Falls Lake Trail (Mountains-to-Sea Trail) - Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a 51.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Wake Forest, North Carolina that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and canoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
We hiked out and back on sections 1 and 2 of the FLT / MST from the Falls Lake Dam to the end of Possum Track Road. - Section 1 starts at Falls Lake dam’s Tailrace Fishing Area, where it meets the Neuse River Trail (a paved trail that goes south along the river) and takes you on the south side of Falls Lake to Raven Ridge Road. Make sure you take a right as you meet the road (don't cross it because you'll get into the Honeycutt gameland trail which is gray blazed instead of white blazed), and go across the lake spur to the other side and connect with Section 2 that takes you to Possum Track road. Section 2 is known as the Raven Ridge Ramble, one of the older stretches of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Make sure you wear bright colors during hunting season as you'll be in and out of gamelands all along the FLT. While not really my kind of trail as it's a lot of hiking in the woods, it's best in winter when you can see the lake. For a New Year's eve hike, this was a good workout, about 14 miles or so.
More info on the FLT sections: http://www.ncmst.org/the-trail/mst-day-hikes/day-hikes-at-falls-lake/
Great trail for a workout.
Great undulating trails with nice tree canopy shade! Nicely challenging with changing views. Very similar to Umstead trails but with less creeks and streams. Didn't find much drinkable water for my dog though, creek are stagnant. I did enjoy my hike!
Super cool. Did the last segment (Falls Lake Dam), and it was easy and beautiful. Few people in the trail (just saw 3 people).
can't wait to get to the other sections
My husband and I have spent the last couple of months doing sections of this trail on Sundays. Lot of fun. Easy hiking. Some stretches are prettier than others. For most sections, we barely ever run into anyone else, maybe 1-2 people/couples.
Iron scout leg 2.. Awesome
Good trail, very easy walk
We hiked this section listed here today and another at the east end of the lake towards the dam yesterday. Yesterday's was prettier I think and made for a nice trail run as our 3 and 8 year old only did one way (3 miles) and I ran back to get the car. Both nice hikes but once is sufficient I think.
To update: The Mountains to Sea Trail in the Triangle now is continuous from Pleasant Green Road in Orange Co/Eno State Park to Falls Lake Dam. The Neuse River Greenway will soon be incorporated to add another 30+ miles to Clayton and Johnston County.
In reply to David Oh's post: Yes...Much of the the Falls Lake Trail (MST) does pass through NC Wildlife gameland tracts. However, hunting tends to be very minimal on the east of NC 50 as the trail pass more near roads and residential properties. Hunting tends to increase more west of NC 50 as the sections become more remote and follow around NC Wildlife field plots.
I have hiked the entire trail all through out the year, and have rarely came upon a hunter. There are sections of the trail that pass through State Park and city/county lands where hunting is prohibited.
To any and all hikers, just be wise and wear your blaze orange during hunting seasons.
With the completion of 100+ feet bridge over Lick Creek, the FLT is now a continuous footpath 61.8 miles long, that Randy mentioned below, runs from the dam on the east to Penny's Bend on the west.
The initial focus was to get the trail dug, which has been done, and now we are revisiting areas that still need bridges, but even without all the planned bridges, under normal circumstances you can walk the entire trail with little difficulty.
To address some of what David Oh said -- In some areas the trail does cross over Wildlife Game Lands where hunting is allowed in season. I have worked on this trail and been hiking this trail for almost 7 years and have only come across hunters or gunshots about 3 times. If you do hike in season, you should wear blaze orange. Check the NC Wildlife Commission website for specific hunting seasons, deer season being the one of most concern. If the trail did not cross gamelands, we would not have 60+ mile continguous trail right here in the Triangle.
David's "lame" comment is in itself lame. It does a disservice to a lot of hard work and a lot of time devoted by hundreds of volunteers who worked over many years to make this trail a reality. Even in hunting season, it is by no means a "death" trail. You just have to be aware of your surroundings and decide ahead of time if you want to hike bad enough to hike during hunting season. David took one thin slice of time in one thin slice of the trail and made a snap judgement about the trail as a whole. Not cool.
The trail unfortunately leads to a death trail. You end up hiking for about .5 mile and end up in a hunting zone where you hear gun shots. You are greeted by a hiker beware sign that warns hiking beyond the point can lead to serious injury or death!! WTF!. Ugh! Lame.
It is a nice easy/moderate trail, starting from NC 50 (Creedmore Rd) and heading east. Today, I got a late start, so I only did about 2 miles in before turning around. Not much to see other than foliage, and you can't use the trail (I wouldn't) during hunting season.
Just starting to do sections of the trail with the dog. The trail from the Baptist Road trailhead eastbound is in very good shape. No significant blowdowns, maintenance has been solid, markings are clear ('though I'd like the maintainers to settle on one color for the circle dots :) ). That blazing was always evident on the short 5k up and back we did. Crossed a newish looking bridge in excellent shape over one creek, and had a delightful view of the moon rising over the trees and into the broken cloud cover at dusk -- camera didn't capture it well.
I know the Lake fairly well and the only reason this wasn't 5 star wasn't the fault of the trail or terrain. In a mixed wooded second-growth area, there aren't a lot of vistas. I'm walking in the woods with occasional views of Falls Lake. I wouldn't say it's boring -- it's just not breath-taking. Really love the rolling hill terrain. Didn't see another soul, 'though we startled a dozen or more whitetail.
I enjoyed the first half of the trail. The second half of the trail is unmarked and over grown. It is also in a hunting area so hikers should be careful around hunting seasons.