Cape Fear River Trail

North Carolina

21 Reviews

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Cape Fear River Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Cumberland
Length: 7.5 miles
Trail end points: Cape Fear River near the Amtrak crossing and Jordan Soccer Complex (Tree Top Dr.)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6355421

Cape Fear River Trail Description

The 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

Great until it is not

Great trail. Scenic, uncrowded, plentiful and safe parking. Continuous rolling hills. Boardwalks are wet, moldy and very TREACHEROUS even in dry weather. Be aware. Saw 3 wipeouts within 5 miles. Boardwalk with cover near falls was dry. Others you will want to walk your bike across. ¿¿¿¿¿


The hills and curves gave this paved and wooden bridge trail a comfortable moderate challenge. Trail is mostly shady with a couple covered bridges given you a nice break from the sun. There were plenty of benches and restrooms. No stores, so don’t forget to bring plenty of water.

Fun trail

This was our first time doing a trail with our E-bikes! It was a pretty fun trail! We did it twice in one day! Made us sore tho! The first part is down hill which is fun but has to go back up it! Wasn’t to bad!

nice trail - wish we could have seen more

parked at the nature center (bathrooms!) and walked to the right on the advice of a local that that was the prettier way to go (it was lovely) - took about a mile to get to the river - did 1.75 one way for a 3.5 mile walk - we were driving GA to NJ on 95 and we took the ten minute detour off the highway to break up the drive with a nice walk - WELL WELL worth it ! - would like to come back with the bike someday and see the whole trail


Good ride

If you put go out and back you can get a good workout with the hills on the north end.

Pure Enjoyment!

Spent this morning (Monday) on the trail - and with the exception of one other biker - we had it all to ourselves! A fun ride, although you will encounter downtown streets for a bit in Erwin. Also, don’t freak if the Fire Department siren goes off… it’s LOUD but necessary! Thumbs up all around!

Amazing Trail

This is my first review on TrailLink but we have ridden many trials. I had to leave this review because this trail is SOOOO special it deserves it. 6.8 miles each way and it has it all. Bridges, train trestles, some decent hills to get your heart pumping a little bit, beautifully paved, friendly people, shaded, etc. We enjoyed this trail so much we repeated again just to make sure we we saw all the surroundings. GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO HIT THIS ONE!

Blade in the Shade

This trail rocks. Ample parking at both ends of the trail help kickoff any great adventure. Whatever wheels you bring will roll across this fluid surface of glass. Bountiful trees cover the trail a majority of the trip. Scenic vistas made way by boardwalk and bridges. Markers indicate how involved you are. A heed of caution on the descent from the Jordan Soccer Complex end for all you’s a bit steep for a couple hills.

Favorite running spot

I love running here. There is plenty of shade, a decent amount of small rolling hills, beautiful scenery, and never too crowded. I come here to get lost in my thoughts for my long runs.

Paved and scenic

I biked this trail this morning Aug 9. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the trail was shaded and paved. Bikers, joggers, and hikers all seemed friendly and cordial toward each other. North to south is slightly more downhill than traveling north. One hill coming back is a bit of a booger, but a great enjoyable ride nonetheless.

Nice rolling hills

A wonderful break from driving i95, thank you traillink, parking was easy and free. There are rolling hills and friendly walkers.

A very nice find

Let's start with this.
The trail is not flat.
Level, yes. Paved, yes. Mile markers every half mile. Mostly shaded (good on a very hot day) Flat, no.
There are a couple pretty decent hills, saw a biker walking her bike up one.
If you start at Jordan soccer park, it is mostly down hill, which means back up.
A couple little bridges, one good size covered bridge over the creeks make for nice scenary, along with the skinny squirrels.
Another runner said the further end was more flat. Next visit I'll plan to run entire trail.
So, as usual. If in the area and want to get a few miles in, head here. You will enjoy the trail and the challenge.

awesome trail!


Great trail!

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.

Awesome bike trail...

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

Great Trail!

Perfect for beginners in decent shape!

Raven Rock without the stumps, spiderwebs, and of course the Rock :-)

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.

Great trail but had more hills than described.

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.

Easy paved trail, with a couple of good ascents

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.

Great trail, but of note...

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.

Nice trail

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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