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Rhododendron Bluff Circuit

MODERATE 85 reviews

Rhododendron Bluff Circuit is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Durham, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.9 miles Elevation Gain: 219 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

washed out

Note: Forest is closed from 9/23 to 12/13/19.

closed
1 month ago

“Forest closed from 9/23 to 12/13/19.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was closed.

hiking
4 months ago

A good walk with mostly gravel path. I love the dirt trails nearest to the creek. The advice below about climbing over the rocks near the creek to continue on the path was essential - thanks!

hiking
rocky
washed out
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

This is an awesome trail. It does appear to end at some rocks by the river but if you climb over them you can see the blazes. Just keep following along the water

9 months ago

it is a great trail with good views of the river and nice walk through the pines. do venture to the top most lookout with great views.

hiking
Thu Oct 18 2018

EDIT Jan. 2019: The trail is open, but there is a flooded area that makes the 2nd half inaccessible. Loved the first half and hoping to go back soon to see the rest once the water goes down! TRAIL/FOREST CLOSED UNTIL END OF DECEMBER 2018. Don’t waste your time and drive out here like we did. :) Will update review once we actually get to try out this trail!

Thu Sep 06 2018

The trail is butterfly shaped. The left wing was not available at New Hope Creek. Bill Watson’s description below is still accurate. Going east to west, the trail is blocked by a big rock at NHC near the intersection with Rhodo Trail.

running
Wed Aug 15 2018

This was my third time. The trail is a bit confusing & you may take a few scenic routes because it is actually parts of trails that are connected. That said, there is tons of wild life! Today we ran into three different kinds of snakes both on the trail & in the water. One of them was a copperhead-we’re still alive! We also saw different colored butterflies; crazy shrooms; & salamanders. The abundantly mossy path lets you know it is sparsely traveled. About halfway through, there are some rocks you can skip and sit in the middle of the creek to stretch and soak the sun. It may only be a handful of rocks to climb over, but for a trail run, it’s the right amount of adventure. The steep gravel road on concrete bridge road is challenging if you’re trying to run. Once you’re over it- your thighs will feel like the most powerful thighs.

walking
Sat Apr 28 2018

Nice moderate walk with nice creek views and a bluff

running
Sun Sep 10 2017

I find it easiest to enter the loop to the right, down slick hill trail. If you cross the creek you can connect to concrete bridge road via hard climb road ...altogether a beautiful run!

hiking
Sat Aug 26 2017

nice once you figure out the parking is on the main road, was really hard to find. after awhile the path narrowed and was a really nice scenic trail. would defenetly go back again!

walking
Mon May 22 2017

Great trail for an afternoon walk with friends

hiking
Sun May 07 2017

Rhododendron Bluff Circuit is two loops. Start down the gravel fire road from Whitfield Road [park along the side of Whitfield Road]. We took the right turn at the Slick Hill Foot Trail which takes you down another gravel fire road through the woods to a single track extension and where the trail becomes really nice, taking you through some dense woods to the bluff area along New Hope Creek. From there you go along a nice trail along the bluff down to the creek, which for us was about a foot above flood stage, plus we could see where the trail had been washed out from prior deluges. We got a good look at a seven foot black snake, and tried to go around the second loop on the Creek Connector trail along the creek but from the creek's edge with the overwash and steep bluff, there didn't seem to be any way to get around the big rock. So we went back up the High & Dry Trail to the Rhododendron Loop trail which got us back to the second gravel fireroad. From there we took the second loop from the gravel road, walking through woods and a couple of open areas and then hitting Concrete Bridge gravel fire road. Going to the right and downhill on the fire road, the road goes down to the Concrete Bridge across the creek. The water level was flowing over the bridge, but we could walk in an inch of water to the other side. Staying on the original side, the loop trail goes back along the creek, although a lot of washout was evident. We finally got back to the part where we couldn't find a way around the big rock and noticed we could climb up and along the bluff and down through the foliage to get back around. So some scrambling involved. But quite an adventure and probably more navigable when the water level is lower. Enjoy this, seems like a popular route!

hiking
Tue May 02 2017

nice easy trail. good to walk or stop and relax by the creek

Sat Apr 29 2017

Beautiful very quiet trail. I went on a gorgeous Saturday morning and despite seeing lots of cars parked nearby, I only passed a few people on the trail. Normally moderate hike except one small area off the river where you have to climb up and over some large rocks. Very tricky but only a small portion. Highly recommended

hiking
Mon Jan 02 2017

This is my favorite trail here in Durham. I especially like to hike it after a nice rainy day. Plenty of different trails all linked together make this a good place to revisit.

Thu Oct 13 2016

I was looking forward to this trail but went on a Thursday in October and tail closed.

running
27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

recorded Recording - Sep 07, 08:34 PM

hiking
2 months ago

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