ElevationAscent: 89' 27 m
Descent: -76' -23 m
High: 385' 117 m
Low: 302' 92 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)
Current trail conditions
Popular runs nearby
Company Mill Trail
5.1 mi 8.2 km • Point to Point • 382 ft Ascent 116.51 m Ascent
Singletrack Cary, NC
New Hope Overlook - Red-Blue Trails
5.1 mi 8.3 km • Loop • 498 ft Ascent 151.91 m Ascent
Singletrack Pittsboro, NC
Al Buehler and Sally Meyerhoff Trails
3.7 mi 6.0 km • Loop • 216 ft Ascent 65.72 m Ascent
Singletrack Durham, NC
MST: West Point to Pump Station
9.3 mi 14.9 km • Out and Back • 325 ft Ascent 98.91 m Ascent
Singletrack Durham, NC
Duke Korstian Loop
4.2 mi 6.7 km • Loop • 301 ft Ascent 91.88 m Ascent
Paved Path Chapel Hill, NC
Run this trail?
Add details to help others plan their adventure.
“The trail ascends 100 ft up a stairway before offering stunning views of the river below.”— Matthew Rutledge
The north-facing bluff at Swift Creek has shaded slopes that support flora more at home in the cooler Appalachians: hydrangea, bigleaf snowbell, witch-hazel and alternate-leaf dogwood. (Two miles upstream, in a similar alpine-emulating setting, youll find montane hemlocks thriving at the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.) Strategically placed benches allow visitors to rest and enjoy the cool of the bluffs, even in the heat of summer.
There may only be a mile or so of trail, but dont expect to blow through the preserve. In addition to the neck-craning beech, a narrow floodplain offers multiple reasons to take your time. In the spring, bloodroot and trout lily kick off a festive wildlife season that begins mid-February. The preserve earns a place in The North Carolina Birding Trail: Piedmont Trail Guide, especially during migration and early breeding season. And Swift Creek itself is a playground for beaver, muskrat and an assortment of aquatic life.
In the transition from winter to spring, vernal pools that collect at the base of the bluffs offer ideal breeding grounds for spring peepers and upland chorus frogs, noted, respectively, for their high-pitched call and resemblance to a thumb being run over the tines of a comb.
Make your way to the top of the bluff and take advantage of the numerous benches that turn their back on civilization (literally: the Lochmere development is less than 100 feet away). Take in the passage of Swift Creek below and a lush hardwood canopy that puts a concealing roof on surrounding Cary.