Best Easy Day Hikes Raleigh-Durham  by Peter Reylek and Lauren Reylek

Best Easy Day Hikes: Raleigh-Durham Guide Book

by Peter Reylek and Lauren Reylek (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Raleigh-Durham  by Peter Reylek and Lauren Reylek
Best Easy Day Hikes Raleigh-Durham includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for sixteen easy-to-follow hikes in and around the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, area. Choose from riverside strolls, historical sites, wheelchair-accessible nature paths, family outings, or secluded getaways, all within thirty minutes of the cities.

© 2009 Peter Reylek and Lauren Reylek/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Raleigh-Durham" Guide Book
Displaying trails 16 of 16.

Displaying trails 1 to 16 of 16.

This loop trail begins with a self-guided interpretive hike, then strikes out for the shore of Falls Lake. Follow the lakeside, stopping for a great view before heading back for home. Wildflowers are especially common in spring months, and a garden area features native plants selected to attract wildlife. Blue Jay Point County Park covers a 236-acre peninsula on Falls Lake. The park’s longest trail is a 4-mile section of Falls Lake Trail, which itself extends beyond the park and is a part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Wake Forest, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.2
Cox Mountain Trail is a challenging uphill climb at the popular Few’s Ford access area of Eno River State Park. The trail begins at the Eno River, passing over a swaying suspension bridge. You’ll leave the crowds behind as you hike up Cox Mountain Trail. The trail levels out and becomes a relaxing stroll through open mixed deciduous/pine forests before an easy descent to a western section of the river. Take the long way back around Cox Mountain to head back toward the trailhead.
Hillsborough, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.8
This hike follows the shore of the Shearon Harris Reservoir for about 3 miles, then veers into the woods for the return leg. The highlight of the hike is a long series of switchbacks following the banks of the reservoir. The continuous elevation change is great for hikers looking for an extra challenge. The final leg of the hike passes the historic Womble Homesite, with marked points of interest.
Holly Springs, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.2
This beautiful preserve in southern Cary is one of the few places where you can see mountain plant species in the Piedmont. Begin your hike with the short Swift Creek Loop Trail, which offers magnificent views as it descends the bluffs. Then take a short walk to the Chestnut Oak Loop Trail, a longer wooded hike with several more scenic overlooks. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is named for its stand of eastern hemlocks, a species normally indigenous to the mountains. The eastern bluffs overlooking Swift Creek provide a cool, moist microclimate where mountain species thrive. The trails here are wide and well maintained. The beautiful Stevens Nature Center is the first thing you will see when you arrive at the park. The nature center features a native wildflower garden, as well as classrooms and exhibits. The surrounding gardens and first trail segments are wheelchair accessible, but the loop trails themselves are not, as they have stairs and some rough patches.
Apex, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.9
Yates Mill Park is one of the most pristine parks in the region and is home to a breathtaking diversity of plant and animal species. Begin your hike by crossing the pond boardwalk and exploring the nearby wetlands. Then return to the pond, where you’ll discover historic Yates Mill, the only operational gristmill in Wake County.
Raleigh, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.8
This former homestead area is predominantly flat, with a series of bluffs as you head south. The bluffs can be bypassed for an easier hike, but to fully appreciate this diverse forest you’ll want to climb the hill to reach the overlook. Dozens of tree species can be found in the preserve. Take your time and look for placards on many trees, a great introduction to tree identification. Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, formerly a homestead to the Johnston family for two centuries, was acquired by the Triangle Land Conservancy in 1999 and opened to the public in 2001. The 296-acre preserve is notable for its variety of tree species, many of which bear informational olacards to aid identification.
Chapel Hill, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.8
This loop trail around Lake Crabtree passes through woodlands, across an earthen dam, and through wetland areas. The hike’s varied terrain includes some steep climbs, providing photographers and nature lovers with great views and diverse sights. This 5.8-mile trek around 520-acre Lake Crabtree begins with a hilly, wooded walk on the northern side of the lake. The trail soon emerges into an open area on the lake’s eastern end and heads uphill toward the earthen dam. The trail becomes paved at the dam, and here the park connects to the Raleigh Greenway system. Take a scenic walk over the dam and continue to a footbridge where the unpaved trail resumes. The trail passes over some steep hills before settling into a flatter, easier area. As you reach the southern side of the lake, you pass through swampy areas. Keep an eye out for the gnawed trees and sticks indicating beaver activity in this section.
Morrisville, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.8
This hike begins with an easy wooded walk around the western side of Lake Johnson, then strikes out on a paved path to tour the eastern side. The last leg of the hike is a rugged footpath that closely follows the lakeside and features excellent views. The park’s interconnecting trails make it easy to choose alternate routes to suit any hiker. The 5.5 miles of paved and unpaved trails at Lake Johnson Park are an opportunity for beginners and experienced hikers alike to enjoy nature. The diversity of the trails is this park’s most striking characteristic.
Cary, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.9
This short self-guided nature hike offers an introduction to some of the region’s most important plant species. The trail begins with a wooded uphill climb and ends at the Laurel Cliffs with a spectacular view of the Eno River. A free guide available at the trailhead helps interpret the informational trail markers. This is a great hike for families, who may want to explore the other attractions offered at West Point on the Eno Park.
Durham, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 0.4
This rugged loop trail takes you to all four corners of Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area. The trail begins with a scenic hike winding up and down the mountain, with views of the surrounding forests and pyrophyllite mine. Lovely groves of rhododendron and mountain laurel make this one of the most unique hikes in the area.
Hillsborough, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.4
At the Pump Station access to Eno River State Park, you can explore the ruins of Durham’s first pump station, then take a long walk along the banks of the Eno River. Along this rugged trail you’ll see the remains of some of the earliest structures in Durham, including a dam, lodge, and Guess Mill. A varied geography makes this an interesting hike— you’ll ascend cliffs over the river and pass through flat, shady meadows.
Durham, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.2
This hike features a moderate uphill climb that passes through different stages of forest succession, changing from young pine forests in the low areas to mature mixed hardwood on the bluffs by Little River. A loop trail at the end takes you along the river before heading back. Little River Regional Park is a popular destination for fam- ily outings, with playgrounds, gardens, a paved nature walk, a short birding trail, and ample picnic facilities. The Ridge Trail provides a more adventurous experience, striking out for the far north of the park. The lower areas of the park were formerly cleared, so as you make your way up the Ridge Trail, you’ll see forest succession in action.
Rougemont, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.3
Sal’s Branch Trail is a great introduction to the 22 miles of hiking trails at William B. Umstead State Park. This loop trail runs downhill through pine forest and mixed hardwood forest. The far end of the loop passes Big Lake, where you can stop to rent a canoe, or just explore the banks before heading back uphill through beech forest. Take note of the quartz deposits common in the park.
Morrisville, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.5
This quick hike takes you through the highlights of Durant Nature Park in less than a mile. Begin with a stroll on the banks of Secret Creek, then visit the picnic area, playground, and boathouse. Finally, make your way to the Bird and Butterfly Garden and the Training Lodge. The trail ends at the parking lot near additional trailheads, giving you the option to continue exploring the park’s 5 miles of interconnecting trails on your own.
Wake Forest, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 0.8
This paved loop trail is a wonderful way to enjoy nature without venturing too far from civilization. The loop takes you on a stroll around 53-acre Shelley Lake, a nesting area for hawks, herons, geese, and ducks. Distance markers and workout stations along the path make this a perfect place to go for exercise. The park offers excellent wheelchair/stroller accessibility and amenities to make a great family trip.
Raleigh, NC - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.8
Swift Creek Bluffs is a twenty-three-acre nature preserve tucked away in southern Cary. The preserve extends along the south bank of a 0.5-mile section of Swift Creek, where the bank is dominated by a series of bluffs supporting a diverse ecology. This hike follows the creek toward the bluffs, ending with fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. The return leg crosses a boardwalk over a swampy area and passes through mature deciduous forest.
Cary, NC - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 1.2
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