Walnut Creek to Neuse River Trail: a new escape from downtown

This past weekend a customer at Oak City Cycling Project informed me that the Walnut Creek Greenway connection to the Neuse River Trail had recently opened. Today I had the perfect window of time to ride a new exploratory route before the freezing rain arrived. I was amped to get out and spin my legs for a couple hours rambling through new territory. Here’s my machine:

Walnut Creek Downtown
All-City Macho Man Disc striking a pose
Cycling the Walnut Creek Trail from Mordecai to the Neuse River and back is about 23 miles. This section provides an awesome greenway link connecting Umstead State Park, the North Carolina Museum of Art, NCSU, Downtown and Southeast Raleigh to the Neuse River Greenway.
Raleigh Greenway Walnut Creek Neuse River
map showing connection from Walnut Creek to Neuse River sections

 

Just south of Chavis Park in Downtown, Little Rock Trail intersects with the Walnut CreekGreenway. The ramp from the road to the greenway is new. Before you had to hop the curb.This is looking north back towards downtown. The green painted arrows pointed the way to the new greenway section.

new curb cut for the trail
new curb cut for the trail
The Walnut Creek Wetland Center is the landmark for the beginning of the Walnut Creek
Greenway. This is an LEED certified building designed by Frank Harmon. It boasts the longest
back porch in the Southeastern United States. Seriously. Go by there and sit on a rocker and
enjoy yourself. It’s a gorgeous City of Raleigh facility designed to protect the nearby
watershed.
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
The paved trail rambles east along Walnut Creek, through Apollo Heights, Worthdale Park
and the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Walnut Creek Greenway
Walnut Creek Greenway
There’s an impressive wooden bridge to traverse.
walnut creek bridge
After crossing under the I-440 via greenway tunnel, the path becomes gravel! It was fresh
and really fun to rip through on a cyclocross bike.
gravel grinding
gravel grinding
I recommend at least a 28mm wide tires for this section and and Ass Saver to keep your butt clean if conditions are wet. This segment will be paved in a few years once the City completes some sewer work. For now, those folks who love gravel can eat their hearts out; it’s a great time!  Along this section of trail I skirted the Walnut Creek Amphitheater and crossed New Hope and Barwell roads ending at the Neuse River Greenway. You can tell how long this area has been untouched. Take a look at this 7-up bottle along side of the trail. That’s gotta be as old as me!
greenway fossil
greenway fossil
The Walnut Creek Greenway is an awesome jaunt out of the city where you won’t encounter
many automobiles and you will encounter complete silence at times. I saw a hawk swoop
down from a tree and a fox ran across my path. Yes, a real fox. I even tweeted about it
and Raleigh Parks and Rec had a fun response:
Raleigh Parks tweet
What did it say?
There’s a fantastic junkyard of forgotten buses and automobiles near the trail as well. Some
sweet nooks to discover.
walnut creek junkyard bus
For a moment, I thought I was Alexander Supertramp. I’m stoked for the completion of the
Crabtree Creek greenway as well. The new segment will connect  greenway north of
Downtown with the Neuse River Trail.  Soon you’ll be able to make a huge loop from
downtown enjoying miles of protected greenway and beautiful creeks and river. Take a
couple hours to explore this  greenway and it’s big sister the Neuse River Greenway trail; you
won’t regret it.

5 thoughts on “Walnut Creek to Neuse River Trail: a new escape from downtown”

  1. Thanks for the update! It’s good to see pics of the new section. I had so much fun exploring and mapping the the Neuse River Trail the last couple years. I’ve reflected this new Walnut Creek section on my GoogleMap of the major triangle greenways which I’m trying to keep updated from China!

    See here: http://goo.gl/maps/2inpt

  2. how much of the walnut creek greenway is paved ? i got onto the the walnut creek trail from the nuese river trail but the paved portion was only about 2.5 miles before it went to gravel. how far does the gravel go before there is more paved greenway?

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