This relatively new (2004) 391-acre park includes 7 miles of hiking trail and 7 miles of mountain bike trail. While the annual Little River Trail Run includes the singletrack mountain bike trail in its 10-mile option (which you can find here the route we suggest sticks to the hiking-only trail and runs about 5. (We eschew the mtb trail because there’s enough hiking trail here that we can; some runners aren’t comfortable sharing the trail with fleet-of-tread mountain bikers.)

From the parking area head down the gravel road near the rest rooms for a quarter mile to the main trail junction. Here, pick up the 1.8-mile South River Loop Trail, which will give you a taste of the Little River and the hardwood forest that dominates the preserve. The loop brings you back to the trail junction; this time, take the Ridge Trail, a 1.5-mile out-and-back. This trail climbs a mellow ridge to its apex. Here, pick up the 1.2-mile North River Loop, which takes you down to the stream, then back up to the top. The mellow descent back down the Ridge Trail and the short, quarter-mile climb back to your car is a nice way to end your run.

More info: Triangle Land Conservancy; Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation; Eno River Association

Maps: Triangle Land Conservancy, available at park office.

Getting there from downtown Chapel Hill

Difficulty: moderate
Distance: 40 minutes from downtown Chapel Hill
Length: 7 miles
Time to complete: 45 minutes to 2 hours
Address: 301 Little River Park Way
City: Rougemont
State: N.C.
Zip: 27572
Latitude: 36 09777
Longitude: 78 58.199