About Discovery Lake
NIEHS Walking Trails & Distances
Discovery Lake Self-Guided Nature Trail
Take a tour of the Discovery Lake Nature Trail, and learn more about the plants, animals, and history of the lake. Optimized for use on smartphones, so you can bring it with you as you explore.
- Walk from F-Loading Dock North and around Lake - 1.8 miles
- Walk from F-Loading Dock North around EPA and NIEHS paved roads - 2.2 miles
- Walk from F-Loading Dock North to EPA walking trail, down Alexander Drive Trail and back into NIEHS front entrance - 1.92 miles
- Walk from E-Loading Dock to NIEHS front entrance down to Durham Expressway and back - 2.97 miles
- Map of Nature Walk (2MB)
NIEHS and EPA personnel, contractors, their families, and guests are welcome; however, in accordance with NIEHS Security Policy, government employees and on-site contractors must accompany their fishing parties. In addition,
- Discovery Lake access may be limited depending on the COVID-19 Community Level for Durham County
- All persons over 16 who fish must have in their possession a valid North Carolina inland fishing license.
- Guests and children must be accompanied at all times.
- Swimming is not allowed in Discovery Lake.
- Pets, smoking, and open fires are also not allowed.
Fishing can occur along the entire lake shoreline. The Discovery Lake Map Boat Launch (92KB) is available for boat launch sites and fishing registration. However, NIEHS maintains designated fishing areas that are regularly mowed to allow access to the shoreline. These areas are located in the Memorial Gardens and adjacent to Building 101 D-module.
- Daylight hours only
- Weekends and Holidays Sunrise to Sunset
- Monday through Friday 5:00 p.m. to Sunset
Access/Security and Parking
NIEHS Security and Access Policies apply to visitors to Discovery Lake. Cars can be temporarily moved to the boat launching points for unloading and loading boats, but then must be properly parked. Any parking lot can be used, but vehicles must not leave the road or paved parking areas.
Use the lake at your own risk. Contact 919-541-2800 in the event of an emergency. In addition, emergency phones are located outdoors on NIEHS side of Discovery Lake at the locations listed below. These phones automatically dial NIEHS Security Office when the emergency button is pressed.
- North side of Building 101 near F-module
- Lake side of Building 101 between D-module and the fire lane
- South side of Building 101 near the A-module entrance doors
- Along the southern portion of Discovery Lake trail near the central finger
- Along the southern portion of Discovery Lake trail near the Building 104 trail connection
Discovery Lake has become a haven to many species of wildlife.
Nesting waterfowl are a common sight at the lake's edge. Please give wide berth to any nests or creatures which appear to have staked-out a territory.
Curb your curiosity and observe from a safe distance.