Prairie Ridge EcoStation

Map of TRACK Trail through Prairie Ridge Ecostation

The Prairie Ridge EcoStation TRACK Trail is an easy half-mile trail that meanders through a variety of habitats including bottomland forest, prairie grassland, ponds and stream. A diversity of plants, animals and other life can be found among the myriad habitats of this special place.

As early as 1540, explorers reported “savannas” in the Carolina Piedmont. These open expanses were probably the result of lightning fires or of fires set by Native Americans to clear land for planting. Grazing animals such as elk and bison may have also helped maintain the prairies. The many streams and rivers in the Piedmont created natural firebreaks, causing these prairies to be smaller than those in the Midwest. As the Native Americans and grazing animal populations declined, so did the prairies. Remnant prairies are all that are left in North Carolina. Our prairie has been created using native prairie plants.

With the TRACK trail conveniently located near the picnic area, Nature PlaySpace, native plant garden and the outdoor classroom, we offer a variety of ways for visitors to further their exploration of this amazing ecosystem. For a longer adventure, the Reedy Creek Greenway can be accessed half-way around the loop.

Whether you’re hoping to smell the sweet scent of the Purple Passionflower, taste a ripe blackberry, hear the Upland Chorus Frog, see a dragonfly swarm or touch the fluffy seeds of the Common Milkweed, we invite all ages to awaken their sense of wonder discovering Prairie Ridge EcoStation!

Track an adventure here
Collectible sticker for Prairie Ridge

Location Details

Recreational Features: Picnic Tables, Interpretive Programs, Birding, Playground
Amenities: Restrooms
ADA Compliant: No
Seasonality: Open all year
Kids in Parks trailhead sign at Prairie Ridge

Adventures for Prairie Ridge EcoStation

Bilingual Nature's Hide and Seek brochure thumbnail
Hiking

Prairie Ridge: Bilingual Hide and Seek

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
0.50
El Juego Del Escondite En La Naturaleza/Nature's Hide & Seek brochure is designed so that kids of all ages can walk along the trail and discover common things that are often overlooked in nature. Written in both Spanish and English, discover new things hiding in nature with the help of this bilingual brochure.
Bilingual Animal Athletes brochure thumbnail
Hiking

Prairie Ridge: Bilingual Animal Athletes

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
0.50
The Animales Atletas/Animal Athletes adventure challenges kids to exercise with the animals. This bilingual brochure gives kids eight different animal exercises they can do along the trail, written in both English and Spanish. From hummingbird hand-swings to lizard pushups, kids are sure to have fun getting in shape with the animals during their outdoor adventures.
Birds of the Piedmont brochure thumbnail
Hiking

Prairie Ridge: Birds of the Piedmont

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
0.50
The Birds of the Piedmont brochure shows kids where to look for different birds along the trail. The brochure contains illustrations of some of the more common woodland birds and information on how to identify them through various clues.
Need for Trees brochure thumbnail
Hiking

Prairie Ridge: The Need for Trees

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
0.50
By following the picture and textual clues found in "The Need for Trees" brochure, kids will discover six of the more common trees found along the trail. During their adventure, kids will learn about the need that people and other animals have for trees and about the roles trees play in the forest.

Directions

1671 Gold Star Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
Latitude: 35.812408000000
Longitude: -78.714605000000

Partners

The TRACK Trail program is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

The Prairie Ridge EcoStation TRACK Trail was made possible through partnerships formed between the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's Kids in Parks program, Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.