American Tobacco Trail Public Programs

Photo of a park educator with participants in a geocaching program
Park employee leads a geocaching session

The Wake County portion of the American Tobacco Trail offers programs covering nature, history and recreational topics. Public programs are open for registration to the general public.

Program Registration & Reminders

Program Registration

Register for any of our programs by using the button below the program listing to be taken to the registration page on our online registration website. You can also use the button below to search all park programs by location, date and more!

Having trouble registering for a program online?

Contact the park office at 919-387-2117 or email us at [email protected] for assistance.

Important Program Reminders:

  • For Family Programs, every participant must be registered online in advance.
  • "Walk-ups" (those not registered online but show up) may not be able to participate in the program. Register early!
  • Pets are not permitted at programs.
  • If a program has a minimum age, children who do not meet the minimum will not be allowed to participate. Children who do meet the age requirement must have a parent or guardian with them in the program. Age limits are established for safety and program content.

Family Programs

A photo of families listening to an instructor at a Family Program on the American Tobacco Trail

Designed for families to enjoy together, these programs are geared toward all ages, unless a minimum age is specified. For Family Programs, all participants must be registered online in advance.

Our in-person programs are back! Programs will be held outside with limited participant capacity to allow for social distancing. Each family member attending must be registered in our online system.

Preregistration is required and no walk-ups will be accepted. To keep participants and staff as safe as possible, we ask that you:

  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines by sitting at designated seats and/or tables.
  • When possible, avoid sharing supplies with people from different households.
  • Alert staff immediately if you start to feel ill during programming.
     

Participants are encouraged to continue to follow the three W's – Wash your hands often, Wear a face covering, and Wait six feet apart – while participating in park programs.

Geocaching 101 at the ATT
Sunday, Jan. 9, 2–3:30 p.m.

Geocaching is a treasure hunt where participants use GPS coordinates to track down hidden “caches.” We will learn how to use traditional GPS units and the Geocaching app (by Groundspeak) and then find real geocaches hidden along the Trail. Wear closed-toe, comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle. For ages 6 and up. Meet at the White Oak parking area (1305 White Oak Church Road) at the picnic tables.

Nuts About Squirrels
Monday, Jan. 17, 2–3 p.m.

In honor of the upcoming “National Squirrel Appreciation Day,” come learn all about our familiar furry friends! See and touch a real squirrel mount. Learn to spot a squirrel nest and look for squirrels in the trees on a short hike. Nibble on sunflower seeds, which squirrels love. For all ages. Meet at the New Hill parking area (1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Road) at the picnic table at the bottom of the hill.

Great Backyard Bird Count
Friday, Feb. 18–Monday, Feb. 21

Bird watchers of all ages are encouraged to count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are across the globe. For more information, visit birdcount.org. The following programs are offered at  the American Tobacco Trail for this exciting event!

Registration is required for all GBBC participants through our online system. Dress for the weather, bring water, binoculars and bird ID book if you have them, or borrow ours. 

GBBC Bird Walk Along the ATT
Friday, Feb. 18, 8–10 a.m.

As part of our Great Backyard Bird Count Programs, we will observe and count the variety of birds that can be found along the Trail as we walk to the Beaver Creek bridge. Bring your own binoculars if you have them, but we will have pairs available to borrow. Meet at the New Hill parking area at the restroom pavilion.

Cunning Coyotes
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2–3 p.m.

Coyotes are one of the most adaptable animals around and can be found in every county in North Carolina. As successful as they are, they are also elusive and highly misunderstood. Meet a coyote up close with our educational mount and make a coyote track to take home. Meet at the White Oak parking area at the picnic tables.

Full Moon Hike at the ATT
Friday, March 18, 7:30–9 p.m.

Take a moonlit stroll down the Trail to the Beaver Creek Bridge and back, listening and looking for nocturnal animals. We will linger on the bridge to enjoy the wonderful sounds of nature in the spring and play some fun nighttime activities, too. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Flashlights are optional – we will not use them the whole time. Meet at the New Hill parking area at the restroom pavilion.

Salamander Search at the ATT
Monday, March 28, 1:30–3 p.m.

Salamanders are the most secretive of all amphibians, and this just makes them all the more fascinating! Join us as we learn about their interesting life cycle and see some up close as we search the vernal pools along the Trail for eggs & larvae. Meet at the New Hill parking area at the lower picnic table.

Adult & Educator Workshops

Photo of a volunteer educator leading a group of adults in a tree identification program

* We are not offering any Adult & Educator Workshops at this time. Please check the Harris Lake County Park Public Programs page for upcoming virtual opportunities.

The Wake County section of the American Tobacco Trail periodically offers programs and workshops for adults and older teens led by staff or volunteers, most of which are eligible for NC Environmental Education Certification or CEU credits.

Self-Guided Activities

Photo of three GPS units used to locate geocaches during a "Geocaching 101" family program
GPS devices
Geocaching

The hunt is on during this high-tech "treasure" hunting game where park visitors come equipped with GPS devices in search of hidden geocaches! The geocaches located in Harris Lake County Park are hidden containers that have been approved by park staff and placed on park property for your exploration and enjoyment. Geocaches can be of varied sizes and hidden in easy- to difficult-to-find places. Use GPS devices to help find these hidden containers and then record your find on the paper log provided in the geocache. Some geocaches have little items, such as toys and stickers, that you can collect and replenish as you play, so the activity can be a real "treasure hunt." This activity can be self-guided by getting coordinates from Geocaching.com and bringing your own GPS unit, or you can participate in one of our scheduled “Geocaching 101” public programs.

To learn more about geocaching, here is a short introductory video created by Park Manager Christina Hester.

Placing a Geocache
Geocaching on Wake County Park property is handled on a park-by-park basis. To see if geocaching is allowed and what the approval process is for placing a cache, please contact each park directly.

Geocaching is an accepted recreational activity at the Wake County section of the American Tobacco Trail, though at this time, no additional/new geocaches will be approved until further notice. The park maintains a maximum number of caches on park property. Those wishing to establish a new cache must receive approval from the American Tobacco Trail prior to placing a cache. To obtain the approval you must complete and submit a Geocache Placement Request Form to the park office. Please refer to this form for more information.

Park Special Events

Statewide Star Party

Photo of a program participant using a telescope to observe the night sky assisted by a volunteer at the Statewide Star Party event
Star Party participants look at the stars

In April, the Wake County portion of the American Tobacco Trail is a host site for the annual Statewide Star Party, a signature event that is part of the NC Science Festival and supported with generous funding from North Carolina Space Grant. This free family evening program features hands-on activities before the sun goes down, followed by observation of the night sky through telescopes and binoculars on the back field of the White Oak parking area (1305 White Oak Church Road). No preregistration is required!