Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers
While this loop is a little longer than the many educational and interpretive trails in the preserve, it would provide an excellent opportunity for kids to put everything they learned into practice.
Latta Plantation Preserve, with its nature center, historic preserve, and raptor center, has abundant learning opportunities in the form of interpretive trails, educational programming, and guided tours. This loop is short, easy, and lets you look for all the birds, plants, and ecosystems you learned about.
Of the numerous trailheads throughout the preserve, this lollipop loop starts and finishes at the parking lot and trailhead adjacent to the Latta Nature Center
. There are restrooms available, in addition to educational programming if you'd like to learn more about the preserve, its history, and ecosystems. As a nature preserve, people have attempted to restore the landscape to its most undisturbed state. That's a difficult task for the 1,343 acres to achieve as an island of nature surrounded by urban environments, but the preserve is an impressive and thriving environment.
From the trailhead, head down the Sample Trail
. The trail parallels Sample Road and has a couple of intersecting connectors. At the junction of the Sample Trail
and the Shady Trail
, either go south along the Sample Trail
to do the loop counterclockwise or cross Sample Road to follow the Shady Trail
loop clockwise. The entire loop is shaded, but you should be able to catch glimpses of Mountain Island Lake through the trees on the south side of the loop.
Once you arrive back at the junction with the Sample Trail
, return back the way you came, hiking along Sample Road until you reach the trailhead and parking lot.
Flora & Fauna
The preserve, with its diverse forest, prairie, and meadow ecosystems, is home to almost 100 species of birds, and numerous mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. The prairie restoration site works to preserve a the threatened Piedmont Prairie
, but also protect Schweinitz's sunflower and Michaux's sumac, both of which are endangered species.
For a better understanding of the preserve's importance to birds, both migratory and otherwise, visit the Carolina Raptor Center. The center has an interpretive trail and guided educational activities—check the Carolina Raptor Center's website
for more info and schedules.
History & Background
The Historic Latta Plantation is also located in the preserve, and features a "living history" farm and the remains of a cotton plantation that was operational in the 1800s. There are both self-guided tours and facilitated educational offerings, including guided tours that happen daily. For more information, head to the Historic Latta Plantation website
Shared By: Amber Scott