Charlotte Rail Trail

North Carolina

8 Reviews

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Charlotte Rail Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Mecklenburg
Length: 3.5 miles
Trail end points: E. 12th St. (Charlotte) and South Blvd. (Charlotte)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Brick, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6160671

Charlotte Rail Trail Description


Once no more than a humble maintenance path along a trolley line, the Charlotte Rail Trail now offers a vibrant pathway extending 3.5 miles from Charlotte’s Center City to the South End. Flanking both sides of the LYNX Blue Line light rail, this rail-with-trail provides numerous opportunities to move from one side of the tracks to the other—something you’re practically guaranteed to do as a retail shop or eatery catches your eye.

Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but due to the large volume of trail users, it may be preferable to either walk the path (perhaps riding the light rail on the return trip) or rent an electric scooter from one of the companies servicing the city. The trail is also easily accessed by public transportation, with nine trailside train stations.

About the Route

While the route technically leaves off in the north from East 12th Street and Alpha Mill Lane, just north of the light rail’s Ninth Street Station, a recommended starting point is 1.2 miles south at East Carson Boulevard (adjacent to the Carson Station), where the trail widens out, becomes fully paved, and traverses the thriving mixed-use neighborhood of South End. (Note: The northern portion of the trail is narrower and has a brick surface.)

On your way to the southern endpoint at South Boulevard in 2.3 miles, the trail is frequently dotted with public art, including brightly colored murals and sculptures. Well-trimmed bushes and trees line the pathway, and with condos and apartments lining the corridor, trail users are bound to see residents using the trail to catch the train, walk their dogs, or get to nearby destinations.

Currently, there is a gap in the middle of the trail (navigated via sidewalks,), just north of Carson Station, splitting the trail into two noncontiguous sections. As it stands now, trail users coming from the rail trail’s northern end must exit the protected pathway at East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (adjacent to the Charlotte Convention Center). To navigate the gap, turn left at East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and, in two blocks, turn right on South Caldwell Street, following the sidewalk along the busy roadway over the interstate to reach the southern half of the trail. The preferred on-road connection on either side of the tracks is also shown on the TrailLink map.

Parking and Trail Access

The Charlotte Rail Trail runs between E. 12th St. (Charlotte) and South Blvd. (Charlotte).

Parking is available at:

  • 210S S Brevard St (Charlotte)
  • 300 E 9th St (Charlotte)

Trail access is provided from any of the nine adjacent LYNX Blue Line light rail stations.

Charlotte Rail Trail Reviews

Great urban Trail

I ride this weekly one of my favorite. Very well traveled clean lots of breweries to stop and get a cold one. I Take it to the end near Uptown then get on the side walk on Morehead take it to Mint St around BOA Stadium then hit Irwin Creek Trail makes for a nice 10 mile ride.

Trail Disappears at Morehead

Nice walk from Scaleybark back toward the city to Morehead but then the trail disappeared. Very flat and good walking to that point. After that the trek through the city was precarious.

great ride

Park in Clanton road transit lot and enjoy an easy, smooth ride to Morehead. Good ride with access to many great restaurants

Well marked trail. No hills and nice view of the trolley blue line. Very nice ride.

Well marked trail. No hills and nice view of the trolley blue line. Very nice ride.


Stay South of Morehead

Only skate South of Morehead St. Anything North of that takes you through downtown, crossing streets and detours through town to link back up to the rest of the trail along the rail line.

Charlotte Trolley Trail

Flat, paved trail from downtown south through the South End. Nice on a fall or spring day. A little warm in the summer since there is little shade. The portion S of Remount is temporarily closed as of this writing due to residential construction.

Trolley Trail

Not at all well marked and major detour through the streets. Ride the trolley, skip the trail.

Temporarily torn up

"The trolley trail is temporarily torn up so they can construct accomodations for the light rail, which shares the trolley tracks. It will be well into 2007 before you can use it again. "

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