Explore the most popular birding trails near Raleigh with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great day for a hike, went down Company Mill Spur from the Harrison entrance to Umstead, crossed the bridge and started the loop counterclockwise. Took the 1 mile shortcut via the Reedy Creek crushed gravel multi-use trail and rejoined the Company Mill at the top of the big hill, where there are nice benches near a historic graveyard for water, a snack and a quick rest. Nice trail for trailrunners, dog walkers, and children, seems a bit crowded on the weekends. Upon the return went over to the dam area and spotted a 5 foot long water snake sunning on a rock. Although I've been on this trail many times, there always seems to see something new to see on this trail, one of if not the most popular trail in Umstead State Park.

Beautiful spot. So near the airport but rarely heard planes. Lots of wildlife to be seen and heard. The loop was moderate as advertised. It was a welcome diversion after work!

8 days 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.

hiking
9 days ago

Great spot to take the pups. Had tons of fun playing in the river and he got to see some squirrels as well!

hiking
12 days ago

Best 82 year birthday present ever from hiking buddy James. First time around loop counterclockwise. Back part along Sycamore Creek was a challenge. Recharged on downhill stroll back to iron bridge then huffed and puffed back up to parking lot. Thanks to all for such a treasure!

Really good workout, tackled this from the Harrison Road entrance, starting at the far end of the first parking lot to the left. Down hill to Crabtree Creek, then went clockwise up Company Mill trail to the stone bridge on the Graylyn trail, and crossed over to take the Sycamore Loop counter-clockwise and back to the bridge and back out Company Mill. Lots of trail runners, people walking their dogs, quite a bit of traffic. Came across about a six foot black snake. Trail has some good rolling ups and downs, offers a great sampling of Umstead Park.

on Sal's Branch Trail

hiking
13 days ago

One of my favorite trails at Umstead. In general, the trails on the northern side of Umstead provide more solitude. If you arrive on the weekend, you'll see a parking lot full of vehicles but once you hit the trail, you'll find it not to be too busy. I'm convinced half of the hikers fall into a deep hole somewhere and oddly I'm okay with that as long as I'm not next. :) The trail is wide and easily passable. Not very rustic so you can enjoy the beauty surrounding you. Since the airport is nearby, you'll hear planes taking off. My doggy and I have seen deer here which excite him and the trail bypasses a small lake which brings in a couple fisherman. The visitors center is welcoming and provides a nice history on the park, restrooms, and sells shirts at a reasonable price.

Nice wooded trail. Will hike this trail again.

trail running
16 days ago

Well maintained trail, can take jogging strollers and dogs/kids friendly. Make sure to have the bug repellent on before start.

trail running
17 days ago

This trail shows up on Google but it probably shouldn't. Even the Raleigh Parks website doesn't go into detail with a description or a trail map other than the words "unpaved". Starts as a decent grass trail near PNC. Once you cross the road, it get's pretty rough and very muddy. Last time I ran, you had to go under an overpass but the water was high enough that you couldn't cross without getting soaked.

Nice short hike, this is half of the Sycamore Trail through the woods and along the creek and is cut in half by the Graylyn multiuse trail. The Sycamore trail is a great sampling of all Umstead has to offer and Graylyn can be used by mountain bikes, hikers and horses, mostly made up of crushed and loose gravel. What gave this a four today was the wonderful wood carving at the top of the Graylyn hill. Nice surprise. About 3 miles.

hiking
26 days ago

Nice trail thru the woods. Would definitely hike this again!

Everything you could want. Awesome art indoors and out and trails! Loved this place.

Great trail to clear the mind!

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail!! Well marked and great for dogs.

hiking
1 month ago

Took the dogs and the 8 yr old on a rainy day. Had basically the whole place to ourselves. When the downpours came we were covered by trees so barely even noticed. It was a long 7 miles with the older dog and the kiddo but I along with the pup could have kept going. Quite a few roots to look out for if youre running it but a pretty easy hike, just long. It is really nice to have something do quiet and secluded right in the heart of Raleigh.

trail running
1 month ago

I really enjoyed this trail. Very well marked!! I was surprised, however, when the park didn't open until 0700.

Nice track and distance

on Shelley Lake Trail

1 month ago

Great trail for all level of hiker. Lots of people but beautiful. There is even an active eagles nest.

Easy hike. Nice during the week - few people around.

hiking
1 month ago

Walked this trail with my family. What an amazing place. The art is beautiful and the trails are very easy. Would suggest this place for anybody with a love of art or nature.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy hike through the woods with negligible elevation gain/loss. Took the side trail to get closer to the lake, the only exposed portion of our hike. You're walking along the power lines so not the prettiest view but I love being around any body of water so still worth it. No change in mileage to take the side trail to the lake instead of staying on Sal's Branch. The side trail will take you to the boat launch before the trail turns back to Sal's Branch. Good if you want a quick hike when you do not have a lot of time.

I love Umstead. this is an easy to get to trail that is too busy on weekends, but pretty quiet on weekdays. You can wander off trail and find lots of cool spots to hang out.

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail! It’s so close to our house and my step son just loves to ride his scooter around the lake. It’s a high traffic walk but everyone is very friendly. Great for bikes, fishing, walking, having a picnic

Loveee this trail! You see so many cool things along the way! Worth it and quite a work out!

no pets is stupid

follows a nice creek with small waterfalls and lots of chances to get close to the water.

cool chainsaw art on giant fallen tree on graylyn trail about 1 mile from parking lot

Whoopsie...wrong trail :) Go the extra mile for the full loop. It’s worth it!

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