Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Greenway Gallop

Posted September 23, 2008

One of these days when the rigors of my career in electronic journalism ease a bit I plan to hike the Appalachain Trail from beginning to end. It's a dream that began when I was a young boy. For now I’ll have to settle on something a little less exciting but still quite enjoyable.

I’ve embarked on a mission to hike and/or run all of the greenway trails in the Triangle this fall. Autumn is the perfect time to get out and see the beauty around us. The temperatures are cooler and the air is drier and invigorating.

Okay, I’m just getting started on my Greenway Gallop. Over the weekend and yesterday I tackled three trails with my wife Cindy. We hiked the wonderful trails of Hemlock Bluffs in Cary. You really get the cool shady feel of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Hemlock located near Lochmere just off Kildaire Farm Road. The trails of Hemlock Bluffs are two miles in length and cushioned by a thick layer of mulch.

We also tried the scenic 2.5 Black Creek Greenway in North Cary. Our only complaint was all of the bicyclists whizzing by but most were courteous and let us know they were passing on the left. The terrain is beautiful and the trail follows a creek down to Lake Crabtree. At this point we took a left and hiked part of the Lake Crabtree County trail.

Monday we laced up and drove to Kids Together Park on Thurston Drive near the intersection of Cary Parkway and Tryon Road. It was a thrill to walk across the pedestrian bridge spanning US1/64. Does anyone know when the bridge will be decorated with art? On the other side of the bridge we plunge into the verdant Hinshaw Greenway and make our way up to Maynard Road. The trail was almost empty. The combined route and return trip produced a little more than an hour of hiking.

Today I think I’ll do Lake Johnson. I’ve done this one a million times but it is always fun except the afternoon I got lost on the unpaved portion!

Where should I go next? Feel free to tell me where to go! And share your favorite greenway stories.


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  • ncwebguy Sep 25, 2008

    The American Tobacco trail going south from the DBAP has sections of natural and city life, though it stops near NC 54 and I-40 around Fayetville Street. I don't remember how long that section is distance wise, but it follows the old train tracks, so it is an easier walk.

  • ncwebguy Sep 25, 2008

    The Rocky Branch greenway through NC State campus is really close to the Big 5 studio, and there are signs about their stream/wetlands restoration, etc.

    The NC Museum of Art is an open, gentle trail with a few interesting art pieces along the way. The section that crosses 440 to Meredith is steep in sections, and is more of a hike than a walk, but it is all paved. The view from the bridge reminds you of just how dependent we are on automobiles around here. The Meredith College side is mostly flat but not too interesting.

  • Opinionated One Sep 23, 2008

    Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, Cliffs of the Neuse near Seven Springs, and Clemens State Forest in Clayton are some great places for walking/hiking

  • k8ered Sep 23, 2008

    White Oak Creek greenway---be sure to check and see if there are any beavers building dams!

  • missparrothead Sep 23, 2008

    I've heard that Raven Rock State Park near (or in) Lillington has some good trails. Not too far away.

  • bleslie Sep 23, 2008

    Hemlocks is an excellent choice and best for walking.

  • Bubbette Sep 23, 2008

    I agree with the White Oak section. You can walk from Bond Park all the way to the Tobacco Trail.. one section from the cary greenway to the tobacco trail is not finished and is roadway. Hey, I'll even let you park at my house : ) There is parking at the Tobacco Trail as well. Lots of bike and foot traffic. It makes for a healthy day.

  • mom24 Sep 23, 2008

    What a great idea! I've been looking for ways to entertain my kids on a tight budget. I think we'll start with Hemlock Bluffs. Are there certain trails that are better for walkers?

  • mcmags Sep 23, 2008

    We live near the White Oak section of the Cary greenway system. The trees are tall and it is a lovely, peaceful walk. When you are going through the West Park neighborhood, you can stop off at the nearby shopping center for a meal at The Loop. There are houses all along this greenway, but wildlife abounds. We have seen deer, foxes, racoons, snakes, muskrat(in the pond)-really!. There are lizards, rabbits, and multitudes of birds. Have fun!

  • lefty-from-Cary Sep 23, 2008

    I hike the trails in the Oxxford Hunt subdivision and Bond Lake park in Cary several mornings a week. One hour a day has lost me ten pounds over the last three months. It's a great way to start the day!




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