Gary Shell Cross-City Trail

North Carolina

10 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Gary Shell Cross-City Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: New Hanover
Length: 15 miles
Trail end points: Wade Park (Bethal Rd) and Summer Rest Road
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7769856

Gary Shell Cross-City Trail Description

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, and Wade Park, providing important off-road connections across a wide swath of the coastal city.

The trail route totals around 15 miles in total; most of the route is a wide, paved asphalt pathway, although some sections utilize narrower sidewalks - fortunately, the city has marked the trail route on street signs to help users navigate. The latest addition, which opened in 2014, is a 1.3-mile section in southern Wilmington that connects to Wade Park. The 17-acre park offers scenic wetlands, a picnic shelter, a playground, and restrooms. On the opposite end of the trail, the northern terminus shares a route with the Summer Rest Trail, which features a nicely wooded path that ends at the waterfront.

The trail is primarily urban, so there are a number of restaurants, coffee shops, and two excellent bike shops along the route. The CCT also connects with the River-to-Sea Bikeway and Military Cutoff Trail, and is a part of the East Coast Greenway route across the entire seaboard.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at Halyburton Park (4099 S. 17th Street), Empie Park (3405 Park Avenue), Anne McCrary Park (4000 Randall Parkway), and James E.L. Wade Park (3500 Bethel Road).

Gary Shell Cross-City Trail Reviews

it’s just ok

Rode this trail in December 2022 It is all paved and generally well marked However if you are not comfortable riding in bike lanes on busy roads this is NOT your trail Lots of traffic signals with long waits to cross multi lane streets There are some scenic parts thru parks

Enjoyed the ride

I stayed downtown on the waterfront for two months, and in that time I rode a combination of the River to Sea and Gary Shell Cross-City Trail to go from downtown to Wrightsville Beach. The River to Sea Trail is pretty tough, with narrow, bumpy streets downtown and only bike lanes which amounted to painted markings only. It goes through some pretty sketch neighborhoods, too. I didn't always feel safe, so I improvised and created my own route from downtown to where I intersected the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail at Empie Park. At that point, I followed the Gary Shell trail and I enjoyed most all of the ride to the beach. Of course, I'd love fewer traffic lights, but honestly for that part of the trail there were long stretches of uninterrupted trail that felt less like city riding with lakes, trees, etc. From my location at Pier 33 apartments, it was almost exactly 15 miles to Wrightsville Beach, making a perfect afternoon ride out and back.

What a wonderful way to get across town. From Halyburton Park, to Wrightsville Beach. 15 Mile one way a total of 30 miles make a day of it

What a wonderful way to get across town. From Halyburton Park, to Wrightsville Beach. 15 Mile one way a total of 30 miles make a day of it

very disappointed

If you like biking on a busy highway this is the trail for you!! Not well marked and people drive very fast and aggressive!


A tale of two trails

Rode from Empie Park to the Wrightsville Beach bridge today. The good parts of the trail were very good…the rest wasn’t. The trail is not very well marked in places and pretty hard to figure out. I wouldn’t suggest trying without a local leader or a big pile of time and patience. The route varies between nice trail, bike lanes, neighborhood roads, and a few sidewalks thrown in. Signs would make a huge difference.


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.

great trail

Great Trail

Excellent Ride

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.

Difficult trail to follow

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.

Wilmington Cross City Trail

This is a great ride!!

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.