Princeville Heritage Trail

North Carolina

Princeville Heritage Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Edgecombe
Length: 3 miles
Trail end points: S. Main Street and Mutual Boulevard
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Grass
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032589
Trail activities: Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Princeville Heritage Trail Description

In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, freed slaves were drawn to an encampment of Union troops along the Tar River in eastern North Carolina. When the troops left, the settlers stayed, calling the area Freedom Hill. In 1885, they officially chartered the town, renaming it Princeville in honor of its earliest settler, Turner Prince.

The Princeville Heritage Trail, unveiled in 2002, commemorates the historical significance of this oldest city in the United States to have been incorporated by African Americans. The trail runs atop a grassy levee that follows the southern bank of the Tar River, providing scenic views of the waterway.

Less than a half mile from the trail’s western end, the Princeville Museum provides a place to learn about the community’s unique history. Built in 1935, the structure was once a schoolhouse and rests on an even older school site dating back to the late 1800s.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at Princeville Heritage Park (413 Mutual Boulevard) and the Princeville Museum Welcome Center (310 Mutual Boulevard).

Princeville Heritage Trail Reviews

It's on high ground, so the recent rains did not cause any problems. The trail itself is about Jeep width, but it's in a very wide clear path, so it feels very open. There are views of the river, swamps, forest, and train tracks on the ~2 mile trail. (Yes, that's right, it's not really 3 miles. From the museum to the trail, to one end then the other, and back to the museum was 4.53 miles.)

With the unseasonably warm weather recently, the trail could have used a mow. I was almost wishing to be in jeans instead of shorts, but it didn't quite cross the threshold where I wanted to abandon the walk.

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