Hiking & Greenway Trails in Raleigh, N.C.
Ready to escape the bustle of the city and get outside to explore? Use any of the Raleigh area’s 180 miles of greenways—many of them connecting to attractions and letting you travel all over the destination—or numerous other miles of trails traversing through parks, and you’ll find runners getting in workouts, cyclists out for leisurely rides, parents pushing strollers and people of all ages soaking in the sun and fresh air.
Here are some highlights, and you can also see a full, searchable list further below:
Capital Area Greenway System
Made up of 28 individual trails that total more than 100 miles of paved paths, the City of Raleigh’s greenway system is perfect for walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and skaters looking to explore. The system, which connects to the North Carolina Museum of Art, William B. Umstead State Park, area universities and more, is highlighted by the Neuse River Greenway Trail—a 27.5-mile paved path beginning at Falls Lake State Recreation Area that crosses suspension bridges and travels through wetlands and agricultural fields as it runs down the eastern edge of the city.
William B. Umstead State Park
N.C.’s most-visited state park, William B. Umstead State Park remains a peaceful getaway thanks to its sheer size—more than 5,000 acres of forest, trails and lakes. With 13 miles of multi-use trails that follow a series of rolling hills (perfect for horseback riding, jogging and cycling) and 22 miles of dedicated hiking trails, this is a must-hit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Insider tip: find this incredible piece of chainsaw art on your visit!
Shelley Lake Park
The paved, two-mile trail that loops around Shelley Lake is a favorite for many in the North Raleigh area. Relatively flat, and shade-covered for about half of the loop, the trail provides great views of the lake almost the entire way around (and is a great spot for sunset watching).
Lake Crabtree County Park
This 215-acre park is known for having some of the best mountain biking trails in the Raleigh area. More than nine miles of trails traverse through the woods just off the lake, designed not just for bikers but also hikers (stay aware!). The singletrack mountain biking trails feature gentle climbs and descents and are certainly manageable for beginner riders. The park also features a two-mile trail along the lake shore, open to foot traffic only.
Art to Heart Trail
Beginning at the North Carolina Museum of Art (where parking and admission to the museum are free) and ending in downtown Raleigh, this 5.9-mile trail winds through the museum’s beautiful 164-acre park, passes behind Meredith College, cuts through the main campus at North Carolina State University, zips by Pullen Park and finishes in the heart of the city just outside of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. If done in reverse, cyclists and runners can continue past the museum for an additional 2.3 miles to the Reedy Creek Rd. entrance of William B. Umstead State Park.