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Shepherd Nature Trail in Duke Forest - Durham, NC

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than visiting Independence Tree?

The Independence Tree is just one amazing piece of history along the Shepherd Nature Trail in Duke Forest. Downed during Hurricane Fran in 1996, the Independence Tree was growing in Duke Forest when America declared independence in 1776. The slab of the tree on display pinpoints monumental American history dates in the tree’s rings.

Duke Forest has many access points, but the entrance to the Shepherd Nature Trail is a small gravel area on the side of NC-751 in Durham. (For the exact location, you can put “Shepherd Nature Trail” in Google Maps and it comes right up.) Parking is first-come, first-served on the side of the road by the entrance.

Not long after entering Duke Forest, you will come to a small open area with picnic tables and a sign about the Shepherd Nature Trail. The trail starts to the left of the sign. If you keep going to the right past the picnic tables, this will still be Duke Forest, but not the Shepherd Nature Trail. (We found this out the hard way. )

This is going to be our last post before the 4th of July weekend, so we hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday! If you’re looking for inspiration on other places to go this weekend, check out our recent blog post about 7 parks substitutes for your local indoor favorites. Link for that is in our bio.

What are your 4th of July plans? Let us know in the comments!

Important update: At the time we are posting this (Nov. 17, 2020), Duke Forest is currently closed from Monday through Friday until December 11, 2020 for the Deer Herd Reduction Program. It is still open on weekends.

(Note: We're currently working on updating our website with our reviews. This review was originally posted on Instagram and Facebook on July 2, 2020.)

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