T h i s   W a y   t o   N a t u r e           in Chapel Hill                 @thiswaytonature.com
        Map of Sites   Adams Tract
Anderson Community Park
Battle Park
Cedar Falls Park
Homestead Park
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
Mason Farm Biological Reserve
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Pritchard Park
Umstead Park

Explore . . .




A small creek flows near the western boundary of the park. It is a shallow creek just a couple of feet wide, with a sandy bottom and enough rocks to make it interesting. The bank slopes gently to the creek from the nature trail, making it easy for young children to approach it. On the far side of the creek the hill rises sharply to home sites above. This setting provides a delightful place for young children to play in a creek that is surprisingly private and quiet, given its close proximity to Franklin Street. The water runs slowly through most of the year, but may dry up during the summer months.



Pritchard Park supports a variety of animals in its woodland habitat, though you may have a hard time spotting them. Look for the tracks of raccoons or deer at the edge of the creek, and listen for birds foraging in the treetops. To have a better chance of seeing birds, visit the brushy areas along the nature trail on the eastern side of the park.


At Pritchard Park you can—

  • play in a creek
  • ramble in the woods
  • look for critters in fallen logs
  • scramble up a hillside
  • swing on a grapevine
  • hike a one mile trail

A Natural Area of Chapel Hill

One of 10 natural areas in the Chapel Hill area profiled by Boy Scouts of Troop 9 for Daniel Ripperton’s Eagle Scout Service Project to encourage children to spend more time in the natural world.


Pritchard Park

Nestled around the Chapel Hill Public Library are over 30 acres of woodland for you to explore. Named for the family from whom the land was purchased, Pritchard Park is heavily wooded with mixed hardwoods and pines. Hardwoods, such as beech, poplar, and ironwood, predominate in the cove by the creek, while pines dominate the ridge with oaks scattered throughout. The land rises from a low point near the Estes Drive and Franklin Street intersection to a high point near Audubon Road, so the terrain is mostly hilly. Besides enjoying the woods, take some time to explore the creek along the western edge of the park, the marshy spot near Estes Drive at the southern end, and trees downed by Hurricane Fran located throughout the park.

Located on Library Drive just west of the Estes Drive and Franklin Street intersection.

Parking available in Chapel Hill Library parking lot.

Bus routes M, DM stop at the library.

Drinking water and restrooms available in the Chapel Hill Public Library during the hours that it is open.

Park hours are dawn to dusk.

Dogs on leash permitted.

Bicycles permitted on trails except when trails are wet.

Administered by Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department.


[PDF]   Printable Brochure



A one mile nature trail encircles the park, with two spurs to the library branching off the main trail on the western side. You can access the trail from the parking lot and library as well as from Library Drive. Green and white signs point the way. Proceeding north from Library Drive, the trail ascends gently along the creek until it reaches the footbridge, then rises more sharply as it angles toward Audubon Road. From there it heads southeast over the ridge, crossing an asphalt walkway to enter the eastern side of the park, where it descends gently toward Estes Drive.