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American Tobacco Trail

The American Tobacco Trail is a rails-to-trails project in Durham, Chatham, and Wake Counties.  The trail follows the abandoned rail corridor of Norfolk Southern Railroad, which was used to ship tobacco from farms to the American Tobacco Company in Durham for processing.  The abandoned rail line was identified as an opportunity for a recreational trail and the Triangle Rails to Trails Conservancy was formed in 1989.

6.5 miles of the trail is located in southwestern Wake County and this portion is managed by Wake County Parks and Recreation.  The 4.5 miles of trail in Chatham County is managed by the Town of Cary.  The remaining portion in Durham County is managed by the City of Durham.

Contact Information:

1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Road
Apex, NC 27502

Phone: 919-387-2117
Fax: 919-387-4349

Map:

Trails:

American Tobacco Trail:

Length: 22 miles

American Tobacco Trail is a 22-mile rails-to-trails path that follows the abandoned railway that shipped tobacco from farms to be processed at the American Tobacco Company in Durham.  The trail starts right in downtown Durham at the corner of Morehead and Blackwell streets, right across from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  In about two miles, Rocky Branch Trail, part of the Durham greenway system splits off.  At three miles, Riddle Road Spur splits off; see trail description below.  The trail crosses Cornwallis Road just before 3.25 miles and shortly after, an old tobacco barn can be seen between the trail and Fayetteville Road.

The trail crosses MLK Parkway at a crosswalk and then crosses Fayetteville Road between 4 and 4.25 miles.  Solite Park, where parking and restrooms are available, is at 4.25 miles.  The trail continues following Fayetteville Road south, eventually passing behind Southpoint Crossing and crossing I-40 along an impressive pedestrian bridge.  This was the last segment of the trail to be completed.  Across the interstate, the trail runs behind Streets of South Point mall and eventually curving back and passing under Fayetteville Road.  A trail parking is located here.  In about another half-mile, the trail passes Herndon Park where restrooms and parking are available.  The trail crosses Scott King Road and enters Chatham County in about a half-mile.  In Chatham County, parking is available where the trail crosses Pittard Sears Road and New Hope Church Road, the latter also has restrooms.  The trail then passes into Wake County, crossing Morrisville Parkway.  Within a half-mile is the White Oak Church Road parking area.  The trail crosses Green Level Road and then another parking area at Wimberly Road.  Finally, the trail crosses under US-64 through a tunnel and crosses Olive Chapel Road before reaching the southern terminus at New Hill Olive Chapel Road, where there is parking and restrooms.

Eagle Spur:

Length: 2.5 miles

The Eagle Spur follows the original route of the railroad.  When Jordan Lake was constructed the railroad was rerouted to what is now the American Tobacco Trail.  The trailhead is along Stagecoach Road, just west of NC-751.  The trail follows the abandoned railway from Stagecoach Road through Jordan Lake Game Lands and ends at Jordan Lake as the rest of the railway has been flooded.

Riddle Road Spur:

Length: 1.5 miles

This spur trail follows the route of the Riddle Road Spur of the CSX railroad.  Starting from the American Tobacco Trail at the intersection of Fayetteville and Riddle Roads the paved trail follows Riddle Road northeast.  In a quarter-mile, the trail crosses Alfred Road and then crosses to the north side of Riddle Road at 0.5 miles.  After 0.75 miles, the trail crosses NC-55 at a traffic light and then South Alston Street just before 1.25 miles.  The spur ends at South Briggs Avenue at 1.5 miles.

External Links:

Triangle Rails to Trails website: http://www.triangletrails.org/