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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:

The following map is incomplete, but has about half of the trails in the entire greenway system, including the Neuse River Trail.  To keep it from being cluttered, I put the trails in one layer and the parking spots in another.  The addresses included come from the brochure and may not be accurate, but the GPS coordinates are.  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: 2090 Falls River Avenue (35.91492,-78.57562)
Street parking on Walkerton Drive: 248 Walkerton Drive (35.91370,-78.58771)
Street parking on Smith Basin Lane: 10016 Smith Basin Lane (35.91236,-78.57612)
Street parking on Farmington Grove: 1540 Farmington Grove Drive (35.91154,-78.58257)

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 past a heronry.  The tall pine trees surrounding an open area is prime habitat for great blue herons.  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.  Turn left and follow the sidewalk a short ways to where the trail turns left away from the road.  The trail runs past two entrances to North Wake Landfill District Park and then comes back out on Falls River Avenue.  Turn left and follow the sidewalk to the intersection at Durant Road.  Cross Durant Road at the crosswalk and turn right to follow the sidewalk to Cub Trail at the western trailhead.

Centennial Bikeway Connector:

Length: 2.3 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at State Farmers Market: 1201 Agriculture Street (35.76194, -78.66304)
Parking lot on South Boylan Avenue: 840 South Boylan Avenue (35.77111,-78.65317)

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.

East Fork Mine Creek Trail:

Length: 2.5 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at West Millbrook Middle School: 8115 Strickland Road (35.89401,-78.63166)
Street parking on Bent Creek Drive: 8000 Bent Creek Drive (35.87413,-78.64742)

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.  Walk along the sidewalk to the intersection with Six Forks Road and turn left.  Follow the sidewalk on the west side of Six Forks Road up to the stoplight at Newton Road and cross using the crosswalk.  Follow the sidewalk on the north side of Newton Road a short ways and pick up the trail to the left.  The trail continues to follow East Fork Mine Creek for about three quarters of a mile before crossing Old Deer Trail.  The greenway portion soon comes to an end where it meets Clear Brook Drive.  Turn left and follow the sidewalk to Mourning Dove Road and turn left.  Walk to the first intersection and turn right on Running Cedar Trail.  Follow to the end at Strickland Road and turn right.  The northern terminus is at the pedestrian crosswalk a short ways ahead.

Hare Snipe Creek Trail:

Length: 2.3 miles (loop)
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at Lake Lynn Community Center: 7921 Ray Road (35.88849,-78.69804)
Parking lot at Lake Lynn Dam: 7370 Leesville Road (35.87245,-78.69786)
Parking lot at Wooten Meadow Park: 2801 W Milbrook Road (35.86196,-78.69520)
Street parking on Glenharden Drive: 7609 Glenharden Drive (35.88271,-78.70188)

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 West Millbrook Middle School: 8115 Strickland Road (35.89401,-78.63166)
Parking lot at Honeycutt Park: 1032 Clear Creek Farm Road (35.90409,-78.62498)

Honeycutt Creek Trail is a paved and unpaved trail following its namesake creek from Strickland Road north to Raven Ridge Road, where the creek flows into Falls Lake.  The trail begins on the sidewalk on the north side of Strickland Road right across from West Millbrook Middle School.  Heading east, turn left on Carriage Tour Land and follow the sidewalk for less than a quarter mile.  Across Chatterson Drive, the trail heads into the woods, leading behind homes and past a pond towards I-540.  There is a tunnel under the interstate and then the trail switchbacks up alongside the interstate and then winds past Honeycutt Park.  Beyond the park, the trail follows Honeycutt Road northbound.  At the intersection with Loniker Drive, the trail crosses Honeycutt and continues along the opposite side of the street to Durant Road.  Across Durant, the trail becomes unpaved for the last mile and a half.  This part of the trail runs through game land where hunting is seasonally permitted.  The city has provided orange vests during hunting season for hikers along this section.  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.

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 Eden Croft Drive: 3705 Eden Croft Drive (35.82895,-78.68466)
Parking lot on Glen Eden Drive: 1510 Glen Eden Drive (35.82706,-78.68497)
Parking lot on Horton Street: 3501 Horton Street (35.81146,-78.69106)

Lake Lynn Loop:

Length: 1.9 miles (loop)
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at Lake Lynn Community Center: 7921 Ray Road (35.88849,-78.69804)
Parking lot Lake Lynn Dam: 7370 Leesville Road (35.87245,-78.69786)
Street parking on Glenharden Drive: 7609 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.

Mine Creek Trail:

Length: 4.1 miles (loop)
Surface: Paved and unpaved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at Shelley Lake Dam: 1140 W Millbrook Road (35.85640,-78.66225)
Street parking on Sawmill Road: 413 Sawmill Road (35.88173,-78.65298)
Street parking on Stannard Trail: 1800 Stannard Trail (35.84718,-78.66621)
Street parking on North Hills Drive: 5109 North Hills Drive (35.84803,-78.66011)
Street parking on North Hills Drive: 4797 North Hills Drive (35.84257,-78.66188)

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 Section.  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.  The trail leads under North Hills Drive and then 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.  The northern trailhead is at Sawmill Road.

Neuse River Trail:

Length: 27.5 miles (loop)
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot on Falls of Neuse Road: 12088 Falls of Neuse Road (35.93935,-78.57857)
Parking lot on Falls River Avenue: 3324 Falls River Avenue (35.92854,-78.55924)
Parking lot on Bedfordton Drive: 10888 Bedfordton Drive (35.92042,-78.55975)
Parking lot on Thornton Road: 6100 Thornton Road (35.90184,-78.54039)
Parking lot at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve: 2928 Horseshoe Farm Rd (35.88749,-78.53366)
Parking lot on Trailhead Lane: 198 Trailhead Lane (35.87663,-78.53474)
Parking lot on Buffaloe Road: 6501 Buffaloe Road (35.84792,-78.53095)
Parking lot at Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center: 5812 Buffaloe Road (35.83810,-78.53543)
Parking lot on Abington Lane: 2800 Abington Ln (35.81591,-78.54312)
Parking lot at Milburnie Park: 5428 Allen Drive (35.80127,-78.54115)
Parking lot on Anderson Point Drive: 22 Anderson Point Drive (35.77494,-78.54315)
Parking lot at Anderson Point Park: 20 Anderson Point Drive (35.77243,-78.54257)
Parking lot on Poole Road: 1721 Riverview Road (35.75458,-78.53375)
Parking lot on Auburn Knightdale Road: 3241 Auburn Knightdale Road (35.72542,-78.51518)
Parking lot on Mial Plantation Road: 6090 Mial Plantation Road (35.70443,-78.47731)
Street parking on Myakka Court: 5956 Myakka Court (35.88965,-78.54037)
Street parking on Buffaloe Road: 5812 Buffaloe Rd (35.84121,-78.53373)

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.

Rocky Branch Trail:

Length: 3.8 miles (One way)
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot on South Boylan Avenue: 840 South Boylan Avenue (35.77111,-78.65317)
Parking lot at Pullen Park: 520 Ashe Avenue (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: 1400 W Millbrook Road (35.85844,-78.66537)
Parking lot at Shelley Lake Dam: 1140 W Millbrook Road (35.85640,-78.66225)
Street parking on Rushingbrook Drive: 6344 Rushingbrook Drive (35.86486,-78.66570)
Street parking on Lakeway Drive: 6320 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:

Parking lot at Durant Nature Preserve: 8555 Camp Durant Road (35.89510,-78.57918)
Parking lot at Durant Middle School: 10401 Durant Road (35.90352,-78.58662)
Street Parking on Cub Trail: 9416 Cub Trail (35.90521,-78.59406)
Street Parking on Hiking Trail: 3000 Hiking Trail (35.89838,-78.58760)

Simms Branch Trail is a paved trail that leads from Abbotts Creek Trail to Durant Nature Preserve.  The trail starts at the intersection of Durant Road and Cub Trail at the western terminus of Abbotts Creek Trail.  Following Simms Branch downstream, the trail passes behind Durant Middle School.  There are some scenic sections along the creek here.  After passing the school, the trail crosses Hiking Trail and continues following its namesake downstream.  On the opposite side of the creek is Durant Nature Preserve.  The trail then crosses Camp Durant Road at the north entrance to Durant Nature Preserve and leads a short ways further to its eastern terminus.

Snelling Branch Trail:

Length: 0.8 miles
Surface: Paved trail

Parking Access:

Parking lot at Optimist Park: 799 Northclift Drive (35.86409,-78.64779)
Street Parking on Dixon Drive: 6190 Dixon Drive (35.86314,-78.65236)
Street Parking on North Hills Drive: 6025 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 parking lot.

Wakefield Trail:

Length: 1.4 miles
Surface: Paved and unpaved trail 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.

Wildlife:

Sunflowers:

While the sunflowers are not wild, they do put on quite a show towards the end of June and early July.  The Neuse River Trail runs 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.  To view the sunflowers, hike the Neuse River Trail between Auburn-Knightdale Road and Mial Plantation Road trailheads.  You can see them from the trail where it runs along Old Baucom Road.

Blog Entries:

08Jul2017 - Sunflowers on the Neuse

25Apr2017 - Waterfall in Raleigh!

External Links:

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