Plan Your Visit
The Coker Pinetum is a 25-acre nature preserve situated between UNC’s South Campus and the North Carolina Botanical Garden, along the eastern edge of Manning Drive. Through the narrow valley of the Pinetum runs Meeting of the Waters Creek, a first order creek that originates from springs on campus.
A pinetum (pronounced pie-NEE-dum) is a collection of pines or conifers used for their scientific study. UNC professor of botany William Chambers Coker once used the space for teaching and as a living laboratory: some of the remnant trees contain retain resin-tapping scars from the 1940s.
Today, the Pinetum is between two stages of ecological succession – the early successional shortleaf pines for which the preserve is named are now giving way to a canopy of beeches and sycamores.
Coker Pinetum is open dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.
Directions & Parking
You can access the trails of Coker Pinetum from the both the northern and southern ends of the preserve.
You can reach the southern entrance, off of Fern Lane, by parking at the Garden and crossing Fordham Boulevard at the crosswalk. On weekends, you can also park on the shoulder of Fern Lane. (Note that parking is not permitted on Fern Lane from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.)
The northern entrances to Coker Pinetum start in the parking lot by Boshamer Stadium and off of Ehringhaus Drive on campus. Paid parking is available near the stadium and elsewhere on campus.
Campus to Garden Trail
Length: 1 mile
This trail, along the gravel OWASA easement, is a great option for walking or biking from the Campus to NCBG. Peer down the into the steep slopes of the valley past tall pines to the creek below. In the spring, this cleared corridor boasts impressive wildflower populations.
Creekside Crossings Trail
Length: 3/4 mile
Follow Meeting of the Waters creak as it winds its way through the Pinetum. Make your way between lower-ground canopies of Umbrella tree and pawpaw in the summer and American beech in the winter, to stately oaks and hickories on the higher ground nearer to Campus. This trail has challenging terrain, including moderate scrambling over large downed trees, rockpiles, and deep creek beds.
Use of trails is at your own risk. Common hazards include uneven footing, stinging insects, poison ivy, and the occasional snake. In case of emergency, please call 911.
- Bikes allowed only on the Campus to Garden Trail (the gravel OWASA easement path)
- Keep pets on leash
- Please pick up after your pets
- Stay on the trails
- Do not disturb plants, animals, or fungi
The Coker Pinetum could be thought of as the Coker Arboretum’s less showy sibling. Both were established as teaching laboratories and gardens by William Chambers Coker, Carolina’s first professor of botany. The Coker Pinetum was deeded to the University in 1954, along with land contiguous to the modern-day NCBG display garden. Meeting of the Waters Creek originates from springs on campus, which are now buried by development.