Clemmons Educational State Forest - Clayton, NC
Places that have talking trees: Middle Earth, the Land of Oz, and Clemmons Educational State Forest in Clayton. (Unfortunately no hobbits at this park, but at least the trees won’t throw apples at you. )
The North Carolina Forest Service has seven Educational State Forests (ESFs) across the state that are designed to teach the public about the forest environment. Clemmons is one of the 2 ESFs close by to the Triangle (Jordan Lake ESF being the other). Even if you have been to the Jordan Lake ESF, you absolutely should still also go to Clemmons, too, because while it has the same purpose, it’s a completely different experience!
When you arrive, your first stop should be the informational kiosk that is toward the middle of the parking lot. This large billboard tells you everything you need to know about the park and we definitely recommend taking a photo of the trail map.
The Talking Trees and Talking Rocks trails are one of the best features of the park. These trails are short, both less than 1 mile each, and have pillars along the way with a button to push that will tell you about the various trees and rocks found in the forest.
We also loved the small boardwalk by the pond here, which had a giant, beautiful carving of the State of North Carolina and its river basins. Not to mention, TURTLES!
While not for the faint of heart, there is a ranger tower you can go up into in the parking lot. The stairs are steep and the inside of the tower is very, very small, but it is neat to get a bird’s eye view.
There are a few nice picnic areas, so it is easy to bring a lunch and spend a whole day at this park! When we originally visited, bathrooms were not open, but that was months ago, so we believe they are open now.
Finally, don’t miss out on a photo with Smokey the Bear on your way out!
Have you been to Clemmons Educational State Forest? Let us know in the comments!
(Note: We're currently working on updating our website with our reviews. This review was originally posted on Instagram and Facebook on October 9, 2020.)