Lake Johnson East Loop Trail

EASY 115 reviews

Lake Johnson East Loop Trail is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Raleigh, North Carolina that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.7 miles
157 feet

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly




mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

road biking

trail running






Lake Johnson trail is an easy 5.4 mile loop of paved greenway and unpaved hiking trail that circles Lake Johnson and offers multiple recreational activities in Raleigh, NC. The Lake Johnson trail includes a 3.5 mile paved greenway loop as well as a 1.9 mile unpaved loop plus another 1.0 mile of out and backs to scenic lake overlooks. Part of the paved loop includes a section of Walnut Creek Greenway Trail. The paved portion goes through the woods, along the lake and across the dam. The unpaved portion, a bit less traveled, goes to the headwaters of the lake. Both can cross the boardwalk across the lake to complete a figure 8 if you want. The trail has flat sections, hilly sections, sections into the woods and sections along the lake, offering quite a bit of diversity of terrain. Great place to get closer to nature in Raleigh!

2 months ago

Good trail to walk for exercise. Not a hiking trail per-se as it is paved more like a park trail, but great for walking and running. The back part of the trail near I-440 gets intense with some pretty big hills so be prepared. Great views of the lake and woods.

2 months ago

Puppy was scared of the bridge, but what a great view!

3 months ago

Best sunsets in Raleigh! This is a fun jog/hike that doesn’t take much time at all. Weekends are always more heavily trafficked but that just means more dogs to pet.

9 months ago

Good trail but very busy. It's nice and wide but wheelchairs may have difficulty with the second half as it's very steep. Elevation increase may only be 242ft but it does it up and down two or three times.

10 months ago

This trail feels more like a walk in the park than a hike. This trail does have a lot more natural terrain than the other loop. There are some nice views of the little lake. Not much incline or challenging areas, but a great place to escape for a little bit that's close to Downtown Raleigh.

10 months ago

Convenient walking/exercise for quick access, but usually busy, sidewalk sidewalk experience in the woods.

11 months ago

Super easy 3 mile loop. Love taking my pup out here for a great morning of exercise!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Great hike with my wife last weekend. Easy and well marked. We really enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Paved roads that skirt the edge of the lake most of the way around. It's an easy walk (minus a half mile section of intense hills) that can be completed in about an hour. I love walking here with friends as a way to just get outside, and I also love taking the solo run around the trail, too. Great getaway in Raleigh.

trail running
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Great trails for running, on and off road. Always a friendly environment and great views.

trail running
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Decent trail to go on evening walks and for running. Good for fishing near the bridge. The best part is canoeing/kayaking in summer.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Only one pitch that has vertical challenge. All paved as I recall.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

This trail is pretty cool. I brought my both of my boys here ages 3 & 4 and they enjoyed it. Yes it was an easy trail but we had fun and I am get reacquainted with the outdoors. Felt almost like home, Virginia. I will return.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

If you go left at the visitor center, the path is flat with views of the lake. Once you pass the dam with its great view (about a mile in), it gets hilly and you quickly move away from the lake. After 2 miles you start to hit very steep hills and no benches. Parking lot was very tight and crowded. Due to the steep hills, I would go right at the beginning if i ever make it back so you get that section done while you're still fresh.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Great trail. Using lots of people walking, jogging, and biking. Awesome

Sunday, May 08, 2016

I actually prefer the wooded trail as opposed to the paved section of the park. The paved section is way more crowded then I'd like. It's also great for your butt.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Used to hike this trail almost every week in college in the late eighties and early nineties. We would start at our apartment near Avent Ferry and Gorman, walk to the trail, do the trail and head home about 5 miles in all. After my dog died I didn't have the heart to ever hike it again. Her favorite phrase was "want go to the lake?"

Friday, March 25, 2016

It was pretty good a lot of bugs lol

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Very nice walk/run spot. A little crowded for my liking but over quite enjoyable

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Great walk good trails and beautiful scenery with plenty to watch

Friday, November 20, 2015

Trail is paved the whole way. Little long to go without a bathroom if you have kids. Wear good shoes, the trail has some hills.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Awesome trail

Monday, August 10, 2015

Love walking around this lake with my dog. It's a great way to stretch your legs. Can be crowded at times.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Refreshing getaway from cabin fever after the recent snow and ice events .... we decided to ice-trek around Lake Johnson on a cool day of 37 degrees. The paths were mostly full of patchy ice and snow, but there were many clear areas as well. This hike exceeded my expectations as from the map it appeared to be just a walk around the lake; the terrain is actually hilly in spots and trekking through the snowy woods turned out to be a great time. This trail is perfect for trail running, jogging, bicycling on the paved portion and just a great place to enjoy. Highly recommend this trail as a must do if you are local to Raleigh.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Great for walking with your kids, dogs, riding bikes or running. Can get overcrowded during the weekend & holidays, but that's mostly an issue with parking, not the trail itself. It is a more populated path than what I normally prefer, but still a nice quick get away.

trail running
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Over crowded, especially on the weekends and evenings.

trail running
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Every city should have a lake to run around. This is Raleigh's.

paddle sports
Monday, May 27, 2013

Nice paddle. Enjoyable picnic. Pleasant nature and scenery. Only downside is parking.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sometimes it's just nice to be outside even if it's in town. Was a bit long for my kids, but doable. Lots of runners and dogs on nice days.

Friday, October 19, 2012

There are two main sections of Lake Johnson trail. On the side of the road with the visiter's center there's a paved circuit of that end of the lake; I think it's about 3 miles. You can get off the pavement and follow a single-track trail nearer the shore of the lake if you prefer (it's unclear whether you are 'supposed' to be using this trail or if it was just made my curious hikers). The paved trail is very popular and very crowded on sunny days or right after work.

There's a second, dirt look on the other side of the road from the visiter center. One 'leg' of it is a very broad dirt walkway that gets quite muddy at the far end. That section ends at a 't' where going right leads you to a school or something, and going left leads along a straight, somewhat narrower track that runs behind some houses. The final leg cuts back towards the parking lot and is single track. You'll have to hop a small stream and be wary of tree roots. That said, it's my favorite part of the Lake Johnson circuit. I'm guessing this loop is about 2 miles.

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