Located around the Learning Center building is a diverse network of short and long trails called the Learning Center Habitat Diversity Hiking Trails. The 15 separate trails that make up this trail system are some of the best trails for bird watching on the property and are a feature of the North Carolina Birding Trail. The shortest trail is a mere tenth of a mile, while the longest is 3/4 mile in length.
A diverse group of ecosystems such as bottomland hardwood forest, open fallow fields, mixed pine/hardwood, longleaf and loblolly pine forests, pond, and creek may be visited by walking several of the trails. A 10-foot high observation platform/picnic shelter located on Muir trail offers excellent viewing of a variety of habitats. This trail system is open seven days a week during daylight hours only unless otherwise posted. Maps are located under the porch of the Learning Center building.
There are many miles of more remote and less maintained trails that are available for exploring but require prior staff approval to access. One of these areas is the Fort Island Birding Trail system. This trail system consists of only two trails, but offers excellent viewing access to wet early successional, swamp, forested pond, and rarely visited mixed hardwood/pine forest ecosystems. The total length is less than one mile. To take advantage of these lesser used "pathways to wildlife," contact the Howell Woods Director or Operations Supervisor for a map of these secluded areas.
All trails at Howell Woods are flat and six feet wide. Some are improved dirt or gravel trails while others are mostly mowed natural vegetation. Many may be extremely damp/wet or "soft" depending on weather conditions.
No user fee is charged for trail access. The Habitat Diversity Trail system is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. Other walking trails may be closed during scheduled hunts. Trail status is posted on the information board at the Learning Center.