The 5-mile-long Cape Fear River Trail winds through a mix of wooded acres and marshes and affords stunning views of the Cape Fear River. The trail is relatively flat but with some hills. You will encounter boardwalks and bridges, even one covered bridge. Wildlife abounds here: frogs, lizards, and deer are all common sights. Interpretive signage educates trail users about the local flora and fauna, including more than 700 species of plant and tree and 150 species of bird.
At its southern end is Clark Park Nature Center, a recreational gem offering both educational displays and live animals (snakes, turtles, and alligators!). Here, visitors can go on guided walks with rangers and naturalists, stop for a picnic, or simply enjoy the views (including a waterfall). There’s a primitive campground, too (overnight stays are permitted, but there is no electricity and only cold showers). The park’s trailhead was named in honor of Moses Mathis, known locally as the “Bicycle Man” for his two decades of work running youth enrichment programs, including providing bikes to children in need; a memorial plaque allows visitors the opportunity to learn more about this inspirational person.
The Cape Fear River Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway, a series of urban greenways that will eventually extend from Maine to Key West, Florida.
Parking is available at the southern terminus: Clark Park Nature Center, 631 Sherman Drive, at the end of the road. You can also park at the Jordan Soccer Complex, 445 Tree Top Drive, the northern terminus.