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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

The American Tobacco Trail

Posted January 27, 2009 9:38 a.m. EST

A soft, wide and scenic path winding through a wall of Wake County pines near Apex.  Photograph by Bill Leslie.

What is your favorite trail? Please share your stories.

I’ve fallen in love with The American Tobacco Trail. It’s a perfect place for my rehabilitation following foot surgery. The Wake County side of the trail is wide, soft and scenic. I took the accompanying photograph of the trail in late afternoon near Apex when the sun was warm and golden. How many of you are familiar with this trail?

The master plan calls for the trail to stretch 22 miles from Durham to New Hill Road in Wake County. Right now you can enjoy a 6.5 mile leg of the trail in Wake County. Durham also boasts a paved and completed part of the American Tobacco Trail but I haven’t yet had the pleasure of walking or running that segment.

The American Tobacco Trail in Wake County can be quite lively depending on the time or day of the week. Equestrians use the trail as do walkers, runners, wheelchair users and bicyclists. The trail rules are pretty simple. Wheels yield to heels and everyone yields to horses. It seems to work pretty well. Keep in mind the trail passes through gamelands managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Several weekends ago the sound of gunfire from hunters was pretty loud on certain stretches of the trail. It’s not a bad idea to wear blaze orange during the fall hunting season.

Are there some other rails-to-trails projects that you like? Out of state, one of my favorites is the Virginia Creeper. What about you?