Long Trails of the Triangle: Neuse River Trail
Distance: 27.5 miles (connecting with an additional 5 miles of paved greenway into Clayton on the south end and with 60 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a natural surface hiking trail, along Falls Lake).
Surface: Paved greenway
Uses: Bicycling, running, walking
Family friendliness: Beware that the new trail’s popularity means it can get crowded, especially on weekends, and the variety of users using the trail at different speeds — from the casual 2 mile-per-hour walker to the 22 mph cyclist — means they (and you) need to pay extra attention.
Vibe: The Neuse River Trail extends from the base of the Falls Lake dam south to the Johnston County line. Part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the trail connects on the north end with 60 miles of natural surface trail along Falls Lake and on the south end with another five miles of paved greenway extending into Clayton. The Neuse Trail crosses its namesake river seven times, twice on suspension bridges. The trail is the spine of Raleigh’s 100-mile-long and growing greenway system; within the next year, the trail will connect to 15 miles of the Crabtree Creek Trail extending northwest to near Umstead State Park and 11 miles of Walnut Creek Trail, which runs through south Raleigh to N.C. State’s Centennial Campus and eventually will link to Lake Johnson.
Note: Less than a mile of the greenway — between the WRAL Soccer Complex and Horseshoe Farm Park — has yet to be completed. Anticipated opening is early 2014.
More info: GetGoingNC.com/Raleigh