The Jordan Lake (N.C.) Educational Forest is on the western (Pittsboro) side of the lake off Big Woods Road and showcases hardwoods and pines. Hours are Mon-Fri 9-5, Sat-Sun 11-sunset through Thanksgiving. Call 919-542-1154. Admission is free.
The forest has self-guided tours of multiple short trails (totaling about 4 miles)—Talking Trees, Wetlands, Wildlife, Forest Demonstration. Reservations are needed to use the picnic sites and shelter (for large groups). School classes often visit.