nature trips

dogs on leash

Hours of relaxation await you at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Just moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Falls Lake is a great way to escape urban life. With a 12,000-acre lake and 26,000 acres of woodlands, Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers a choice of recreation areas Beaverdam, B.W. Wells, Highway 50, Holly Point, Rolling View, Sandling Beach and Shinleaf. Fishing, boating and swimming are only a few of the activities awaiting you on the water. On land, you can enjoy walking, mountain biking or camping along a portion of the state's Mountains-to-Sea Trail. From recreation to environmental education, no matter what you are looking for, you are sure to discover it at Falls Lake.

We went for tia hike after it rained last night, so the trail was a bit muddy, but it was still usable. Nice hike, gets your heart rate up a bit without anything too strenuous/challenging. Some nice views across the water at the end!

Nice MST section through the woods at Falls Lake, lots of ups and downs around the fingers of the lake. Good for trail running, dog walking, family outings. Park in the upper parking area of the Upper Barton Creek Boat Ramp area and trail entrance is to the east of the parking lot (looking uphill to the right). Can be muddy in spots after hard rains. During winter months you can see more of the lake. Some remote beach areas as well. Enjoy!

I tried running this in November. The trail is well marked, but a half mile into the run it crossed a stream that looked to be about 3-feet deep. It looked like it could be passable at certain time of year, but not in November. Had to turn around.

trail running
1 month ago

The Beaver Dam loops on Falls Lake are convenient and quiet, but not very interesting. I ran the West Loop (red) to the South Loop (blue). It was 10 miles in total. It was all single track and easy to follow, but it's crammed into a small parcel of land so it doubles back and around a lot, including up and down the steep hill at the edge of the lake over and over. After a while you feel like you're on a treadmill and it's kind of disorienting and boring. But it is a legitimate trail run.

Trail is washed out/flooded at 1.5 miles in from the gravel parking lot. Not very scenic and no view -can’t get to Falls Lake because of the high water. Quiet and no traffic tho - perfect if you want to get out and off the high trafficked trails

mountain biking
4 months ago

Easy trail with a few technical spots. Much more level than the other shorter trails.

6 months ago

Easy and fun, nice for a casual walk.

great trail for all skill levels!

This is labeled Outer loop at the trailhead. You can access several other trails here also. Well maintained. This is a bike trail so have to watch for bikes. We only had one group come by us though. There was a fee to enter park $7 per car.

I wouldn’t consider this moderate… It is a great trail lots of trees, flora and fauna. Do consider this a very nice trail close to home well worth the day

Great moderate run with solid mix of steep grades and gradual elevation changes. Not too much traffic so easy to get in the groove. Early mornings are the best. My dog definitely loves it!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I have hiked many parts of this trail numerous times. The Possum Track and Raven Ridge are my favs. It's usually not too busy either. Except for the catfishers near the roads, who leave their trash and the boats blasting trap rap in the summer time, this place is away from it all. A great escape and lots of options for short or long hikes.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pleasant easy walking on this pair of mountain bike loops at Beaverdam, Falls Lake. Parked up at the mountain bike trailhead. Crossed the road to the trailhead sign and followed the track on the right side, then signs for outer loop. Towards the end of the first loop, a connector showed a sign for West loop. There were quite a few cars parked up at the trailhead but we encountered only 4 cyclists in total so it was a relaxed hike in shaded forest skirting the lakeshore early on. Based on my GPS recording, the total mileage was just shy of 5 miles.
Entrance fee warning: See "The per-car fee is charged daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, holidays in April, May and September and on weekends".

Nice trail!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Great trail. Not heavily traveled. Easy trail. With great terrain

Nice day for a walk in the woods. Coolish temps and a light breeze. Not the typical steamy end of July weather! Jackie and I had a nice relaxing time. Just bought some new Keen Durand boots last night at REI and wanted to see how they worked. Nice and comfortable as expected.

mountain biking
Saturday, June 03, 2017

I thought this was a solid ride with a few technical attributes worth highlighting.

There are some tricky gullies that could be quite challenging. I walked several of them. I also found the abundance of roots commanded concentration. The last hazard worth mentioning is how narrow some to the gaps are between very small trees. It's easy to catch a handlebar.

The forest was beautiful. Several sections featured remarkable fern growth.

Some sections are better than others.

There are issues with dogs not on leashes. Most of the dogs are from the surrounding homes. Be prepared to protect yourself and bushwhack a bit as needed.

The trail itself is a fantastic way to challenge yourself on distance.

trail running
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Always a great place to run

Monday, January 02, 2017

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:

Sunday, December 04, 2016

It maybe the late Fall season, but this was the most boring trail I have been hiking. It is mostly flat and I saw no scenic view. While on the trail, all the sounds I heard were the planes from the sky, the cars from the road and the gun shots from the nearby fire range. Not recommended.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

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!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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.

mountain biking
Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beaver dam west loop is a mountain bike trail that connects to the south loop mountain bike trail. It is a fun, fast and a moderately technical trail. It can be used for hiking but it is primarily a MTB trail. Hikers should step aside for bikers. The south loop is 7 miles an a little more technical with a lot more climbing. Both trails are one way and once you start the south loop you are committed to the full 7 miles. These trails are some of the best in the greater Raleigh area. Trails are most always closed for one or two days after a rain.

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