Explore the most popular paddle sports trails in North Carolina with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Super Trail -
Easy on the body, might even recommend it for almost anyone!

The area is quiet, and the cover is thick for the most part, and we stayed cool and comfortable!

You'll love it

Excellent afternoon on the Trails - If you have never been here, and live within an hour of the park you are cheating yourself.
The trails is really an easy trail, and the hills are small and the terrain is forgiving...

For the most part the trail is well under a canopy of trees, and the breeze was consistent.
We lived in the Raleigh area years ago, and on a weekend getaway we decided to hit this park...
And so glad we decided to change plans and hit Umstead!

You will love all 11 miles - (We also took on Sal's Branch/Loop)
There is a trail here for everyone

Love to paddle this lake. Thick with duck weed and full of exotic looking little frogs it from a different time and place.

11 days ago

Nice and mostly shaded trail around the lake. Not too crowded on weekdays.

Would not recommend at all. it took me 30 minutes to find the trailhead. probably the worst trail ive ever hiked. There was probably 10 trails plus this one all in the same area. You will get lost a lot. Barely any markings.

love this park. wish more people were respectful of it. Seen alot of folks wandering off the trail, going up to Sugarloaf hill, and abusing some serious Trail rules. This place is a preserve and should be treated as such. Landmarks should be treated with respect. Please stay on the trails and preserve this state park so that other people can enjoy it for a lifetime, thank you.

Very nice hike - nice view from the Cone Manor, but most of the trail is a great walk through the woods and around the lake. We didn't know the trail as well as most - and since the trail really isn't marked clearly - it's easy to cut out the "maze" section of the hike and go up to the "apple barn".

Nice trail for a peaceful walk.

Pretty great! Lovely views of the lake and lots of beautiful trees around a river.
I really enjoy the hills in the unpaved section.
There was in fact quite a bit of foot traffic.

Not maintained at all. Had to double back numerous times to find the trail. Eventually I lost the trail completely and turned around. Lasted only about 1 mile. Will give it one more try and walk it. However my first impression is this trail is not worth your time.

Fun hike

Nice hike through the woods. Has a few small creeks to cross. Trail is easily marked.

Note: On military base/would need military access to enter.

Not a lot of folks on this trail, so it's very nice to run-jog-or walk and enjoy the outdoors.
The trail goes off into side trails that overlook a lake. The side trails are designed to lead you back into the main trail.
You can make the trail longer or shorter depending on where you start. I usually start at Wallace creek gym and loop back (approx 7miles).
You can from time to time see a variety of beautiful animals including deer, turtles and other interesting creatures.

(Anytime it's hot/primarily summer) beware of the insects!!! It's a jungle out there! Bring bug repellent if you plan to be adventurous during this time of the year! Make sure to spray yourself well enough, because those buggers can find the spot you didn't spray yourself on!

(Subjective con) there are parts of the trail where there are cars passing by (like the bridge) and it's quite annoying, but it's only a portion of the run, again depending on where you chose to start and end.

(This is where your nav skills come in) There are no clear signs, or postings that indicate where you are. However, there are distance markers.

Overall, it's a great trail if your sick of running on the treadmill and want to soak up some vitamin D!!!

Nice hike up and down a bigger hill. Little walk along the river on the other side and back.

Great hike, lots of time by the river. Moderate traffic.

Easy trail that follows along the Swannanoa River. About 6 miles round trip. Connects to other trails maintained by Warren Wilson College. Park at Charles Owen Park to access the east end of the trail. Got the river to your left and farmland to the right. Plenty of outlets to the river off trail. You'll run into a lot of the Warren Wilson students here...chillin' and smokin'. But nothing too spectacular.

on the water and with some forest/ trees but completely paved and over built.

Pleasant, easy trail. Not busy at all on a weekday morning. About half is walking along water which is very nice. Saw a big heron and turtle during our journey. Great low key hike.

I’ve been coming to this park since 2004 and it’s one of my favorite places in the Wilmington area!

Great moderate to hard hike that is easy to fit into a slow Saturday. Over half the trail meanders with the creek and it can get very rocky at times.

If you are bringing a dog make sure they are very well trained on the leash. There are plenty of great spots along the creek to climb around.

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!

1 month ago

An absolute must do if you are in the area. Easy and beautiful. If you have time go all the way to the french broad and don't forget to look at the remains of the logging town Runion. This is hike is great for all levels.

Soothing and relaxing trail walk/run with multiple trails. The dam was really cool.

1 month ago

This is a wonderful easy walk. The green trail is so unique. Dogs loved this walk. Lots of neat swamp views

Lovely, easy hike on wide, smooth trails. Gorgeous views at Cone Manor.

A nice place to stroll with my pup when I come to town

1 month ago

Great year round hiking spot, can be a little too busy during peak hours in the warmer months.

Very good walk for this 36 week pregnant mama

1 month ago

My husband and I had to visit Shelby NC today and we needed an afternoon adventure. This was a great trail to take our time and just enjoy a quiet afternoon in the woods. Although muddy due to the time of year (snow melting), we anticipated much worse. We actually found the trail quite easy with lots of areas to stop and rest along the way. I get in a lot of hiking on a regular basis but my husband has difficulties on most "hiking" adventures. He brought a walking stick with him and with the benches along the trail he was able to stop and rest when needed. Although we live an hour away we would definitely return for another visit.

I enjoyed it very much. It inclines, declines, woods, trees, the Eno River, maybe other bodies of running water, ice, snow, sun, shade, a bridge or two, and more.

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