Cape Fear River Trail

North Carolina

Cape Fear River Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Cumberland
Length: 5 miles
Trail end points: Cape Fear River near the Amtrak crossing and Jordan Soccer Complex (Tree Top Dr.)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6355421
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Walking

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Cape Fear River Trail Description

The 5-mile-long Cape Fear River Trail winds through a mix of woodlands and marshes on Fayetteville’s north side, offering 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 and Trail Access

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.

Cape Fear River Trail Reviews


Six of us rode the trail today. Two on hybrid bikes, two on mountain bikes, two on recumbent trikes. What a great trail! We started at the north end. I had read the reviews about the hills, and unfortunately we started at the uphill end of the trail. The first leg of the ride was fun with all the downhill rides, but we were dreading the return trip. But the good news is that as much as we were all dreading the return ride, it really wasn't that bad. Some of us walked our bikes up the steepest (2) but short hills, others of us just put it in our lowest gear and slowly got to to the top.

We all wished this trail was longer because it was a very pretty ride and very relaxing. If we are back in the Fayetteville area again, we will ride the trail again, maybe even twice! It is 11.4 miles round trip, end to end.

Great bike & running trail, there is a lot of shade along the path.


Perfect for beginners in decent shape!

I'm a NC native and have been to several trails. This Cape Fear Trail is brilliant! Smooth surfaces, all asphalt and wood for the bridges. The covered bridge under the railroad tracks is amazing!

Everyone on the trail was so friendly! Tons of "Good Mornings", head nods, smiles. I only got to the mile two marker before I turned around, but already have a friend going with me next week. I will park at one trail head and she the other so we can walk the full 5.5 miles. I CAN'T wait to see it all!

There are 3 hills in the first mile from the Jordon Soccer Complex that are pretty rough, the worse at the .9 mile marker. The second mile was smooth and very gentle inclines and declines.

Someone who is roller-blading or riding a Trikke ( would NOT describe this trail as "relatively flat but with some hills".

I would say the south end has some gentle rolling hills and some steady inclines. The north end has some serious hills.

None-the-less, I enjoyed this trail. It is beautiful and provides a good workout.

Very beginner friendly. nice nature views. Some really cool bridges. Lots of places to stop for a picnic. Great family park. Please note: This is not a loop. Also, Make sure your brakes are in good working order. Some of the descents can get pretty fast.

This a a great trail, was on it 3-4 days a week for a while. Just so you know the description is a little off when it comes to the hills. On the Soccer complex end the hills range from small to significant enough that you are cautioned to walk your bike. In fact had a friend who's nephew was on the trail and broke his leg after trying to ride his bike down the hills. Just be warned, if you are starting out start on the Clarke park side, the terrain is mostly flat. Well marked for mileage and absolutely beautiful.

I have enjoyed riding on this trail but it should be noted that there is at least one stretch when you are on the surface streets for about a block. It is a quiet residential area so traffic is not a big problem.

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