10 Best Hiking Trails in Raleigh NC

Posted by Ryan Fitzgerald on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022 at 4:11am.

Best Hiking Trails Raleigh, NC

Are you searching for the best hiking trails in Raleigh? We have you covered with 10 of the best below!

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Without further ado, let's dive into the 10 best hiking trails in Raleigh!

10 Best Hiking Trails Raleigh, NC - What are the best walking trials in Raleigh?

William B. Umstead State Park

William B Umstead State Park Entrance

William B. Umstead State Park is one of the best hiking trails in Raleigh, NC thanks to its serene 5,599 acres quietly nestled between the areas focal points of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. Umstead park offers hiking, bridle (for you horse riders), bike trails, boat rentals, camping, picnic areas, and educational programs. Part of the East Coast Greenway which is a 3,000-mile-long system of trails connecting Maine to Florida runs through the Umstead park. 

Long before the first settlers, the area was an untamed land with American bison, elk, bobcats, and wolves roaming the forests. Native Americans later inhabited the land and trade avenues were developed which later led to the settlement of the area. The park would later be named after Governor William Bradley Umstead thanks to his conservation efforts.

Address: 8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

William B Umstead State Park Hiking Trail in Raleigh, NC

Blue Jay Point County Park

Located on the shores of Falls Lake, Blue Jay Point County Park offers fun for the whole family with hiking trails, playgrounds, grilling areas, ball fields, and educational gardens. It's a great park for kids with all there is to do! The 236-acre park's commitment to conservation and environmental education is accomplished through the number of educational exhibits. The hiking trails offer great views of the lake and other creeks that connect. You're likely to see a herd of deer passing by in Blue Jay Point County Park while you are hiking the trail so keep your eye out!

Blue Jay Point County Park also offers fishing for those of you who are interested in something more than just hiking trails. Along the shoreline of Falls Lake, you can cast a line into the water and enjoy some fishing. Blue Jay point also offers a summer camp for the kids!

Address3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614

Durant Nature Preserve

Durant Nature Preserve is a great hiking trail in Raleigh, NC with 237-acres of preserved woodlands offering hiking, lakes, wildlife, fishing, playgrounds, picnic areas, and mountain biking trails. With 6 easy hiking trails ranging from 0.6 miles to 3.4 miles, Durant Nature Preserve offers something for all ages and abilities. Many folks will take their dogs on their walk to Durant Nature Preserve.

Durant Nature Preserve is an awesome hiking trail for those who live nearby as they can walk right to the beginning of the trail and jump in on any of the 6 hiking trails. For families with kids, this hiking trail is highly recommended with it's easier trails. The park is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm.

Address8305 Camp Durant Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614

Lake Crabtree County Park

Lake Crabtree County Park Hiking Trails in Raleigh, NC

Lake Crabtree County Park is the first established county park in our area that offers visitors great hiking trails and all sorts of outdoor recreation. Sailing, boating, fishing, mountain biking trails, volleyball, playgrounds, picnic areas, and more.

The Lake Crabtree Loop Trail is a 10.2 mile heavily trafficked hiking trail that will be closed if the trail is muddy so call ahead! The hiking trail is filled with beautiful wildflowers and a bit harder than some of the easy trails found at Durant Nature Preserve. Dogs are welcome on the trail and the rule is they must be kept on a leash. It can be a bit rocky so be careful! The park is open from 8 am until sunset.

Address1400 Aviation Pkwy, Morrisville, NC 27560

Shelley Lake 

Shelley Lake is another one of Raleigh's top hiking trails. The trail is a 2.2-mile loop hiking trail that features a beautiful lake. It's a great hiking trail for hikers of all skill levels and abilities. This 145-acre park and 53-acre lake include fishing, biking, and picnicking along with one of the most scenic hiking trails in Raleigh.

Basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, and beautiful hiking trails. The Sertoma arts center offers exhibitions, studio spaces, group support, and community outreach.

Address: 1400 West Millbrook Road Raleigh, NC 27614 

Falls Lake State Recreation Area

Falls Lake State Recreation Area Lake and Hiking Trails

Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a large collective of seven access areas scattered along the shoreline of the 12,000-acre Falls Lake reservoir. There are a ton of different hiking trails around the like while also offering biking trails as well. With more than 300 campsites the outdoor experience ranges from RV hookups to primitive tent camping. There are a total of five swim beaches and a number of boating ramps. The Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, camping, picknicking, swimming and a whole lote more!

The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail is the focal point of the network of hiking trails at Falls Lake State Recreation Area.

Address: 13304 Creedmoor Road Wake Forest, NC 27587

Lake Johnson State Park

Lake Johnson State Park is a 500-acre park with a 150-acre lake that offers some of the best hiking trails in Raleigh. Along with the great hiking trails Lake Johnson State Park offers fishing, kayaking, paddleboats, canoes, greenway trails, public programs, boat rentals, indoor and outdoor facility rentals and a swimming pool. 

The lake/park offers great fishing for bass, shell cracker, crappie, bream, catfish and carp.

At Lake Johnson State Park there are opportunities for the entire family to enjoy along with some truly scenic hiking trails!

Address: 4601 Avent Ferry Rd. Raleigh, NC 27606

Art to Heart Trail (North Carolina Museum of Art)

North Carolina Museum of Art Hiking Trail in Raleigh, NC

While not necessarily a 'hiking trail' the North Carolina Museum of Art has put together a 5.9-mile paved trail that winds through the museum's scenic 164-acre park.

The Art to Heart Trail wraps around Meredith College, cuts through the main campus at NC State University, shoots by Pullen Park and will finish in Downtown Raleigh just outside the Duke Energy Center for the performing arts.

For those of you looking for some great social media photos, you'll find them here!

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607

NC Museum of Art to Heart Corridor Hiking Trail

Dorothea Dix Park

Dorothea Dix Park Downtown Raleigh, NC Skyline

Although not a hiking trail this is one of Raleigh's best parks. The views of downtown from Dorothea Dix Park are breathtaking. Dorothea Dix Park is Raleigh's largest city park that blends lush green landscapes with historic architecture in the heart of Raleigh.

Outdoor concerts are performed at Dorothea Dix Park including Raleigh's own J. Cole coming back to his hometown to perform at Dreamville.

What's more, is Dorothea Dix Park is embarking on an even more innovative and extensive Master Plan that was passed unanimously in 2017. If you've seen what the city of Raleigh did with Moore Square, you'll be excited to see what they have planned for Dorothea Dix Park. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and is another great spot for some special photos with the downtown Raleigh skyline backdrop and the beautiful sunflower gardens that come each year!

Address: Dorothea Dix Park 2105 Umstead Drive Raleigh, NC 27603

Sunflowers in Dorothea Dix Park Raleigh, NC

Neuse River Greenway Trail

Neuse River Greenway Hiking Trail in Raleigh, NC

The Neuse River Greenway Trail is a larger hiking trail at 27.5-miles of paved trail with lots of different features and scenic views of the Neuse River. Winding trails and areas through wetlands and historical sights make for a great hike. Also offered are canoeing, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, and more!

The Neuse River Hiking Trail also connects to the segment of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail for advanced hikers. It's a long-distance hiking trail that runs across North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer banks!

Address1721 Riverview Rd, Raleigh, NC 27610

Final Thoughts on the Best Hiking/Walking Trails in Raleigh

It may come as a surprise that Raleigh is one of the best areas for a great hike, walk, or bike ride. With countless parks and trails and a whole lot of scenery, you can find a great place to enjoy nature while exercising all over the triangle. If you're looking for more of an adventurous hike up a mountain there are plenty within driving distance. Challenging to get to the top, so worth the view though! 

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Ryan Fitzgerald Raleigh RealtyHi there! I'm Ryan Fitzgerald, a REALTOR in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the owner of Raleigh Realty. Chances are you and I share a similar passion, Real Estate! I also have a passion for building businesses, working out, inspiring others, technology, sports, and people. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram!

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