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Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land

Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land is a 40,670-acre area surrounding Falls Lake in Wake, Durham and Greenville Counties.  The Falls Lake and the surrounding land is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers, but leased to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission as state game land.  The Falls Lake Trail, a segment of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs along the south shore of the lake and the majority of the trail is within the game land.  As hunters are primary users of the game land, be sure to wear blaze orange while hiking during hunting season.  Additionally, the WRC has four free, 24-hour boat ramps to access the lake.


Falls Lake Trail:

The Falls Lake Trail, a section of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail, is a nearly 60-mile trail that runs along the southern shore of the lake.  The trail is conveniently divided into 23 sections for easy day hiking.  The sections are listed below.  Note that there are different definitions of the sections, so these may be different from what you see on other websites or kiosks at trailheads.  I define a section as part of the trail where you can legally park a car at either end.  If the section of the trail has another name, I try to include that as well.  The trail sections go east to west, starting at the Falls Lake dam in North Raleigh and ending at Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham.

Section 1:

Length: 3.4 miles
East Trailhead: Falls Lake Tailrace Parking on Falls of Neuse Road (35.93992,-78.58070)
West Trailhead: Raven Ridge Road at Honeycutt Creek (35.92844,-78.60581)

Section 1 of the Falls Lake Trail is also called Honeycutt Creek East.  The eastern trailhead is at the Falls Lake Tailrace at Falls Dam located off (Old) Falls of Neuse Road, right before the bridge over Neuse River.  There is a parking lot here as well as restrooms - about the only restrooms you'll find on the trail.  See my Falls Lake page for description of this area.  The Mountains-to-Sea Trail continues in the eastbound direction along the Neuse River Trail, part of the Capital Area Greenway.

The trail starts down a gravel road leading up to the dam and shortly ducks into the woods to the left and then splits.  The Blue-Dot Trail is a spur trail that bypasses the Falls Lake Dam Visitor Center and shaves about a quarter-mile off the hike.  After the split, the trail crosses the Falls Dam Management Road and turns right along another gravel road.  Shortly, the trail turns left into the woods and then crosses the Visitor Center Road.  Turn right here along a paved trail and go down the wooden stairs towards the lake.  From here the trail heads through the woods following the shoreline.  The Blue-Dot Trail joins back up with the main trail after about a mile from the start.  After this point, the trail departs from the shoreline and heads into the woods, crossing several small feeder streams and a utility easement.  In approximately 2.5 miles from the start, a trail to the left goes to Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve, a City of Raleigh Park.  Past here, the trail descends to and crosses a small unnamed tributary on a footbridge and then runs along this tributary as it feeds into Falls Lake.  This area is prone to floowing In less than a mile from here, the trail comes out on Raven Ridge Road and crosses Honeycutt Creek on the road.  Section 2 starts across the causeway.  Honeycutt Creek Trail, part of the Capital Area Greenway, starts across Raven Ridge Road on the east side of the causeway.

Section 2

Length: 2.4 miles
East Trailhead: Raven Ridge Road (35.93039,-78.60755)
West Trailhead: Possum Track Road at Red Fox Run (35.94508,-78.59030)

Section 2 of the trail is also called Honeycutt Creek West.  The eastern trailhead is right at the bridge over Honeycutt Creek along Raven Ridge Road, about 1.2 miles northwest of Falls of Neuse Road.  There is a pulloff on either side of the bridge for hiker parking.  The trail heads into the woods following Honeycutt Creek as it flows into Falls Lake.  The trail follows the shoreline for much of this section, passing behind some very large homes.  In about 1.5 miles, the trail passes an old farm pond on the left. Near the end of this section, the trail comes out on Red Fox Run, a private gravel road, and ends at the dead end of Possum Track Road.

Section 3

Length: 3.0 miles
East Trailhead: Possum Track Road at Red Fox Run (35.94508,-78.59030)
West Trailhead: Possum Track Road (35.95253,-78.61120)

This section is also called Neuse Bend Point.  The eastern trailhead is located at the end of Possum Track Road where it intersects with Red Fox Run, a private gravel road.  There is limited parking at the dead end of Possum Track Road, which once continued further before the lake was constructed.  Red Fox Run is a private road, so please don't park here or trespass on private property.  The trail sets off through the woods and crosses a gated paved road in about a quarter-mile and then heads back into the woods.  The trail has some ups-and-downs heading through forested areas and wildlife clearings.  In about 2.5 miles from the start, the trail passes a big drainage pipe and Possum Track Road can be seen directly above.  The trail parallels the road for the next half-mile, heading up to the road along a concrete culvert right before the road crosses Cedar Creek on a causeway.