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Find the top rated hiking trails in Wilmington, whether you're looking for an easy short hiking trail or a long hiking trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a hiking 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||11.4 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 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!
I ride this trail regularly. Most of the route is on city and neighborhood streets with some pedestrian/bike dedicated connectors. Some of the portions along Park Avenue have inadequate lane width to allow safe passage by cars and the edges of the pavement are broken in several places, making it difficult or impossible to "bail out." Much of this will be corrected in the future with a dedicated bike lane along a portion of Park Ave. The portion along Oleander Dr/US 76 is dangerous, as it is shared with heavy traffic. An alternative is to pick up the Cross-City Trail at Empie Park or Donna Ave. east of Wallace Ave. via the wooden bridge, then following Wood Dale to UNC-W campus. None of Wilmington's bike routes are adequately marked so take a map or GPS your intended route.
Actually, if you complete the entire trail (CLNC old gate to just past Jones Funeral Home) it is a litte over 7 miles. I have walked this trail many times, even by myself, both during the day and at 5:00 pm after work (I carry mace and taser). It gets a litte scarry in some parts and you definately need to be aware of your surroundings. Very shady and paved with asphalt so it has a little more cusiony of a step. If I could change anything about the trail, it would be the following: Extend it to a full 10 miles, have better security (I have NEVER seen a JPD bike patrol on the trail), a couple of water fountains along the way. Thats it! Overall, very enjoyable! mejf
Leaves a lot to be desired. Lots of trash,denied access to halve the trail on Camp. When will the 52 miles be available? Two miles is a joke.
Built in the late 19th century, Park Avenue was originally the route of the Wilmington Sea-Coast Railroad passenger and freight line, that ran between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, a distance of ten miles. At the intersection of Park Avenue and Audubon is the Audubon trolley station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in New Hanover County, North Carolina.
I grew up in Wilmington and lived there for over thirty years. When I went home to visit family last year, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the city was building the Cross-City Trail Alignment. In 2008, the Wilmington City Council adopted the Cross-City Trail alignment. Tentative plans for the Cross-City Trail arose from the passage of the Parks and Greenspace Bond, of which $1 million was allocated for a bike-hike greenway system, and expanded through private and public partnerships and through connections to existing or funded off-road trails. In early 2009, the Cross-City Trail project was awarded $2.0 million in funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Walked from the endpoint at Onslow to the pedestrian bridge over Lejeune Blvd. The trail follows Marine Blvd. for awhile and then finally heads into a more wooded area, allowing trail users to enjoy some peace and quiet. Saw lots of cyclists but only a few walkers/runners. One thing the trail seems to lack is garbage cans! I did not see a single one. Also, while there are signs recognizing the group or organization that has adopted each section of the trail (for litter control, etc.), it would have been nice to have some signs with information about the trail itself-- what it's called, where it goes, etc. This would be especially helpful for people like myself who are visitors to Jacksonville. This trail is certainly a step in the right direction for the health and well-being of Jacksonville residents.
I lived in Wilmington, Nc for over a year. This is not a "trail" this is called the loop. It loops around the island and consitst of streets and sidewalks with a small portion being paved. Wrightsville Beach has no smooth surfaces, some is paved, but needs to be redone & most of the path is a sidewalk, & lots of houses and businesses are crammed on this island so the path is made up more of the resident's driveway, litterly a driveway every 5ft. (and is not a consistent level) with many side streets. Impossible for anyone in a wheelchair. I went here 5x a week for the time I was here because this is one of the only areas they really have that is safe for a single runner. I usually would have prefered to inline skate or ride a bike, but due to trail conditions, high traffic to and from the beach with all the necessities needed for a day at the beach that was not an option. Also no bikes are allowed on the sidewalk, or loop. The need to look into developing practical trails that are convenient, long, smooth, and worth it. Your better off running on the side of the road, especially in off season because the street parking spaces are empty. They did extend the path off of the island, it's wider and newly paved but you always have to stop due to developments, driveways, streets, etc. Your better off finding a development and just running or walking within it. It's very sad. I look forward to moving back south at some point but would not move to Wilmington due to the lack of trails. I'm looking for a paved smooth asphalt wide trail that has many miles. I rollerblade or bike 10-20 miles a day, but here I could only run, (about 5 miles per day). I have not been able to find any trails like this by the coast. Any suggestions?
"To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects, AIAWilmington is giving a study of the River to Sea Trail to the City of Wilmington. Our goal is to provide a document that analyzes each section of the trail and how it can be improved to make the trail a safer more enjoyable and viable means of transportation. AIAWilmington is studying how the trail relates to bus routes, neighborhoods, schools, UNCW, other bike routes, and shopping. This trail has tremendous potential because it bisects Wilmington, and being a converted trolley trestle path most of the easement is already in the city’s right of way so funds will be needed for improvements rather than purchasing land. AIAWilmington has conducted several public input venues using a 16 foot long aerial map of the trail to see how people use the trail, as well as having them fill out a questionnaire. But we can use your help too. Please send us your comments on how you think the trail can be improved. Thanks firstname.lastname@example.org "
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