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Find the top rated birding trails in Wilmington, whether you're looking for an easy short birding trail or a long birding trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a birding trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail connects the Wilmington campus of the University of North Carolina with the city's many recreational attractions, including Halyburton Park, Empie Park, McCrary Park,...
|NC||15 mi||Asphalt, Concrete||
The Jacksonville-Camp LeJeune Rail-to-Trails path extends along abandoned rail beds from the Marine Corps base at Camp LeJeune (Midway Park area) 5.2 miles northwest to Marine Boulevard in...
The Military Cutoff Trail is a paved, north-south route paralleling its namesake roadway on the east end of Wilmington. A wide grassy median separates the trail from the busy roadway. The south end of...
The River to the Sea Bikeway (WMPO Bicycle Route 1) is an 11-mile, on- and off-road bicycle route that follows the Historic Beach Car Line, which carried vacationers from downtown Wilmington to...
I’ve lived here in ILM for almost 10 years now and have been keeping an eye on the progress of this trail since I moved here. I bike from downtown to work near Mayfaire on this trail very regularly and, while it certainly has gotten better from where it started this trail still needs significant work. The sections of the trail between South College (which you will have to cross at a light through traffic) and up to the bridge at Wrightsville are fine. You’re on a separate trail and have cross-walks as needed. However, when you’re riding around downtown and after you cross the bridge at Wrightsville, you’re on roads. This is mostly okay because they can be smaller roads, but you will be on some main roads with cars going by you pretty quickly. If you’re okay with that, go for it! It really is a fun ride. But if you’re newer to road cycling or are uncomfortable with cars going quickly by you, maybe skip this one for now. Like I said, the city is working to improve this trail. It’s just not quite there yet.
Don’t let the negative reviews discourage you, as they almost did me. He had an amazing time! Spoke and Wheel dropped off our bike rentals at our hotel, no extra charge. I highly recommend them! We set off from the Ballast Hotel. The brick streets were so so quaint. The ride was very flat. We stopped at the Alcove along the way for a beer. Then headed on to Flying Machine Brewery (such a cool place—great beer and even better music). Then circled back to End of Days distillery. So, as you can see we did not do the entire trail, but plan to next time! It is a beautiful, flat ride
Started out with high hopes of a great ride, but trail was very poorly marked. Lots of cracked and holed pavement made for a bumpy ride. Lots of busy intersections...glad I rode, but won’t go back.
While I agree with one of the other reviews, the trail is a little hard to follow but if you map your ride before you start, you should be ok. Most of the Trail now has a separate pathway which makes it safer especially if you are riding alone which I often do. There are beautiful stretches along side bodies of water, even a small waterfall. Parts of the trail are on a wooded and well shaded path. If you start at Mayfaire and go through a couple of neighborhoods and the UNCW campus you can get as much as 44 miles or more if you want. To me this is the best Wilmington has to offer and I very highly recommend it.
This trail has many twists and turns as it crosses the city. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it’s easy to make a wrong turn, because the trail is so poorly marked. The trail crosses many busy intersections, and part of the time you have to ride on a busy road to complete the 15-mile trail.
This is a great ride!!
I love the idea of a downtown to beach bike ride. Like others, I was disappointed from the start when I realized it would be mostly on roads, not bike trails. However, the first approx. 2/3 of the ride is pleasant for the most part.
I was SHOCKED by the last portion of the ride. I can't believe someone hasn't died yet...perhaps they have. It strikes me as extremely irresponsible to have this ride even exist and be marked with signs because it gives the impression that it is at least relatively safe (which it is not). It's reckless to have bikers crossing without a crosswalk or light and, more notably, to be riding in tiny shoulders with cars zooming by at 45+. A slight drift of a vehicle into the shoulder would result in biker death. Even the most experienced bikers are putting themselves at risk.
It's poorly marked and you mostly ride on roads. Some of the roads are quiet but many have heavy traffic with a shoulder to ride on. In a few cases you are expected to cross busy streets at a site with no traffic light and no crosswalk. This is a dangerous trails and IMO shouldn't even be on this site. Don't ride it!
We were visiting Wilmington, NC and were told by hoteliers about the River to Sea Bikeway. Others have said it all and I'm just updating since this it is 2 1/2 years since the last review. As others have said, this is not really a trail. Some sections are very well marked but many are not and we got lost several times, landing us in heavy traffic areas. My husband and I are avid cyclists and have no problem riding in heavy traffic when there is a shoulder. There are some nice sections of this route that are paved "trail" but it is intermittent. The route is mostly roadway, some of which has shoulder but some of the heavy, high speed traffic areas that are supposed to be part of the "bikeway" do not, especially as you get closer to Wrightsville Beach. Our basic conclusion was that it takes a lot of nerve to call this a "Bikeway".
In the autumn of 2014 I began at the North end of " Military Cutoff Trail". There are plenty of parking options at various businesses.
The surface is smooth, wide concrete suitable for Road, hybrid or even mountain bikes.
I met a few riders; all smiled and waved, as did some joggers.
There is a 6' swath of well-tended grass separating the trail from the roadway. Fortuitously, it was grass mowing day; ahh, nothing like the sweet aroma of fresh-cut grass!
As its only 2 miles from the 'trailhead', I did not stop at the endpoint; opted to turn on Hwy. 74 [Eastwood Rd.]. This is the trailhead of the "Gary Shell Cross-City Trail". I pedaled abt. 2 miles, then the trail takes an abrupt left. Don't miss it; its an average size sign. The transition from the urban road to a wooded, secluded setting is surreal! The sounds of traffic gives way to a silent parade of Live Oak trees flanking both sides of the asphalt trail. Evidently, few know of this 'dog leg' as it winds its way thru the trees; not a soul did I meet. An image of Hobbiton flashed thru my mind....
The TrailLink map says that Summer Rest Road is the Endpoint. However, I turned right on Summer Rest Rd. and continued on abt. a 1/2 mile to Hwy. 74 [Wrightsville Ave].
Wrightsville Ave. is the Trailhead of the "River to the Sea Bikeway" trail. I turned left and followed the trail to the bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway. Just had to stop and watch the boats and birds for awhile. Back on the bike for 2 miles and I was walking the sands next to Johnny Mercer's Pier. After a leisurely walk in the surf I was ready to make the return trip.[Caution; this last section of the "River to Sea Bikeway" is not recommended for Recreational cyclists. You must know how to ride in traffic].
So, back on "River to Sea Bikeway" to connect with "Gary Shell Cross-City Trail" which connects to my trailhead on "Military Cutoff Trail".
Upon reaching the south-end of "Military Cutoff Trail", I was hungry. I stopped at Wild Wings Café and rewarded myself with zesty, delicious wings and a Red Oak Lager and several glasses of water, as my water bottle was empty at this point. They let me bring my bike inside for security, treated me like family, and even filled up my water bottle! Great place.
Back to the bike and pedaled to the Trailhead at the North end of the trail. Three 'epic' trails in one day!
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