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The Walnut Creek Trails spans more than 19 miles on an east-west route through Raleigh. Only its western end, through Lake Johnson Park, is unpaved.
The trail affords stunning views of Lake Johnson, wildlife viewing (turtles, waterfowl, numerous bird species), a unique stand of big leaf magnolia (in Lake Johnson Park), access to the Walnut Creek Wetland Center, and passage through areas of large loblolly pine. In addition,the trail passes recreational parks, running adjacent to a state farmers' market, amphitheater, and swimming pools.
Increasing its value for both transportation and recreation, the Walnut Creek Trail links to other trails in the area: Rocky Branch, Little Rock, and the Neuse River Trail.
On its west end, parking is available in Lake Johnson Park (4601 Avent Ferry Road). Mid-trail, you can park in Eliza Pool Park (1600 Fayetteville Street).
I rode the Walnut Creek Trail in Raleigh, NC today. For an urban trail, it was quite beautiful with relatively few road crossings. Since it is part of a trail network, it was often confusing which way the trail proceeded. I had a particularly hard time finding the starting point from the Lake Johnson trails where I parked. I learned that my Traillink website subscription on my phone would show my GPS location on and a few times near the trail when I made a wrong turn. There was one point where the trail was supposed to be according to the map and GPS where it simply ended. Thanks to the app, I was able to connect to another trail just north of the abrupt ending that quickly connected back to the Walnut Creek Trail.
The trail was 15.5 miles long, but I covered a touch over 34 (out and back) looking for the western end and with the wrong turns. There were also some elevation changes. I wish I had put road tires on the gravel bike. The trail guide said there was 2 miles of gravel, but I found no gravel. I saw a very large doe cross the trail near the NC State Campus, go figure, and 3 fawns once it went back in the woods near Lake Johnson. The underpasses to avoid the highways were treacherous. Crazy 90 degree turns. Glad I was not on the tandem, they would have been very difficult. I give it a 7 gear rating on a 10 gear cassette.
We biked from Worthdale park east to the Neuse river trail. Beautiful well maintained and a little hilly. This section is 5 stars. We then went 4 miles or so west ,after struggling to find the street connection , and it was a little more dated , not quite as wide, and in need of some cleaning but pretty nice. We rated this section a 3+. Well worth a visit.
I stumbled across this trail by accident, while out riding my Trikke, while taking a course at NCSU.
The paved portion now runs about 15 miles. The map here on the Traillink site needs updating.
To see an up-to-date map, go to:
and click on "View Trail Map".
A definite must do for the riding enthusiast. The best way to access this trail on the upper end is to park at the Poole Road access to the Neuse River Trail and ride south a short distance to the trail. After passing under Barwell road and crossing an interesting span over Walnut Creek this trail will lead you through extensive wetlands. The most interesting feature in this section is the 1 3/4 mile continuous boardwalk through the swamp around the Maybrook Subdivision. Worth the trip and an easy ride.
Raleigh's rail trail system is amazing. We stayed downtown and were able to pick up the trails within a few blocks from our hotel. The Rocky Branch Trail is located on Fayetteville St. and the Walnut Creek Trail is on South Wilmington St.
We rode 40 miles, with close to 95% of it being off road. Some of the street connections were difficult to find. However, other cyclists were able to give us directions or lead the way. There is an extensive map available at the visitors' center at the Marriott; however, we didn't find the insets (which are supposed to direct you to the connections) particularly helpful.
If you take the Crabtree Creek Trail, there's a section that becomes dirt and full of roots for about a half mile. It ends at a staircase. At the top of the staircase, if you ride to the left, you'll find the trail again about a quarter mile down the road on the left.
If you take the Rocky Branch Trail, it comes out on Western Blvd. Cross the street to the prison, go left and ride along Western Blvd., keeping Pullen Park on your right. The trail picks up again by the park.
We found fellow cyclists to be very friendly and helpful. We picked up 4 riders along the way. Riding the trails is a great way to see Raleigh and to meet people.
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