We invite you to share this special place in the heart of Rockingham County, North Carolina.
On the property belonging to the NC Upper Piedmont Research Station, the 1.7-mile loop winds through old-growth forest, skirts two ponds, and follows the fence lines of pastures where a prized Black Angus herd grazes. Crops are tested in fields alongside farm roads once used as carriage trails by the wealthy owners of Chinqua-Penn Plantation. Remnants of their lavish parties linger in structures built of locally quarried stone. Many birds, insects, amphibians, and small mammals call this home.
The Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail is part of the NC Birding Trail, with over 150 species identified. The varied habitat attracts woodland birds, such as warblers and woodpeckers; grassland birds, such as meadowlarks, bluebirds, and hawks; and waterfowl, such as herons, kingfishers, and geese.
Numerous wildflowers abound, including mountain laurel beside Lake Betsy, rhododendron along the woodland trail, and springtime flowers at the Summer House. Bamboo hides the lower quarry at the Rock Dam and shades Little Niagara, a tiny waterfall on Betsy Branch.