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Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park

Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park is a 156-acre preserve in North Raleigh near Falls Lake.  Dr. Wilkerson was a renowned Raleigh physician, who stipulated in her will that the land be donated to create a nature preserve park with the primary purpose being nature and wildlife education.  Her final resting place is in the Historic Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Raleigh.  The city received the property in 2006 and developed the first nature preserve in the park's system.

Contact Information:

5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC 27614

Phone: (919) 996-6764


Wilkerson Preserve is located in North Raleigh near Falls Lake.  From I-540 in North Raleigh, take exit 14 for Falls of Neuse Road.  Go north on Falls of Neuse Road for 1.7 miles and turn left at the light onto Raven Ridge Road.  In 0.3 miles, turn right onto Awls Haven Drive into the park and continue to the parking lot.



There are three loop trails and two short connectors in the preserve, totaling about 2 miles.

Epps Forest Loop:

Length: 0.66 mi
Blaze: Yellow

The Epps Forest Loop is an interpretive trail leading through the forest on the west side of the preserve.  The trail starts southwest of the park office and parking lot and heads into the woods.  The Office Connector splits to the left.  Stay right and hike through a oak-hickory forest.  There are tree identification posts along the trail that are keyed to a brochure available at the office.  About half-way through the loop, the Mountains-to-Sea Connector splits to the left, which leads to the Falls Lake Trail in Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land, part of the statewide MST.  See my Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land for more information on this trail.  The trail then heads out of the woods through an open meadow and ends back near the restroom and office.

Hidden Rocks Loop:

Length: 0.93 mi
Blaze: Yellow

Hidden Rocks Loop is the longest trail in the park.  The trail leads from the east side of the park office into the woods.  The trail crosses a powerline clearing and in about a half-mile, passes some large rock outcrops.  The trail then loops back around passing the powerline clearing again and then terminates at the southeastern end of Pond Loop.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Connector:

Length: 0.12 mi
Blaze: Yellow

Mountains-to-Sea Trail connector leads from Epps Forest Loop to Section 1 of Falls Lake Trail in Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land, a section of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  See my Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land page for more information about this trail.

Office Connector:

Length: 0.16 mi
Blaze: Yellow

Office Connector is a short spur trail that connects the overflow parking to the park office.  The trail passes through an area with fairy houses.

Pond Loop:

Length: 0.57 mi
Blaze: Yellow

Pond Loop is short loop trail around the one-acre farm pond.  There are several benches around the pond to stop and enjoy the view.  The trail starts from the Epps Forest Trail north of park office.  It leads through an open meadow down to the pond.  Hiking in either direction, the trail loops around the pond.  The Hidden Rocks Loop splits off from the southeast end of the loop.

External Links: 

Raleigh Parks & Recreation website: http://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/content/ParksRec/Articles/Parks/AnnieWilkerson.html