View peeking through brown tall dry grasses of bird house

Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

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Information Programs and Volunteering Trails Sustainability Shelter Hours Farmhouse Hours
  • Acres 146
  • Carved out by the meandering of the Neuse River, Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve sits on a U-shaped piece of land in northeastern Wake County with exceptional natural and cultural resources. The preserve is a jewel along the Neuse River; a place of great natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and rich heritage.




Park Manager, Chet Clark
Assistant Park Manager, Sara Marschhauser
Assistant Park Manager, Tracy Feldman


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horseshoe Farm Road
Wake Forest, NC 27587




A shot of the trees and open field at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

Surrounded on three sides by the Neuse River, Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve consists of primarily undeveloped pastures and woodland areas.

  • The upland fields were farmed as crops and used as pasture for generations.
  • The floodplain forests adjacent to the Neuse River are designated by the State of North Carolina as a Significant Natural Heritage Area because of the presence of bottomland hardwood forests, wetlands, and a system of natural river levees.
  • The most recent use for the land prior to the City’s 1994 purchase was as a farmhouse and horse pasture. With the help of a grant, the farmhouse was renovated for nature education, temporary office space, and future use for the expansion of interpretive information.

Preserve Rules

  • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets can cause harm to plants, wildlife, and people.
  • Pick up after your pet. We provide dog waste bags in the parking area.
  • Park only in designated parking spots.
  • Stay on the trail. Bicycles are not allowed on the natural surface trail within the park.
  • Operating motorized equipment/toys and organized team play on the field are not allowed.
  • Do not collect or remove plants or animals of any kind.
  • Alcoholic beverages, smoking, geocaching, hunting, off-road vehicles, and personal grills are prohibited.
  • Any commercial film or photography productions taking place in a City of Raleigh Park/Preserve require a film permit. To apply for one, please contact Jennie Saponaro at 919-996-4905 or
  • All City of Raleigh ordinances apply.

Programs and Volunteering

A little boy taking part in a soil demonstration at an event


Sign for ecoEXPLORE on post in nature preserve surrounded by grass and trees

ecoEXPLORE HotSpot

Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve is now an ecoEXPLORE hot spot. ecoEXPLORE is a program where kids grades K–8 can earn prizes and help scientists just by taking photos!

Learn more about ecoEXPLORE and sign up today.


View of green grassy trail with little bunny in path

There are two distinct natural surface trails at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve.

  • The Meadow Loop Trail is approximately .9 miles long and runs along the wood line and the edge of the lower meadow. This trail loops around much of the open space at the preserve.
  • The River Walk Trail is approximately .6 miles long and it takes users through the bottomland hardwood floodplain/levee system, down to the Neuse River, and back to the lower section of the Meadow Loop Trail.
  • A paved connector trail leads to the Neuse River section of the greenway from the preserve’s restroom building.


A shot of a sign that reads "bio-retention basin" at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

Horseshoe Farm's rich natural and cultural resources as well as public input led to the concept of a nature preserve. This concept guided the overall planning principle with the intent to preserve the existing character of the property and minimize the environmental impacts to the site.

The preserve was developed using sustainable practices and was selected by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) to participate in a new program testing the nation’s first rating system for green landscape design, construction, and maintenance. Sustainable features such minimizing site disturbance, eliminating the need to be connected to public utilities, implementing the City's first compost restroom facility, providing on-site stormwater management, protecting wetlands and riparian buffers, using native plants, regional materials, permeable pavement, and solar lighting are employed at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve. We are pleased to have earned SITES certification at a two-star rating.

View more information on the Sustainable Sites Initiative.


A side shot of the outdoor shelter with six picnic tables at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
  • First-come, first-serve basis: no reservations taken; small groups and sharing of space encouraged
  • 6 tables; 1 ADA-accessible
  • Individual grills not permitted
  • No electricity
  • Limited trash receptacles; support sustainable practices with reusable utensils and containers; take trash home
  • View other shelter locations


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. Please call the office to confirm the current park closing time.


Farmhouse at horseshoe farm

The Farmhouse is open on the second Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve closing changes monthly. They open daily at 7 a.m. See closing times below.

August 8:30 p.m.
September 8:00 p.m.
October 7:00 p.m.
November 5:30 p.m.
December 5:30 p.m.
January  6:00 p.m.
February 6:30 p.m.
March 7:00 p.m.
April 8:00 p.m.
May 8:30 p.m.
June 9:00 p.m.
July 9:00 p.m.