Neuse River Trail

North Carolina

Neuse River Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Wake
Length: 27.5 miles
Trail end points: Falls of Neuse Road and Wake/Johnston County Line
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6585802
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Walking

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Neuse River Trail Description

Along the eastern outskirts of Raleigh, the Neuse River Trail follows the river for nearly 28 miles from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake/Johnston County line. There are several river crossings along the way, including two on suspension bridges. The scenic, tree-lined trail offers numerous wildlife viewing opportunities, especially on its boardwalks through wetland areas.

On its southern end, the trail connects to the Clayton River Walk, which continues along the Neuse River for 4 more miles. The two trails are part of the East Coast Greenway, a long-distance trail network stretching from Maine to Florida.

Just south of Poole Road, the trail also offers a seamless connection to Walnut Creek Trail, which heads 18 miles west through Raleigh.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at several points along the trail, including the lots listed below from north to south. Additionally, drinking water and restrooms are available at Buffaloe Road Athletic Park and Anderson Point Park.

  • 2928 Horseshoe Farm Road (2928 Horseshoe Farm Road)
  • Buffaloe Road Athletic Park (5812 Buffaloe Road)
  • Anderson Point Park (20 Anderson Point Drive)



Neuse River Trail Reviews

Always lovely! I went on a portion of the trail that I had not been on and was not disappointed. I love the bridges and view of the river!

I have ridden the northern part ( the Neuse Dam to/from the WRAL soccer fields , about 7 miles ) several times. Always beautiful ( even on rainy drizzly days ); always clean; always well marked with signage. Smooth wide pavemet. Along a river with lots of shade from trees.

Awesome! We started at the south end in Clayton and picked up Sam's Greenway and rode north connecting to the Riverwalk and on to the Neuse Trail for a 18 mile round trip. It is beautiful and recently paved surface 8-10 feet wide and flat until you leave the river valley around the water treatment plant. It is mostly shaded along the river. A slow switchback climb (3-5 minutes) to the brownfields, where you're in full sun for about a mile, rewarded us with a fun downhill on the way back. We passed over multiple wooden bridges and two large spans across the Neuse River which gave great views up and down the river. We never had a road crossing in our 9 mile route! All the crossings were below road grade under bridges.

This trail is a must if you are traveling the I-95 or I-40 corridor, the Clayton trailhead was about 40 minutes from I-95 from the North and closer if coming up I-40 from the south. We split our car trip in half to ride this trail and spent the night in Clayton/Garner off NC-42 and I-40 about 10 minutes from the trail.
Can't wait to do it again!

Accordion

Beautifully maintained trail with many bridges and trestles. The feeder trails bringing in suburbanites and city dwellers is a terrific idea. My wife & I thoroughly enjoyed our ride from Buffaloe Road Athletic Park to Auburn Knightdale Road and back. Met some friendly folks along the way.

This trail is such a gem to our area. I doubt very many people even know that it exists! LOVED the numerous boardwalks and bridges and enjoyed being in such a beautiful setting on such a magnificent day. We saw lots of Canada Geese in the wetlands along with a slew of turtles and I imagine the wildlife is endless if you visit at the right time of day. I had not ridden a bike in nearly 35 years and found the entire trail welcoming with lots of long runs. There were several uphill climbs but, once I figured out how to use the gears correctly (!!), it was not that difficult. We were so happy to see so little trash around and it is obvious that these trails are well maintained. We started out at the Mingo Creek Trail in Knightdale, which emptied into the Neuse River trail and took that as far north as Anderson Park. We then backtracked and ended up near the Poole Road bridge. It was amazing how quickly we got around the area on this series of trails. It took a lot LESS time than if we had been in an automobile. TOTALLY enjoyed this adventure and plan to cover more of the trails in the near future. Took lots of pictures and look forward to adding more to the collection!

I'm visiting the area from Cape Cod, MA.
This is positively one of nicest bike trails I have experienced. ( I'm 72 years young)
I rode the trail over two days and covered it from end to end twice.
It is very clearly marked with mileage and intersecting road information. The pavement was smooth as silk. Tons of areas to get off the bike and view nature at its finest.
One of my favorite sights during the ride was coming around a curve and came upon a baby fawn grazing on the grass ahead of me. We were about 50' apart. He (she) was curious as to my presence, but kept on feeding and slowly walked back into the woods. I'm sure MOM was within sight somewhere.
This trail positively attracts visitors form around the country. I chatted with folks from Canada, California, Key West.
Who ever manages this trail should be proud of this asset for North Carolina and Raleigh.

I'm vacationing from Cape Cod Massachusetts.
I cycled the trail from Buffaloe Rd. south.
This state does an excellent job of designing, building and especially maintaining their natural assets. Who ever manages this trail is worthy of praise. We have many bike trails in Massachusetts, but they (we) build them and forget them for the most part.
The only thing I might think of adding would be to add additional signage for people who may want to visit local business establishments for beverage and or food.
Keep up the fantastic effort,,,,, we WILL return to explore your numerous trails.

Very nice, long, paved trail! Will definitely be coming back for more long rides! Got in 55 miles no problem and most importantly no stopping for traffic!

I rode the section of trail from Anderson Point north while visiting Raleigh and was impressed with the trail itself, the scenery and the friendly people I met on my ride. What a gift to have a safe, scenic trail like this that's accessible and convenient.

I rode this trail 3 days over the Memorial weekend holiday while visiting family. I can not say in enough words how much I enjoyed this trail! Everyone one I met had the same feelings about the trail. I must congratulate everyone involved in the planning and construction of the Neuse River Trail.

This gives me another reason to drive down from the mountains and visit my family more often ;-) I wish the Asheville area had a trail this nice.

I've taken my bike out on two sections of this trail so far: from the northern most end at Falls Lake Dam down to the WRAL soccer complex, and from where it meets the Mingo Creek Trail (Greenway) up to the Buffaloe Rd athletic park. I found the portion from the Mingo Creek Trail to Buffaloe Rd more interesting.
While I liked Falls Lake park, once you start riding on the trail, I didn't really find the scenery that interesting. If you like being isolated amongst a lot of trees, you'll like this part of the trail. There was one spot where the trail branched off slightly to let you go right down to the banks of the muddy Neuse River, which I didn't find especially scenic, but perhaps my viewpoint is somewhat jaded by my experiences with the majestic Hudson River back in New York. The Neuse, in comparison, seems more like a creek than a river. Once I got down to the WRAL soccer complex, I found a Kona Ice truck for a treat before heading back on the trail.
The portion from the Mingo Creek Trail up to Buffaloe Rd athletic park was much more interesting. The trail goes past Milburnie Dam, which you can get a better look at either by crossing a small bridge, or by walking a short path through the woods from the trail. I also noticed some nice houses along the banks of the Neuse River at one point, before the trail takes a turn and goes over a swampy area. There were a few bridges to cross on this part of the trail, including an impressive suspension bridge over the Neuse that was created just for this trail. If you venture off the trail into the Buffaloe Rd athletic park, you'll find restrooms and a water fountain near the entrance to the park (farthest from where the trail enters the park).

A great piece of nature for ALL AGES!!! A great trail for all activities: biking, rollerblading, hiking (even if paved), running, nature observing (Awesome bogs), bird watching, kayaking/canoeing, Fishing, and more!!! The best part is the fact that the paths are so wide!

I rode the trail from anderson point to the end. Makes a big difference with the horseshoe connector completed. Did not have to go on 401 to get to the other trail. Great Trail and nice scenery

Being a recovering heart patient and unable to make rehab because of irregular work hours, I decided to embark on my own fitness program centered on the Neuse River trail. I started walking on the Sam Branch greenway in Clayton since I live in that town. I then started jumping north from parking lot to parking lot and thought, Wow I could bring a bike out here and really get in some good workouts. I have been riding the trail in 6-10 mile sections, Truthfully from Anderson Point south is absolutely beautiful. It is also more Challenging for the rider with numerous hills and long uphill sections especially when riding north. North of Anderson point the trail softens into a very nice ride although the scenery is a little more generic. I love the long boardwalks through the wetlands. The suspension bridges are also interesting features. I have 12 more miles to go to reach the Falls Lake Dam which I will attempt as soon as the weather warms. then I want to do the whole trail from Falls Lake to the Sam's Branch parking area about 30 + miles.

Smooth well-kept roadway, beautiful views, bridges and rolling hills. Well done Raleigh and NC! This Greenway is a jewel. My only issues are the lack of watering stops and that the roadway is not connected after the 7.5 mile mark with no warning or directions on where to go to connect to the remaining 20 miles. Being a long-distance rider. I rode the the 7.5 miles back and forth three times to get in 45 miles. Still was very pleasant. On my next visit two days later, I began at the 8 mile mark, riding the Greenway 25 miles to its end. My best five mile segments were around mile 20 and the last five miles in Johnston County. I live in NE Florida and get to ride on a bike lane along the ocean for over 25 miles with ocean views most of the way, so I am not impressed too easily. This Greenway will be an annual visit for me as long as I am pedaling.

Beautiful scenery! Well maintained! Great for recreational or fitness activities with the family. Wish it was in my backyard.

I ride from my house to the middle of the north side of the trail and ride up about 6 miles to the beginning which is the Dam. Then I rode to the end which is almost at clayton and clocked 59 miles last Sunday. What a great ride and trail riding distance from my house. I can't wait for the horseshoe to be completed so you don't have to ride the street to the other side of the trail.

Awesome job on the trail

My first visit it was riding 12.5 miles each way which is enough to be pleased and excited. Paved in the entirety, mile markers at 1/4 mile spacing, following the Neuse River proper and lots of swampy bits that constitute the wetlands. It's a greenway so there are hills, not tough ones really, curves, and lots of bridges. Spur trails every which way. Passes through a park which offers the only current His&Hers facility, somewhere near midway. A spur to the Buffaloe Athletic fields will also have facilities and parking.

I drove up from Moore County to ride this trail. Since I made a 1.5 hour drive I felt I had to get my monies worth and I rode from Clayton's Sam's Branch Trail to the proximity of Horseshoe Farm Park where the trail ends (for now). About a 51 mile round trip. I thought it was cool how the trail follows the river then climbs up to an agricultural area then back to the river. Very scenic. The bridges and trail surface are first class. As mentioned before, the only place along the trail to get water or use a restroom is Anderson Point Park. Looking on the map there may be facilities at Buffaloe Road Athletic Park which you can access by a spur trail. Good job Raleigh. I really enjoyed the trail and look forward to riding up there more.

Nice Trail. I rode from Anderson Point Park to the end at Clayton which is 15 miles one way including the clayton riverwalk. There is more scenery in this section but all of the neuse is very nice trail to ride

Starting the trail at anderson point park follow the signs to the scenic trail and it will lead you to the neuse trail.

The Neuse River Trail continues to get better and better. All that remains is a small connection at Horseshoe Farms. A great deal of attention was paid to the design of this trail. It is visually appealing and there is an abundance of wildlife to be seen, especially near evenings so don’t forget to bring along a camera.

I ride this trail very frequently and have yet to become bored with it. Due to its length you can split it into different segments for weekday rides. Although the trail can get quite busy, the majority of activity is closer to the parking lots so once you leave them behind the traffic dwindles.

The only negative thing that I could say about this trail is the lack of restrooms and water. Other than that it makes for a beautiful outing no matter how you travel on it.

This is a great addition to the Raleigh Greenway Trail System. Enjoy!

I have now ridden the entire completed sections of the Neuse River Trail from Falls Lake dam to Clayton, NC. The trail is completed except for a short section between the soccer fields off Perry Creek Road and just north of US 401. You can ride the entire route by making a short detour onto Perry Creek Road and US 401 to the parking area at Trail Head Lane.

I am very impressed with the trail and it is better than I ever expected. The trail is entirely paved (about 10' wide), with numerous bridges and boardwalks over the Neuse River, tributary creeks and wetlands. The route is very scenic with numerous places to stop and rest, take photos. A few things to keep in mind. The only permanent place to get water or use a restroom is at Anderson Point Park, although there may be a few porta-johns left for construction crews in places. In other words, bring some water. I also would recommend using a bell on your bike because there are already quite a few walkers and runners on the trail, usually wearing headphones and oblivious to cyclists and others.

Except for the detour at the uncompleted section near US 401, you can ride the entire trail without having to cycle on a road. When that section is completed by early 2014, you will be able to ride the entire way with no roads.

The Neuse River Trail now continues past the Wake County line into Johnston County, through Clayton, connecting with Clayton's Sam's Branch Greenway. Distance from the Wake County line to the Sam's Branch parking area is about 4.5 miles. There is also now a parking lot along Covered Bridge Road where it crosses the Neuse, and another at Mial Plantation Road.

This is a great trail that I can ride directly from my home in Riverwood Athletic Club, now a total round-trip distance of about 31 miles! I'm looking forward to being able to ride all the way to Falls Lake. The scenery along the Neuse is exquisite, with abundant wildlife and beautiful fall colors. Though the trail is well-used, especially on Spring weekends, it never seems crowded. (Sometimes the parking lots do fill up.)

The Neuse River Trail is a 33 mile project. Clayton's 5 miles are already done, and Raleigh's 28 miles are rapidly nearing completion (2013-14). It is becoming NC's longest paved greenway.

I walked the trail from mm17 to mm14. It is wide and paved. Clearly marked and you can pick up other trails while on the Neuse River. I recommend parking at the lot next to the Anderson Park (before the bridge). It has ample parking. Most of the trail is completed. Now they are working on the section that goes into Johnston County. There are signs clearly marked that brings you to the Neuse River Trail Parking. Next time I plan to bring my bike and ride the trail.

I used to love this trail, but now it's just alright. I think people get the wrong ideas for these "greenways" when they start paving it. If you want to walk on asphalt or concrete, go to the sidewalks. This trail was previously crushed gravel, and about as smooth of a trail as you would possibly need. But whatever, it's still got a nice view at least.

This trail runs behind my neighborhood and it got me back into biking! So much wildlife can be seen while riding along like deer, rabbits, various birds, turtles and the like.

As of now (winter of 2011/12) this trail is closed presumably so that can pave it and from what I understand it will be open in spring. I rode it when they started the clearing just before they closed it off, and it looks like they are blazing a short cut that will eliminate a grueling hill but also takes you right by an rustic old stone built hydroelectric dam! Driving on Business 64, I look down from the overpass and check on the slow progress.

Anderson point is another great place to see on this site esp in spring. A lot of the park is allowed to grow tall as a bird sanctuary

Segment 1 of the Neuse River Trail is now open! This segment begins at Falls Dam and continues to the WRAL Soccer Center. Well worth the wait. Fall is the ideal time to experience the trail with fall colors, active wildlife and cool comfortable weather.

The Neuse River Trail is planned to be a 10-foot wide asphalt path extending from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake County line. The project is separated into smaller sub-projects that are planned as individual construction projects. The trail that begins at Falls Lake Dam and will extend along the river to the Wake County line, a distance of 28 miles. The estimated cost for the entire project is approximately $30 million.

The 6 separate projects are named Upper Neuse, Neuse Horseshoe Bend, Neuse Buffalo Road, Neuse Hedingham, Neuse Riverview, and South Neuse which are more fully described on separate pages.

This unique project also opens opportunities to adjoining communities to connect to this central backbone. With the completion of the 28 mile trail and the construction of two other trails, Mingo Creek in Knightdale and Smith Creek in Wake Forest the Capital Area Greenway could become the central structure of a larger system covering North Carolina. The Mountains to Sea Trail (MST), a State of North Carolina linear park, extends from the mountains in western North Carolina at Murfreesboro to the coast of eastern North Carolina at Jockey’s Ridge. The corridor for this trail connects to the Neuse River Trail at Falls Lake Dam. The planned MST then follows the Neuse River Trail through Wake County to the county line.

George Randy Bass
Wake Forest, NC
http://www.neuserivertrail.com/

I pass the turn off for this trail twice a day and decided to take the dog for an exploratory walk.

The start of the trail is part of the Anderson Point Park. Before you get to the main park area, there is a smaller parking lot, denoted with canoe launch signage. From the parking lot, the pathway forks. To the right is a short, downhill walk to the canoe launch. Definitely nothing fancy, just a low spot to the river. You can not launch a boat on a trailer here, which would keep out a lot of boat traffic.

To the left is the start of the Neuse River Trail. Currently, it is the width of a car lane and, in fact, looks just like that. Graveled after a fact, but easily walkable. A mountain bike would have no trouble on the trail. So would any bike but a street bike. The trail is still a little too rough for a straight street bike.

The trail itself is fairly flat. There are a couple of low hills, but nothing the kids couldn't handle. Once you get about 1/4 mile into the trail you can start seeing the river through the trees. There are a few 'unofficial' paths down to the river which is full of big, flat rocks. Definitely a temptation for some off-trail exploring.

While I didn't get all the way to the end of the trail, I covered 80% of it. They were doing some work on the trail while I was there. The trail has a couple of benches along the way to rest. Even though the trail goes behind some housing developments, with a couple of exceptions you would not know. Traffic is another thing. Although you are not directly impacted by traffic, the trail does go under a couple of main bridges. It is really interesting to be standing on a tree shrouded path and look up and see 4 lanes of cars going overhead.

I passed an older gentleman who stated he walks the trail 2 times a day and is looking forward to having the pathway paved. The currently pathway is clean, level and the sides are kept mowed down. Next time I will pack a lunch and water for the dog and I and walk the whole trail. I know it comes out close to my house and want to see exactly where.

This is a definite must walk or ride.

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