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Ecology

An inviting trail at William B. Umstead State Park
Important Information! Read Before Coming to the Park. Updated July 3, 2020   

* Our visitor center will remain closed for now. Please refer to our website first for generic information. For important calls only, please call 919-571-4170 or 919-218-2809.  All camping facilities remain CLOSED. There are no boat rentals.

Important Information Before Visiting:

1.  Bring WATER!  There are no water fountains, and it is VERY HOT, please bring enough water to drink.

2.  Bring a MAP!  You can print maps online before you come to the park or pick one up at our Visitor Center or trail Kiosks.  We have over 30 MILES of trails in the park and many trails are not loop trails so please bring a map and plan your hike.  Pay special attenton to the distance and difficulty rating of the trails you will be on.

3.  Gates lock at 9:00pm.  Please plan your visit so you are able to leave before the gates lock.

Park hours will be 8:00am to 9:00pm on both sides of the park.  *On Saturday and Sunday mornings, the Reedy Creek entrance at Harrison Avenue and I-40 will open at 7:00am. The Crabtree entrance at Glenwood Avenue will open at 8:00am seven days a week. Entry before or after operating hours is trespassing.

*IMPORTANT: The park will close when full and no cars will be allowed to enter until more parking becomes available.  As one vehicle leaves the park, the next vehicle in line will be allowed to enter.

4. We are opening trails and restrooms to provide fresh air and exercise during this difficult time. Visitors should make their visits brief and focus on moving through the park, without stopping any place where multiple people may be in one area. This is not the time to “hang out” at the park.

5.  The horse parking area is OPEN. The visitor center is closed so please keep a copy of your horse's Coggins report in your vehicle, horse trailers are not required to stop at the visitor center.

6.  Please bring hand sanitizer and go to the bathroom before coming to the park. Restrooms will be open, but we have limited supplies of toilet paper and soap, so please conserve.

7.  Please follow all current state guidelines on social distancing and gatherings. Visitors should maintain a social distance, including on trails — move aside for people to pass.

8.  Visitors should wear a face covering, like a bandana or a mask, that allows them to breathe easily on the trail without spreading as many germs.

9.  If you are hiking in a group, walk single file when you are passing someone on a trail.

*Special Message:  We are still operating the park on a limited opening capacity to allow people to visit and enjoy the park and the outdoors while also adjusting operations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  COVID-19 Guidelines and Recommendations should still be followed.  Please keep proper social distance, allow room for others to pass, and avoid gathering in groups.

Please also respect park staff who have been given specific operational guidelines for cleaning and social distancing requirements for their safety and to reduce the potential spread of infection.

*Visitor behavior is IMPERATIVE to create conditions that will allow us to keep our parks open. Failure to respect these guidelines could cause parks to be closed and may impact additional park facilities from reopening.*

 Last updated on: Friday, July 3, 2020

Park Will CLOSE WHEN FULL   

Important Information: The park will close when parking is full and no cars will be allowed to enter until more parking becomes available. As one vehicle leaves the park, we will allow the next vehicle waiting to enter.
 

 Last updated on: Friday, July 3, 2020

Facilities Closure   

Due to the Govenors extention to phase 2 we have cancelled all reservations till July 20th. Once we get further information we will update when we will open. 

 Last updated on: Monday, June 29, 2020


8801 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27617

919-571-4170
william.umstead@ncparks.gov

 

Map of North Carolina

GPS: 35.8905, -78.7502

 

8801 Glenwood Ave. entrance
 

  • November to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day

2100 N. Harrison Ave. entrance
 

  • November to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
VISITOR CENTER:
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm daily
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
EXHIBIT HALL inside visitor center:
  • 9:00am to 4:30pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

Tent and trailer family campground open
April 1 to October 31
 

  • April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
Campers: Please note that once the campground gates close, they are locked until the park reopens the following day. There will be no entry or exit permitted, except for law enforcement or medical emergencies.

 

Natural resources

Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.

Relics of the past are still found throughout William B. Umstead State Park. The land was once shaped and altered to develop home sites, roadbeds, and agricultural fields. Following designation as a park, young forests returned and recreational facilities were added.

The past continues to influence the park’s ecology. The stone dams of grist mills held back sediments and shaped the stream bank. Roadbeds remain marked in the landscape. And ornamental plants continue to endure amidst the forest.

When the land was settled, the residing families subsequently introduced ornamental plant species into their landscapes. While the plants provided enjoyment and aesthetics, many were non-native and invasive. Once the park was established, these species were left unabated and continued to grow with an impact on native vegetation. The prevalence of non-native plants and their affect on the ecology can still be seen within the park.

The change in land use from farm to forest has allowed signs of lasting human impacts to converge with elements of the natural world. Demonstrating the ways state parks preserve the marks of history as well as the natural ecosystems.

Unique flora and fauna native to North Carolina can be found throughout the park. The varying forest types provide habitat for beavers, raccoons, deer, and a multitude of bird species. Belted kingfishers and great blue herons are commonly seen near streams and lakes. A variety of trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers offer beauty in the midst of every season.

Management of the park includes preserving the native ecosystems and natural areas. The Piedmont Beech Natural Area, a 50-acre tract of towering beech trees, has been included in the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. The tract exemplifies a forest type found in the piedmont prior to development. Due to the sensitive nature of the area, access is allowed only by permit. Crabtree Shrub Slopes Natural Area contains shrub species uncommon in the piedmont region including rhododendron and laurel. Access is available from Company Mill Trail.

The park continues to provide a view into North Carolina’s unique flora and fauna. And many visitors find there is reason to return, within each season and in each year, the park’s ecology shows traces of change.