This year, I’ve been doing a lot of rides with Cycling for Health, a Meetup group based out of Raleigh. Most of our rides are on the greenways in Wake County. I wanted to write this post to spread the word ever so slightly and get more people out walking, jogging, and cycling on these greenways, as they are one of Raleigh’s best-kept secrets. The trail map is relatively easy to find, but it can be overwhelming, so let me give you three of my favorite rides. I’m not a fantastic cyclist by any means, so none of these are extremely hard.
- The Neuse River trail runs from Falls Lake Dam (point 1 in the map) down to Clayton (down by point 26 in the bottom-right corner). It is 34 miles end-to-end, meaning that you can get nearly 70 miles of cycling in with just one round trip. It’s also about as flat as a Raleigh trail is going to get, with just a few minor hills here and there. We love to start at Anderson Point park (spot 41) and pick a direction. Because Anderson Point is right in the middle, that means you can get a 30-35 mile trip, great for a relaxing Sunday.
- The Walnut Creek trail starts at Anderson Point (41) and goes west. This trail gets a little hillier here and there, and there’s a fantastic stopping point in the middle at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center (74). You can continue on the Walnut Creek trail out to Lake Raleigh (spot 12) and then Lake Johnson (14). The downside to Lake Johnson is that it’s a pretty crowded area, so if you’re cycling, you’ll have to go slowly and watch out for people.
- Bent Creek has a semi-hidden trail head (spot 11). They have street parking, so spots can be limited, but the ride is great. Within a couple of miles, you’re down at Shelley Lake, and then on the Mine Creek Trail. From there, you can take the House Creek trail (which is very hilly) or Crabtree Creek.
You could also cycle on country roads, but honestly, I try to avoid that as much as possible. Drivers in this area are terrible and unless you’re riding someplace practically deserted or in downtown (where the speed limits are 25), it’s just not worth the risk. If you’re in the area and haven’t been on the greenways before, get to it! If it helps, join up with a group (like CFH) and learn the trails that way. There are other trails in Durham, Cary, and outlying areas, but I’m most familiar with the Raleigh set.