I'll admit that the first thing my daughter said when I told her we were going to play at a park on top of an old landfill was "eww."
To the best of my ability, I tried to explain to her about how the old North Wake landfill was closed off and covered. But I suspect she's not the first one to have that reaction or have questions about what's going on with all that garbage. After all, those trash-covered hills are what make North Wake Landfill District Park really stand out from your average park around here.
Wake parks director Chris Snow tells me that the county plans to answer some of those questions. Hopefully this summer, they'll post some interpretive signs about how the landfill works at points around the park, he said. I think that's a great idea. Park Review: North Wake Landfill District Park
The park opened last July after the more than two-decade-old landfill closed. Right now, you'll find a playground, trails, a shelter and an open play area. There also are two miles of mountain bike trails designed for beginner and intermediate skill levels and a mountain bike skills area with rollers and turns. Greenway access connects the park to neighborhoods in the area.
But there are bigger plans for the park, including discussions with Wake schools, which is interested in building a school there, and Raleigh parks, which is interested in part of the property for a community center and sports fields.
"We're all still talking about it right now. We're working towards it," Snow said.
Those future plans and others also will give the park a better face on Durant Road. Right now there is no sign for the park, just one for the landfill, which still accepts recyclables and some other materials. (You can actually do two things at once at this park: Take the kids to the park and get rid of that old computer or paint you've been meaning to unload.)
I took my daughter over there a couple of weeks ago when it was a balmy 29 degrees out. Other than freezing, she had a good time on the playground, which had a nice rope climbing structure for older kids.
Our favorite part of the park: The trail that takes you to the top of the hill. At the entrance to the park, across from the hazardous waste materials area, you'll find a parking lot and entrance to the trail. It's just a quick hike up the hill where you can get some good views of the area, including downtown Raleigh on a clear day.
North Wake Landfill District Park is open 8 a.m. to dusk 361 days a year. It's closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The park is at 9300 Deponie Dr. off Durant Road in north Raleigh. Follow the signs for the landfill.
Get a closer look at the park in the video.