If you’re on the lookout for an escape in the Research Triangle, there are such a lot of hikes near Raleigh and Durham (also, Chapel Hill!) to add to your bucket list. And with this wealth of choices, we thought you might want a hand in selecting one to start with.
So that’s why we’ve included our favorites, from laid-back walks to extra intense state park trails that require some heart-pounding cardio. And to assist extra, we’ve added a point out of each trail’s declare to fame. That method, you’ll know exactly what you’re stepping into earlier than heading out.
We’ve broken these hiking trails down by place to maintain issues organized for you. The part covering Raleigh hikes is just below the map and you may leap to Durham and Chapel Hill sections by selecting the corresponding hyperlink:
* Raleigh Hikes
* Durham Hikes
* Chapel Hill Hikes
Read More: 100+ Hiking Trails in North Carolina
Hiking Near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill
Hiking In and Near Raleigh NC
Our information first takes us to North Carolina’s capital city, the place greater than a hundred and eighty miles of hikes await in Raleigh and its surroundings. Here are a few of our favourite locations to hike, stroll, and bike around Wake County.
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Art to Heart Trail
Perfect For: Strollers, Running, Bike Rides, Art lovers
One of our absolute favourite trails in Raleigh is the Art to Heart Trail. Starting on the North Carolina Museum of Art (pictured above) and weaving by way of town to downtown Raleigh, this trail passes some truly stunning landmarks.
Along the means in which before ending within the heart of Raleigh, the virtually 6-mile paved trail goes previous Meredith College, NC State University, and Pullen Park.
Read More: Things to do with youngsters in Raleigh
Fred G Bond Park
Perfect For: Boating, Walking, Jogging, Biking, Picnics
At 310 acres, Cary‘s Bond Park is probably one of the largest municipal parks in Wake County. With a 1.5-mile trail looping round Bond Lake, a man-made freshwater lake, biking and jogging are very fashionable in the Spring and Fall months.
With greater than 4.2 miles of trails, a boathouse, and a Community Center, Bond Park really is a cornerstone within the Cary neighborhood.
Read More: Things to Do in Cary
Green Hills County Park
Perfect For: Running, Biking, Views
As a former landfill turned green house, Leslie Knope would be so pleased with Green Hills County Park. This 73-acre green space has 1.8 miles of paved trails and a pair of miles of mountain biking trails. There’s also a brief and steep rocky climb that gives a 360-degree view of Wake County and the downtown Raleigh skyline.
This park additionally connects to the Neuse River Greenway, which we’ll mention more about shortly!
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Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
Perfect For: Slow walks, Summer shade, Families
The three miles of trails at Cary’s Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve aren’t the only draw to this superior forest. This 140-acre park incorporates almost 200 Eastern Hemlock trees which are something of an anomaly for the realm. There can be a fantastic children’s area, a cool recycled art backyard, and the three,700-square-foot Stevens Nature Center right here.
Back to hiking, you can select from the Chestnut Oak Loops (1.2 miles), Swift Creek Loop (0.8), Beech Tree Cove (0.9), West Hemlock Overlook (0.7). The Hemlock Bluffs is a good hike near Raleigh!
Read More: The Mayton in Cary (+ 7 Things We Love About Staying Here!)
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Perfect For: Hiking, Trail Running, Shade, Water Views
While there are numerous paths along the 14,000-acre reservoir often known as Jordan Lake, one of the well-liked and challenging ones is the New Hope Trail. Two loops of observe are a 5.4-mile red one and a more strenuous 2.7-mile blue loop.
Hikers and trail runners will see unimaginable views of Jordan Lake whereas enjoying the shady hardwood forest.
Read More: Day Trips from Raleigh
Lake Crabtree Trails
Perfect For: Picnics, Cycling, Families
Lake Crabtree County Park is the first county park and home to a few of the most stunning nature that Raleigh has to offer!
The Lake Trail is a six-mile loop that serves as each a forest escape and a cycle-friendly greenway. In addition to the six-mile loop, Lake Crabtree additionally includes 10 further miles of multi-use paths that are perfect for mountain biking!
Even should you didn’t convey a bike, ensure to pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful lake views here.
Read More: Day Trips from Durham
Lake Johnson Park
Perfect For: Slow Walks, Dogs, Trail Running
With a three-mile paved greenway loop and two miles of unpaved trails, Lake Johnson Park near NC State University is a tremendous outside escape in Raleigh! The most lovely and must-see spot right here is the 700-foot-long boardwalk that cuts across the lake.
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Neuse River Greenway
Perfect For: Biking, Long Runs, Families
Stretching from Falls Lake in North Raleigh to the Wake County line, we first explored the Neuse River Greenway Trail when attempting to find sunflowers. While that enjoyable has since moved to Dorothea Dix Park, the 27.5-mile-long Neuse River Greenway nonetheless offers tons of space to get pleasure from yourself!
Weaving by way of the countryside, over suspension bridges, and across the beautiful Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve, the Neuse River Greenway is a gem collection of Raleigh trails.
If you’re missing a bike, start at the Falls Lake Trailhead and visit The Bike Guy for a rental!
Read More: 50+ Easy Day Trips from Fayetteville (Great Getaways!)
Shelley Lake Park
Perfect For: Sunset, Families, Walking, Running
Perfect for walkers and joggers, Shelley Lake Park is a partially shaded two-mile loop in North Raleigh. Nice and flat, this trail in Raleigh is ideal for a sundown stroll!
You can begin your walk from the parking zone subsequent to the trail or connect through the Sertoma Arts Center trail parking zone.
Read More: Date Night in Raleigh: 16 Romantically Paired Activities in Oak City
William B Umstead State Park
Perfect For: Trail Running, Mountain biking, Shade
The 5,000 acres of William B Umstead Park hosts some of the finest hiking trails near Raleigh. Umstead’s 13 miles of multi-use paths are excellent for horseback driving, jogging, and biking, however they’re solely the start of this park.
More than 22 miles of foot traffic hiking trails await, with a lot of them flat. However, some rolling hills be a part of the combination for a more mountain-like experience at instances.
Personally, we advocate hopping on the Graylyn Multi-Use Trail to find the chainsaw art! Our guide to Umstead outlines precisely the method to attain it and revel in the whole park in more detail!
Hiking Near Durham NC
Many of those hiking trails near Durham encompass the city’s residential areas, Duke University, and others lie across the outskirts of town. Many of them have been additionally included in our information overlaying free things to do in Durham.
Al Buehler Trail
Perfect For: Running, Jogging
While on Erwin Road, you’ll pass a busy park lot near the Duke Faculty Club that results in some of the in style operating trails in Durham. The nearly three mile gravel trail loops around the Washington Duke Golf Course and has challenging hills.
This trail isn’t for strolling and definitely for these seeking to get their coronary heart pounding!
American Tobacco Trail
Perfect For: Walking, Running, Biking, Strollers
While the American Tobacco Trail crosses Durham, Wake, and Chatham counties, we decided to include it within the former part of hiking trails. The 22.6-mile trail is 10-feet extensive and principally paved.
It follows the old CSX railroad, with the north finish beginning in downtown Durham at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The south finish begins in New Hill, Wake County.
Perfect For: Walking, Familes, Running, Shade
When we first moved to Durham, our condo backed as a lot as an entrance to Duke Forest. It was an absolutely lovely method to spend weekend mornings strolling the trails with a scorching cup of espresso.
Duke Forest is managed by Duke University and consists of over 7,000 acres of forested land. In order to get a full view of the trails, you’ll need to order their recreation maps, but generally you can find entry factors alongside Whitfield Road, Erwin Road, Mt. Sinai Road, and Highway 751.
Eno River State Park
Perfect For: Hiking, Walking, Families, Swimming, Fishing
With greater than 30 miles of hiking trails at Eno River State Park, you can assure an exquisite escape in nature. With a number of entrances, each trail is exclusive and offers something completely different.
We love all of Eno River State Park’s trails, but listed right here are a few locations we love. Our favourite trails embrace Buckquarter Creek (pictured above), Cole Mill, and Cox Mountain. The latter includes a cable suspension bridge that crosses the Eno.
The Eno deserves a special shoutout in our information overlaying issues to do with children in Durham!
Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)
Horton Grove Nature Preserve
Perfect For: Walking, Hiking, Photography, Families
Horton Grove Nature Preserve is good for walking and hiking, and a unbelievable kid-friendly trail. The zero.eight mile That Makes Sense Trail includes informative indicators which are each enjoyable and educational! Level up and print out their Scavenger Hunt earlier than you go for even more fun!
There are more than eight miles of trails to discover at Horton Grove. It’s the Triangle Land Conservancy’s largest preserve and a beautiful nature oasis in North Durham.
West Point on the Eno
Perfect For: Families, Picnics, Playing in the River, Photographs, Boating
With 404 acres of wooded land and top-of-the-line entryways to the Eno for wading, West Point on the Eno is a well-liked Durham hiking spot. A 1778 working grist mill, a dammed stretch of river, and a steel bridge that provides incredible views of the park are just a half of the fun.
Stop by and you’ll see why we think West Point on the Eno is ideal for families or an escape from town. And if you’re looking for even more fun, rent a ship from Frog Hollow Outdoors at the Outpost!
Hiking In and Near Chapel Hill NC
You’ll love these hiking trails in and near Chapel Hill. Some sit proper near the campus of UNC whereas others are scattered round Orange County, together with in and round Hillsborough.
Perfect For: Families, Strollers, Walking, Biking, Running
Starting on the Chapel Hill Community Center, Bolin Creek Trail is one of our favourite walks in the space. The paved 1.5-mile trail weaves through the backyards of Chapel Hill residences, however not too close for consolation.
We really enjoy burning off some steam at the playground earlier than hitting the trail! Don’t neglect to take a pit stop off the trail for some scrumptious coffee from Caffé Driade. You can access the trail from Driade’s rear entrance.
Brumley Nature Preserve
Perfect For: Families, Biking, Hiking, Walking, Shaded, Water Views
Two miles south of Hillsborough but technically in Chapel Hill, Brumley Nature Preserve is a wooded collection of 613 acres. Divided into two sections (North and South), there are over 15 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore!
If you’re into biking, check out Brumley South. Both accesses enable all guests, however Brumley North is particularly meant for hiking.
Carolina North Forest
Perfect For: Walking, Biking, Hiking, Trail Running, Shade
Located on UNC’s North campus, Carolina North Forest features 750 acres of wooded land to explore. Slip away from the hustle and bustle of Chapel Hill to this wooded wonderland!
The almost four mile long Wormhole trail is a nice one on the aspect on the aspect near the former Horace Williams Airport. It’s a wonderful approach to spend a morning in Chapel Hill.
Perfect For: Walking, Running, Strollers
Stretching virtually 2 miles from Dimmocks Mill Road to Gold Park, the Riverwalk is likely considered one of the hottest things to do in Hillsborough. Wandering alongside the Eno River, this greenway is perfect for households.
When she was 2 weeks old, it was even the primary out of doors trail we took our newborn on!
Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail
Perfect For: Strollers, Running, Families
A actually hidden hike in Orange County is the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail! The mile-long oval loop (Speedway Trace) was the primary NASCAR Superspeedway and was also considered some of the dangerous tracks.
Today, you possibly can see remnants of a quantity of cars, the stands, and stroll the broad tree-covered path that once made racing historical past.
Hollow Rock Nature Park
Perfect For: Walking, Hiking, Families, Trail Running
While comparatively small in size, Hollow Rock Nature Park is a superb spot! Nearly hugging the Durham county line, this Orange County park options two main trails that are each underneath a mile lengthy and principally flat.
It’s also a great park to hyperlink to Durham’s Duke Forest trails.
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
Perfect For: Trail Running, Families, Water Play, Nature
With related terrain, it’s easy to consider Johnston Mill Nature Preserve as the Eno River State Park of Chapel Hill. The 296-acre property maintained by the Triangle Land Conservancy is distinct from its state park brethren, with a lovely variety of scenes waiting for you.
Here, you probably can comply with the creek, take heed to the roar of the water, and truly find yourself amongst the timber. There are roughly 3-1/2 miles of trails, but you probably can cowl lots of it in quick-time!
Morgan Creek Trail/ Fan Branch Trail
Perfect For: Families, Some Strollers (Partially Paved), Walking, Jogging
Less than a mile long, but worth the drive, Morgan Creek Trail is an attractive paved trail that ends on the group space Merritt’s Pasture. Parking is available off of Fordham Blvd.
You can even hook up with Fan Branch Trail from this one to extend your walk! Fan Branch Trail is 1.6 miles and leads to Southern Village, making it a incredible trail to finish with a meal.
On the flip side, it’d be great to begin at Fan Branch and stroll it off toward Morgan Creek. Your choice!
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
Perfect For: Hiking, Trail Running
Conveniently located near I-85, Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is a incredible trail near Durham and Hillsborough. With a 350-foot change in elevation, Occoneechee Mountain has one of the only true mountain peak overlooks in the area.
The 2.2-mile Mountain Loop results in that overlook. You’ll also get pleasure from a peaceable stroll along the Eno River on this trail.
We assume these hiking trails are the proper approach to benefit from the outdoors in the Triangle. And whilst you may not discover sweeping mountain vistas in this part of Central North Carolina, these parks provide lots to explore and tons of miles to be logged.
If you’ve explored these hiking trails near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, we’d love to know your favorites. Let us know within the feedback and if there’s one (or more) we have to add, be happy to inform us We’re all the time pleased to research by exploring our awesome state!
More Hiking in North Carolina