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Capital Area Greenway

The Capital Area Greenway is a network of open spaces and trails throughout Raleigh.  The concept of a greenway system was conceived in March 1974 as citizens became concerned about over rapid urbanization.  The city developed a Greenway Master Plan and the system was grown slowly and steadily since then.  Currently, there are more than 100 miles of trails in the system.  These trails are available to the public during daylight hours for outdoor recreation, including walking, jogging, bicycling, and fishing.

Directions:

There are too many trailheads and parking lots to give directions to each.  For each trail, I've listed the available parking locations.  The approximate address and GPS coordinates for each are listed to help with directions.

Map:

To keep the map from being cluttered, I put the trails in one layer and the waypoints in another.  Yellow parking icons are for parking lots and blue are for street parking.  Yellow trails are paved and orange trails are unpaved.

Greenway Trails:

Abbotts Creek Trail:

Length: 2.9 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Street parking on Falls River Avenue: (35.91492,-78.57562)
  • Street parking on Walkertown Drive: (35.91370,-78.58771)
  • Street parking on Cub Trail: (35.90521,-78.59406)
  • Street parking on Smith Basin Lane: (35.91236,-78.57612)
  • Street parking on Farmington Grove Drive: (35.91154,-78.58257)
  • Parking lot at Green Hills County Park: (35.90983,-78.57623)
Abbots Creek Trail follows its namesake creek from its confluence with Neuse River to Durant Road.  The eastern trailhead is along Neuse River Trail near mile marker 2.5.  From here, the trail follows leads through a pine forest and open wetlands.  The tall pine trees surrounding an open area is prime habitat for great blue herons.  At a quarter-mile, the trail passes a viewpoint of a heronry.  Great Blue Herons build their nests in the tall trees surrounding the wetlands.  The wetlands provide ample food and and a buffer from human development.  Continuing on, several boardwalks lead over swampy areas in the flood plain of the creek.  The trail returns to asphalt and comes out on Falls River Avenue at 1 mile.  Turn left and follow the sidewalk a short ways to where the trail turns left away from the road.  A spur trail leads to street parking at Farmington Grove.  The trail then passes by two pedestrian entrances to Green Hills County Park at 1.5 miles and between 1.75 and 2 miles.  See my Green Hills County Park page for more information about this park. At two miles the trail reaches Falls River Avenue again.  A spur trail leads straight across the road and follows the powerline clearing to street parking on Walkertown Drive at 2.25 miles.  From Falls River Avenue, the main trail turns left and follows the sidewalk along Falls River Avenue out to Durant Road.  Cross Durant Road at the crosswalk and the turn right to follow the sidewalk to the western trailhead at Cub Trail.

Baileywick Trail:

Length: 0.6 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Baileywick Park: (35.90780,-78.66827)
Baileywick Trail is a short paved trail that leads from Strickland Road north to Baileywick Road, passing through Baileywick Park.  The trail starts at Strickland Road, heading north less than 0.1 miles to a crossing of Davishire Road.  After passing behind some homes, the trail enters Baileywick Park running along the west side of the park and terminating at the park's entrance on Baileywick Road.

Beaver Dam Trail:

Length: 0.8 miles
Surface: Unpaved trail

Parking Access:
  • Street Parking on Banbury Road: (35.90780,-78.66827)
Beaver Dam Trail is a natural surface trail that leads from Devonshire Drive to Wade Avenue.  The northern end is at Devonshire Drive in Windemere Beaver Dam Park.  The trail follows Southwest Prong Beaverdam Creek upstream to Wade Avenue.  The trail follows the sidewalk along Dixie Drive to Wade Avenue.

Birch Ridge Connector:

Length: 0.3 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Birch Ridge Connector is a wide sidewalk along Birch Ridge Drive that leads from Poole Road to Walnut Creek Athletic Complex.

Centennial Bikeway Connector:

Length: 2.3 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Centennial Bikeway Connector is a 2.5-mile trail leading from the North Carolina State Farmers Market through NC State University Centennial Campus.  The building of a church has eliminated part of the trail; where it ends along Centennial Parkway, cross the street and follow Nazareth Street.  Just before Western Boulevard, turn right on Crusader Drive and pick up the greenway trail further down.  The trail follows Western Boulevard towards downtown, ending at Hunt Drive, across from Central Prison.  Rocky Branch Trail intersects at this point.

Crabtree Creek Trail:

Length: 14.6 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot on Lindsay Drive: (35.84172,-78.70562)
  • Street parking on Alamance Drive: (35.83587,-78.66241)
  • Parking lot at North Hills Park: (35.83791,-78.65829)
  • Street parking on North Hills Drive: (35.83979,-78.66981)
  • Parking lot on Century Drive: (35.83832,-78.67249)
  • Parking lot at Crabtree View: (35.83738,-78.67392)
  • Parking lot at Crabtree Valley Mall: (35.83628,-78.67627)
  • Parking lot on Anderson Point Drive: (35.77494,-78.54315)
  • Parking lot at Anderson Point Park: (35.77250,-78.54204)
  • Parking lot at Lassiter Mill: (35.82633,-78.65012)
  • Street parking on Claremont Road: (35.82135,-78.63511)
  • Parking lot at Kiwanis Park: (35.81524,-78.63106)
  • Parking lot on Crabtree Boulevard: (35.80372,-78.61042)
  • Street parking on Crabtree Boulevard: (35.79468,-78.59838)
  • Street parking on Milburnie Road: (35.78788,-78.59068)
  • Parking lot on Galax Drive: (35.84451,-78.69327)
  • Parking lot on Glenwood Avenue: (35.84499, -78.69189)
  • Street parking on Alleghany Drive: (35.83227,-78.65708)
  • Street parking on Hertford Street: (35.82762,-78.65401)
  • Street parking on Rothgeb Drive: (35.82126, -78.64216)
  • Street parking on Marlowe Road: (35.82310,-78.63995)
  • Street parking on Oxford Road: (35.81952,-78.63332)
  • Street parking on Ratchford Drive: (35.81206,-78.61067)
  • Street parking on Crabtree Boulevard: (35.79546,-78.59908)
Crabtree Creek Trail follows its namesake creek from its confluence with Neuse River to Lindsey Drive in northwest Raleigh.  The trail starts at Anderson Point Park near the confluence and passes under Rogers Lane and US-264 in the first half-mile.  In about 1.5 miles, the trail passes under New Hope Road and then crosses the creek shortly after.  After 2 miles, the trail runs under I-440 and crosses Crabtree Creek again just before 3 miles.  The trail runs under New Bern Avenue after 3.25 miles and then comes out on Milburnie Road.  Turn right and follow the sidewalk a short ways and then right back onto greenway trail.  After 4.5 miles, the trail comes out at Crabree Boulevard and then runs through a wooded area on a particularly scenic stretch of Crabtree Creek.  Cross Raleigh Boulevard before 6.25 and then follow a long boardwalk over a beautiful wetland area.  It's easy to forget how close you are to major highways here.


After 6.75 miles, there is a tunnel under Capital Boulevard and then a long bridge structure along a bluff above the creek.  The trail crosses Atlantic Avenue after 7.5 miles, goes under a railroad bridge and then under Wake Forest Road after 8 miles.  There is a bridge across the creek and a connector trail to Kiwanis Park before 8.5 miles.  At Oxford Road, turn right on the sidewalk and cross Anderson Drive at 8.75 miles and the trail picks back up off Claremont Road, where parking is available.  Short connector trails lead to Marlowe Road and Rothgeb Drive before 9.5 miles.  At Lassiter Mill Road, turn right on the sidewalk then cross at the crosswalk.  Past the school turn right back onto greenway for a short ways, then right again on Northampton after 10.25 miles.  Follow the sidewalk and bear left on Hertford Street.  Between 10.5 and 10.75, turn right on the natural surface trail that descends to the creek and turns back to paved trail shortly.  The trail passes under Yadkin Drive and then under I-440 at 11.5.  A connector trail on the right leads to North Hill Park.  Mine Creek Trail splits to the left shortly after.  The trail then follows the creek closely to Glenwood Avenue and Crabtree Valley Mall.  This area is prone to frequent flooding.


The trail leads along a sidewalk adjacent to Crabtree Valley Mall at mile 13 and then goes under Creedmoor Road.  Crossing the creek one last time, the trail currently ends at Lindsey Drive after mile 14.5.  The trail will eventually be extended and follow the creek all the way to William B. Umstead State Park.

East Fork Mine Creek Trail:

Length: 2.5 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Street parking on Bent Creek Drive: (35.87413,-78.64742)
  • Parking lot at West Millbrook Middle School: (35.89401,-78.63166)
East Fork Mine Creek Trail follows its namesake creek from the confluence with Mine Creek north to Strickland Road.  The southern terminus is along Mine Creek Trail at the points where it changes from paved to unpaved north of Lynn Road.  The trail follows the creek a short ways and comes out on Longstreet Drive before 0.5 miles.  Turn right and follow the sidewalk to the intersection with Six Forks Road and turn left again.  Follow the sidewalk on the west side of Six Forks Road up to the stoplight at Newton Road after 0.75 miles and cross using the crosswalk.  Follow the sidewalk on the north side of Newton Road a short ways and pick up the greenway trail again to the left before 1 mile.  The trail continues to follow East Fork Mine Creek before crossing Old Deer Trail at 1.75 miles.  The greenway portion then soon comes to an end where it meets Clear Brook Drive before 2 miles.  Turn left and follow the sidewalk to Mourning Dove Road and turn left again.  Walk to the first intersection and turn right on Running Cedar Trail before 2.25 miles.  Follow to the end at Strickland Road and turn right.  The northern terminus is across the pedestrian crosswalk a just ahead on the north side of Strickland Road at 2.5 miles.

Edwards Mill Connector:

Length: 1.3 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at PNC Arena: (35.80089,-78.72545)

Edwards Mill Connector is a sidewalk trail that follows its namesake road.  The trail begins at the intersection of Edwards Mill and Trinity Road and heads north.  Use care when crossing at the Wade Avenue Interchange and be sure to use the crosswalk.  The trail ends at Reedy Creek Road with access to Reedy Creek Trail.

Gardner Street Trail:

Length: 0.7 miles
Surface: Unpaved trail

Parking Access:

  • Street parking on Gardner Street: (35.79893,-78.66713)
  • Street parking on Gardner Street: (35.79159,-78.66962)
Gardner Street Trail is a natural surface trail that leads from Jaycee Park to Isabella Cannon Park.  The northern end is at Jaycee Park off Wade Avenue and follows Gardner Street and Southeast Prong Beaverdam Creek south.  The trail crosses Winterbury Court and Ashley Court then crosses the creek.  After crossing Mayview Road, the trail follows along Fairall Drive.  Cross Van Dyke Avenue and pick up the sidewalk on Gardner Street to the southern terminus at Isabella Cannon Park and the Rose Garden and Little Theater.

Hare Snipe Creek Trail:

Length: 2.3 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Lake Lynn Community Center: (35.88849,-78.69804)
  • Parking lot at Lake Lynn Dam: (35.87245,-78.69786)
  • Street parking on Glenharden Drive: (35.88271,-78.70188)
  • Parking lot at Wooten Meadow Park: (35.86196,-78.69520)

Hare Snipe Creek Trail leads from Wooten Meadow Park on Millbrook Road to Lake Lynn Park and Community Center on Ray Road, roughly following Hare Snipe Creek upstream.  From the southern trailhead at Wooten Meadow Park, the trail follows Leesville Road heading north to Lynn Road.  Initially, the trail follows left (west) side of Leesville Road along the sidewalk.  At the intersection with Ray Road, use the crosswalk to cross Leesville Road and continue to follow the sidewalk on the east side of the street.  At Lynn Road, cross at the crosswalk and turn right to follow the sidewalk on the north side of Lynn Road to Lake Lynn Park.  Turn left to enter the park and follow the Lake Lynn Trail along the west side of the lake.  See my Lake Lynn page for more description of this section of the trail.  At the northern end of the lake, turn left again to follow the connector trail to Lake Lynn Community Center and the northern terminus of the trail.

Honeycutt Creek Trail:

Length: 3.8 miles
Surface: Paved and unpaved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Honeycutt Park: (35.90409,-78.62498)
  • Parking lot at West Millbrook Middle School: (35.89401,-78.63166)
Honeycutt Creek Trail is a paved and unpaved trail following its namesake creek from Raven Ridge Road to Strickland Road.   The trail ends at Raven Ridge Road near the western trailhead for Section 1 of Falls Lake Trail, part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  This unpaved section, which is a little over a mile and a half, runs through game land where hunting is seasonally permitted.  The city has provided orange vests during hunting season for hikers along this section.  The unpaved section ends at the intersection of Durant and Honeycutt Roads.  The trail follows Honeycutt Road southbound on the east side of the road.  At the intersection with Loniker Drive, the trail crosses Honeycutt Road and continues along the opposite side to Honeycutt Park.  The trail winds around the park and then switchbacks down to a tunnel below I-540.  Past the tunnel, the trail passes a small pond in a neighborhood and crosses Chatterson Drive.  From here the trail follows the sidewalk along Carriage Tour Lane to Strickland Road.  Turn right to lead to the end of the trail at the pedestrian crossing of Strickland Road.  East Fork Mine Creek Trail picks up on the other side.

House Creek Trail:

Length: 2.8 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Crabtree Valley Mall: 4121 Blue Ridge Road (35.83628,-78.67627)
  • Parking lot on Glen Eden Drive: 1510 Glen Eden Drive (35.82706,-78.68497)
  • Parking lot on Eden Croft Drive: 3705 Eden Croft Drive (35.82895,-78.68466)
  • Parking lot on Horton Street: 3501 Horton Street (35.81146,-78.69106)
House Creek Trail is a roughly 3-mile trail that follows its namesake form the confluence with Crabtree Creek to Reedy Creek Trail at Wade Avenue, roughly following I-440.  The trail begins as a split from Crabtree Creek Trail at the southeastern corner of Crabtree Valley Mall by the McDonald's.  The trail follows the sidewalk along Blue Ridge Road a short ways before crossing and entering Marshall Memorial Park.  After passing through the park and past some apartments, the trail leads through Glen Eden Park.  At Glen Eden Drive, turn left and follow the sidewalk across the bridge over I-440 and then take the tunnel to pass under Glen Eden Drive.  The trail continues following House Creek upstream, passing the area where the first section of the Capital Area Greenway was built and then running through a tunnel underneath Lake Boone Trail.  Just after the tunnel, where the trail cuts to the right and a small tributary flows under the trail and into House Creek.  Normally, it's barely a wet rock, but in high water, it's a nice waterfall, considering it's inside the beltline.  The trail then comes out on Horton Street and follows the sidewalk past some new developments.  Where the road turns to the left, the trail goes straight a little ways further.  House Creek flows under I-440; the trail departs from the creek and heads up to intersect Reedy Creek Trail, just east of the pedestrian bridge over the interstate.

Lake Johnson East Loop:

Length: 2.8 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Lake Johnson Waterfront Program Center: (35.76289, -78.71384)
  • South parking lot at Lake Johnson: (35.75861, -78.71690)
  • Parking lot at Lake Johnson Dam: (35.76311, -78.70402)
Lake Johnson East Loop is a 3-mile paved trail around the east side of Lake Johnson.  The trail connects to Lake Johnson Park and Lake Johnson Nature Preserve.  The north side of the loop is part of the Walnut Creek Trail, which extends east to Neuse River Trail.  See my Lake Johnson page for more information.

Lake Johnson West Loop:

Length: 2.1 miles
Surface: Unpaved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Lake Johnson Waterfront Program Center: (35.76289, -78.71384)
  • South parking lot at Lake Johnson: (35.75861, -78.71690)
  • Parking lot at Athens Drive High School: (35.76953, -78.71738)
Lake Johnson West Loop is a 2-mile unpaved trail around the west side of Lake Johnson.  The trail connects to Lake Johnson Park and Lake Johnson Nature Preserve.  The north side of the loop is part of the Walnut Creek Trail, which extends east to Neuse River Trail.  See my Lake Johnson page for more information.

Lake Lynn Loop:

Length: 1.9 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot at Lake Lynn Community Center: (35.88849,-78.69804)
  • Parking lot at Lake Lynn Dam: (35.87245,-78.69786)
  • Street parking on Glenharden Drive: (35.88271,-78.70188)

The Lake Lynn Loop is a 2-mile boardwalk and paved greenway trail around Lake Lynn in North Raleigh.  The trail connects to Lake Lynn Park and Community Center at the north end of the lake and connects to Hare Snipe Creek Trail at the south end of the lake.  See my Lake Lynn page for more information.

Little Rock Trail:

Length: 1.6 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:
  • Parking lot on MLK Boulevard: (35.76929,-78.63311)
  • Parking lot on Chavis Way: (35.77080,-78.63019)
  • Street parking on E Davie Street: (35.77541,-78.63161)
  • Parking lot at Walnut Creek Wetlands Center (35.76060,-78.62560)
Little Rock Trail is a 1.6 mile paved trail that leads from Walnut Creek Wetland Center north to downtown, following Little Rock Creek.  From the Wetland Center, cross Peterson Street and follow the trail as it curves to the left.  A short connector leads to McMakin Street on the left and then the main trail crosses E Bragg Street.  At 0.75 miles, the trail crosses MLK Boulevard and leads through Chavis Park.  After crossing Lenoir Street, the trail follow a sidewalk on the east side of Chavis Way heading north and ending at E Hargett Street.

Mine Creek Trail:

Length: 4.1 miles
Surface: Paved and unpaved trail

Parking Access:

  • Street parking on Bent Creek Drive: (35.87413,-78.64742)
  • Parking lot at Sertoma Art Center: (35.85844,-78.66537)
  • Parking lot at Shelley Lake Dam: (35.85640,-78.66225)
  • Street parking on Stannard Trail: (35.84718,-78.66621)
  • Street parking on North Hills Drive: (35.84803,-78.66011)
  • Street parking on North Hills Drive: (35.84257,-78.66188)
  • Parking lot at North Hills Park: (35.83791,-78.65829)
  • Street parking on Lakeway Drive: (35.86381,-78.66084)
  • Street parking on Rushingbrook Drive: (35.86486,-78.66570)
  • Street Parking on North Hills Drive: (35.86439,-78.65413)
Mine Creek Trail is a 4.1 mile trail that follows Mine Creek from its confluence at Crabtree Creek to Sawmill Road.  The trail begins at Crabtree Creek Trail just north of I-440 near Crabtree Valley Mall.  Following Mine Creek north, the trail comes to a road crossing at North Hills Drive.  Across the street, the trail picks back up running behind homes along the creek.  This section, from Crabtree Creek to Shelley Lake, was formerly called Ironwood Segment.  The trail leads under Millbrook Road and turns to the right to follow the eastern shore of Shelley Lake north.  See my Shelley Lake page for more description of this section of the trail.  Near the northern end of the lake, Snelling Branch Trail splits to the right.  When the trail reaches the northern end of the lake, turn right to stay on Mine Creek Trail, where left continues around Shelley Lake.  This section of trail was formerly called Bent Creek Segment.  The trail leads through a tunnel under North Hills Drive and then again under Lynn Road before reaching a fork.  The right fork is East Fork Mine Creek Trail.  Bear left to stay on Mine Creek Trail, which is unpaved for the remainder.  There are some scenic granite outcrops along this section.  The northern trailhead is at Sawmill Road.  The unpaved section was formerly called Sawmill Segment.

Neuse River Trail:

Length: 27.5 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot on Falls of Neuse Road: (35.93935,-78.57857)
  • Parking lot on Buffaloe Road: (35.84792,-78.53095)
  • Parking lot on Anderson Point Drive: (35.77494,-78.54315)
  • Parking lot at Anderson Point Park: (35.77243,-78.54257)
  • Parking lot on Poole Road: (35.75466,-78.53377)
  • Parking lot at Milburnie Park: (35.80136,-78.54105)
  • Parking lot on Abington Lane: (35.81591,-78.54312)
  • Parking lot at Old Milburnie Dam: (35.79858,-78.53926)
  • Parking lot on Falls River Avenue: (35.92854,-78.55924)
  • Parking lot on Bedfordton Drive: (35.92042,-78.55975)
  • Street parking on Myakka Court: (35.88965,-78.54037)
  • Street parking on River Edge Rive: (35.84121,-78.53373)
  • Street parking on Stamford Green Drive: (35.77664,-78.53014)
  • Parking lot on Auburn Knightdale Road: (35.72542,-78.51518)
  • Parking lot on Mial Plantation Road: (35.70443,-78.47731)
  • Parking lot on Trailhead Lane: (35.87663,-78.53474)
  • Parking lot at Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center: (35.83810,-78.53543)
  • Parking lot at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve: (35.88749,-78.53366)
  • Parking lot on Thornton Road: (35.90184,-78.54039)
Neuse River Trail, at 27.5 miles, is the longest trail in the Capital Area Greenway.  The entire trail is a part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail and part of the trail is also part of the East Coast Greenway.  The trail begins at the Falls Lake Dam and the MST continues westbound along Falls Lake Trail.  The Neuse River is the longest river in North Carolina at more than 240 miles.  The word Neuse comes from the Neusiok Native American tribe that once inhabited Eastern North Carolina.  After Raleigh, the river flows through Smithfield, Goldsboro, Kinston, and New Bern before emptying into Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  The Neuse starts at the confluence of the Eno and Flat Rivers in northeast dinner, which is now the northwest corner of Falls Lake.  The lake was formed by the construction of the Falls Lake Dam, completed in 1981.  Managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, this reservoir is the primary drinking water supply for the city of Raleigh.


From the dam, the Neuse River Trail immediately passes under (Old) Falls of Neuse Road on the south side of the river, following it downstream in a westerly direction.  Trailhead parking is just after 0.25 miles.  At a half-mile, the trail passes under (New) Falls of Neuse Road.  Short connectors connect to the road on both sides, but there is no parking along Falls of Neuse.  A connector trail leads to Falls River Avenue between 1.25 and 1.5 miles, and another leads to a parking lot on Falls River Avenue just after 1.5 miles.  The trail curves to the right and follows the river in a southerly direction after 1.75 miles with homes in the Bedford subdivision to the right.  The trail passes through the Neuse River floodplain in this area.  The houses visible from the trail are clearly elevated relative to the trail.  Trees and other vegetation in the floodplain provide an important role in filtering runoff from all the development in the area.  Just before 2.75 miles, a connector trail leads to parking on Bedfordton Drive and another leads to Grassy Creek Place just after 2.75 miles.  Abbotts Creek Trail splits to the right just before 3 miles.  The trail passes underneath a railroad bridge just before 3.5 and then under Capital Boulevard/US-1 just after, with a connector leading to parking on Thornton Road before 4.5 miles.  After 4.5 miles, the river makes a sharp bend and has formed an oxbow.  This is a nice spot to go down to the river.


Before reaching 5 miles, a connector on the right leads to Smith Creek Trail, part of the Wake Forest Greenway.  A connector trail on the right leads to Myakka Court after 6.25 miles and the trail then passes by WRAL Soccer Center after 6.5 miles.  Shortly before 8 miles, a connector trail on the right leads across the river to Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve and then then trail passes under Louisburg Road/US-401.  A connector to parking at Trailhead Lane is before 8.75 miles and the trail passes under I-540 before 10.5 miles.  Before 11 miles, the trail passes under Buffaloe Road, with a parking area and canoe launch just after.  At 11.5 miles, a connector on the right leads to Buffaloe Road Athletic Park and Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center.  The trail crosses the river here and leads through a scenic area of wetlands.


The trail crosses the river once again at mile 13.5 and a connector leads to parking on Abington Lane.  Before 14.75, a spur leads to parking at Milburnie Park and at 15 miles, a bridge crosses the river below Old Milburnie Dam, which was removed in winter 2017.  The trail passes under New Bern Avenue/US-64 after 15.5 miles and then towards Anderson Point Park.  A trail to the left leads to Mingo Creek Trail, part of the Knightdale greenway system.  After crossing US-264 in Anderson Point Park, Crabtree Creek Trail splits to the right.  After mile 19, there is parking at Poole Road and a canoe launch.  Walnut Creek Trail splits off after 19.25 miles.  Just before 22 miles is a small parking lot on Auburn-Knightdale Road.  The trail then departs from the river for a while as it goes around the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Before 26.5 miles, the trail passes parking at Mial Plantation Road and ends at the Johnston County line at 27.5 miles.  The trail continues as Clayton's Neuse River Walk.

Reedy Creek Trail:

Length: 5.0 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at NC Museum of Art: (35.80978,-78.70478)
Reedy Creek Trail is a 5-mile paved trail leading from Umstead State Park to Meredith College.  The trail starts at the southeastern corner of the Umstead (See my William B. Umstead State Park page for more information) and follows Reedy Creek Road southeast.  In under a mile, the trail intersects Richland Creek Trail where right goes into Schenck Forest (See my Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest page for more information) and left goes back to Umstead.  At the intersection of Reedy Creek Road and Edwards Mill Road, turn right to cross Reedy Creek Road and go under Edwards Mill Road through a pedestrian tunnel.  Back at Reedy Creek Road, turn right to continue following the road, now on the south side of the street.  At Blue Ridge Road, cross in the crosswalk and turn right to walk along the NC Museum of Art parking lot.  At the end of the parking lot, turn left and go through the museum grounds and then cross I-440 on the pedestrian bridge.  Just after the bridge, House Creek Trail splits to the left.  The trail turns right and a connector leads to Ridge Road at Wade Avenue.  Pass through the tunnel under Wade Avenue and pass through Meredith College campus.  The trail bears left to lead along Hillsborough Street and ends at the intersection with Gorman Street.  Rocky Branch Trail picks up along Gorman Street.

Richland Creek Trail:

Length: 3.1 miles
Surface: Unpaved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at PNC Arena: 10 RBC Center Road (35.80089,-78.72545)
Richland Creek Trail is a 3-mile trail that follows its namesake from near the PNC Arena to Umstead State Park.  The trail begins at the Greenway parking on E. Stephen Shroud Way near the arena.  In a short ways, the trail passes under Edwards Mill Road and then through a much longer tunnel under Wade Avenue.  This tunnel is always wet and floods after a heavy rain.  On the other side of the tunnel, you'll need to use a rope to scale across the concrete wall to get to the other side of Richland Creek (see the photo below).  Once across, turn left and follow the creek downstream, entering Schenck Forest (See my Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest page for more information).  This area is owned by NC State University as a teaching and research forest, but the public is allowed to hike through.  Dogs and bicycles are prohibited, however.  The trail runs through the forest for about 1.5 miles, always staying close to the creek.  As a floodplain, this area is often very muddy.  Once through the forest, you'll come to Reedy Creek Road.  Cross the street and turn right, following Reedy Creek Trail a short ways, then turn left to head back into the woods.  Running behind some houses and along the shore of a lake on Richland Creek.  Past the dam, turn left to head down past the outflow from the lake and turn right to head back into the woods.  The trail ends at the boundary to Umstead State Park (See my William B. Umstead State Park page for more information).  The trail continues as Loblolly Trail in the park.

Rocky Branch Trail:

Length: 3.8 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot on South Boylan Avenue: (35.77111,-78.65317)
  • Parking lot at Pullen Park: (35.77894,-78.66272)
Rocky Branch is an almost 4-mile paved trail following its namesake creek through downtown Raleigh.  The trail starts at the intersection with Walnut Creek Trail near Eliza Pool Park.  Following Rocky Branch upstream, the trail crosses Fayetteville Road and through a tunnel under South Dawson/McDowell Street.  It then crosses South Saunders Street and runs roughly parallel to Western Boulevard.  At Hunt Drive, cross Western Boulevard near Central Prison and follow the street on the opposite side.  Centennial Bikeway Connector is across the street on the south side.  After crossing Ashe Avenue, the trail runs along Pullen Park and then heads through the campus of NC State University.  At Dan Allen Drive, the trail follows Sullivan Drive on the north side of the street to Gorman Street.  Cross Gorman and follow the sidewalk to Hillsborough Street at the trail's terminus.  Reedy Creek Trail is across the street.

Shelley Lake Loop:

Length: 2.1 miles (loop)
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at Sertoma Art Center: (35.85844,-78.66537)
  • Parking lot at Shelley Lake Dam: (35.85640,-78.66225)
  • Street parking on Lakeway Drive: (35.86381,-78.66084)

The Shelley Lake Loop is a 2-mile boardwalk and paved greenway trail around Shelley Lake.  The trail connects to Shelley Lake and Sertoma Art Center Park, as well as connections to Mine Creek Trail and Snelling Branch Trail.  See my Shelley Lake page for more information.

Simms Branch Trail:

Length: 1.7 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Street Parking on Cub Trail: (35.90521,-78.59406)
  • Street Parking on Hiking Trail: (35.89838,-78.58760)
  • Parking lot at Durant Nature Preserve: (35.89510,-78.57918)
  • Parking lot at Durant Middle School: (35.90352,-78.58662)
Simms Branch Trail is a paved trail that follows its namesake from Durant Nature Park to Abbotts Creek Trail at Cub Trail.  The trail starts along Simms Branch east of Durant Nature Preserve and follows the creek upstream.  See my Durant Nature Preserve for more information.  In a quarter-mile, the trail crosses Camp Durant Road at the north entrance to Durant Nature Preserve.  The trail continues following the creek upstream on the north side and crosses Hiking Trail at 1 mile, where street parking is available.  At 1.25 miles, the trail passes behind Durant Middle School and a small waterfall (more like a cascade) is on the creek right off the trail.  The trail ends at Cub Trail after 1.7 miles from the trailhead.  Abbotts Creek Trail picks up and follows Durant Road southeast.

Snelling Branch Trail:

Length: 0.8 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at Optimist Park: (35.86409,-78.64779)
  • Street Parking on Dixon Drive: (35.86314,-78.65236)
  • Street Parking on North Hills Drive: (35.86439,-78.65413)
Snelling Branch Trail is a paved trail that runs from Shelley Lake to Optimist Park.  The trail starts on Shelley Lake Loop/Mine Creek Trail at the northeastern part of the loop.  From here, it follows Snelling Branch upstream.  In less than a quarter-mile, the trail crosses North Hills Drive and heads back into the woods.  After crossing Snelling Branch, which has very little water unless there's been recent rain, the trail heads up and passes the athletic fields at Optimist Park before reaching the terminus at the parking lot.

Wakefield Trail:

Length: 1.4 miles
Surface: Paved and unpaved trail

Parking Access:

  • Street Parking on Dunard Street: 12405 Dunard St (35.94594,-78.55677)
  • Street Parking on London Bell Drive: 2926 London Bell Drive (35.94850,-78.55633)
Wakefield Trail follows a power line clearing from Dunard Street to Falls of Neuse Road.  The first section from Dunard Street to London Bell Drive is unpaved and somewhat overgrown.  Across London Bell Drive, the trail becomes paved and runs through Wakefield Plantation gold course.  At Wakefield Plantation Drive, cross the street and turn right to follow the sidewalk for a short ways.  Turn left to get back on the greenway trail.  It leads about another half-mile to the terminus at Falls of Neuse Road.

Walnut Creek Trail:

Length: 15.6 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

  • Parking lot at Lake Johnson Waterfront Program Center: (35.76289, -78.71384)
  • South parking lot at Lake Johnson: (35.75861, -78.71690)
  • Parking lot at Lake Johnson Dam: (35.76311, -78.70402)
  • Street parking on Dacian Road: (35.76251,-78.60187)
  • Parking lot at Worthdale Park: (35.76284,-78.58770)
  • Parking lot at Apollo Heights Park: (35.76514,-78.60900)
  • Street parking on Rose Lane: (35.76112,-78.60012)
  • Parking lot at Walnut Creek Wetland Center: (35.76060,-78.62560)
  • Parking lot at Eliza Pool Park: (35.75975,-78.64392)
  • Parking lot at State Farmers Market: (35.76257,-78.66359)
  • Parking lot on Bethel Road: (35.74971,-78.56475)
Walnut Creek Trail is a 15-mile trail following its namesake from the confluence with Neuse River to Lake Johnson.  The trail begins at Neuse River Trail near mile post 19.25 and goes under Neuse River Trail and then under Barwell Road.  Just before 2.5 miles, the trail passes under New Hope Road.  Before 3.5 miles, the trail passes under I-440 and leads through Walnut Creek Athletic Complex.  After crossing Sunnybrook Road, the trail leads through Worthdale Park and then along a sidewalk on Little John Road.  Near mile 6, the trail passes Apollo Heights Park.  The trail then passes through extensive wetlands and leads to Walnut Creek Wetland center at mile 7.25.  Little Rock Trail starts across Peterson Street.  After 8 miles, the trail crosses Wilmington Street and there are nice views of the Raleigh skyline.


Before mile post 9, Rocky Branch Trail splits to the left and then the trail passes Eliza Pool Park, crossing under South Saunders Street before 10 miles.  At 10.5 miles, a connector trail leads to the State Farmers Market and Centennial Bikeway Connector.  The trail then enters NC State's Centennial Campus.  Around mile 12, the trail passes by Lake Raleigh.


After leaving Centennial Campus, the trail follows the sidewalk on Avent Ferry Road for a short ways, then turn left on Trailwood Drive and the trail picks up across the bridge.  After crossing Gorman Street at 13.5 miles, the trail leads to Lake Johnson at mile 14.  Turn right to lead through the parking lot at the dam and pick up Lake Johnson East Loop, following the north shore of the lake.  At the waterfront center, cross Avent Ferry Road to follow the Lake Johnson West Loop across the rest of the north shore.  The trail ends after 15.5 miles at the northwest corner of Lake Johnson.

Wildlife:

Birds:

The forests, creeks, wetlands, and lakes protected by the greenway system provide habitat for a variety of birds, from small songbirds to majestic eagles.  In spring 2018, a pair of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) built a nest in the trees near Shelley Lake.  The nest was visible from Shelley Lake Loop and Mine Creek Trail.

Mammals:

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are common throughout Raleigh and can often be seen along the greenway trails.  Living in an urban environment, they've lost their fear of humans.  Please don't make it worse by feeding them.

Sunflowers:

While the sunflowers are not wild, they do put on quite a show towards the end of June and early July.  Raleigh used to plant them along the Neuse River Trail near Raleigh's Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant at the southeastern end near the Johnston County line.  Biosolids, the residual solid matter after wastewater treatment, are disposed of by application to nearby fields.  To prevent run off, sunflowers are planted in the biosolids and the seeds are harvested to produce biofuelds.  The sunflower field was fenced off, but people still jumped the fence to take photos.  2017 was the last year the city planted them here; now soybeans are planted in the biosolids.


In 2018, the city moved the sunflower field to Dorothea Dix Park.  Parking for the sunflowers is off Hunt Drive or you can hike to it along Rocky Branch Trail.

Blog Entries:

08-Jul-2018 - Sunflowers at Dorothea Dix

18-Nov-2017 - Milburnie Dam Removal

08-Jul-2017 - Sunflowers on the Neuse

25-Apr-2017 - Waterfall in Raleigh!

External Links:

City of Raleigh website: http://www.raleighnc.gov/arts/content/PRecDesignDevelop/Articles/CapitalAreaGreenwayTrailSystem.html