acres.

Los proyectos seleccionados estarán conformes con los Principios Rectores de la Reserva, que se pueden encontrar en el Plan del Concepto Agropecuario de la misma. Las propuestas deben profundizar sobre el proyecto a realizar, describir la intención agropecuaria del uso de los terrenos de la Reserva, describir el alcance del proyecto y trabajos a realizar, así como incluir un cronograma ideal para el comienzo de los trabajos en campo, y una lista de los participantes o miembros del equipo involucrados. En caso de cualquier pregunta o requerir mayor información favor de comunicarse con el contacto de TLC listado arriba.

Resources

Read the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve Agricultural Concept
Learn more about regenerative agriculture
Request for proposals for the use of farmland at Williamson Preserve [updated July 2022]

Park Information

HOURS: Dawn to dusk. 

ACCESS: Enter only via the designated parking lot. 

TRAILS: 
– 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 the 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.

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND ITEMS: 
– 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 

ARCHAEOLOGY, SALVAGE, AND PHYSICAL PROPERTY: 
– 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 natural or manmade monuments 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

Find a TLC Nature Preserve Near You
[wpgmza id="2"]
Share This