20 miles of singletrack trail

Umstead State Park offers Triangle runners the best of both worlds. Runners of all persuasions take advantage of the 13 miles of finely crushed gravel bike & bridle trail found in the 5,600-acre park (see related entry). Trail runners have another 20 miles of hiking trail to work into the training mix.

From the park’s Reedy Creek entrance off I-40 at Harrison Avenue there are two popular options: The Company Mill trail descends for a mile, over three gentle ridgelines to Crabtree Creek, offering a nice warm-up. There, a loop, take runners through maturing forest on a rolling trail that’s often rooty and rocky: watch your step. Company Mill alone is 5.8 miles, tack on the Inspiration Loop Trail near the start for an even 6.

Another option from the Reedy Creek entrance: the Loblolly Trail, which runs 2.7 miles to the park boundary. Return on it for a 5.4-mile run or make your way back using the Turkey Creek and Reedy Creek bike & bridle trails.

From the Park’s entrance off U.S. 70/Glenwood Avenue, a popular option is the Sycamore Trail, a 7.2-mile lollipop loop that takes runners to the center of this urban forest. Some nice, prolonged, climbs. Other shorter options can be found on this side of the park, most notably the 2.75-mile Sal’s Branch Trail, a gently rolling run that’s well-suited for newbies.

A nice, long run: combing the Company Mill and Sycamore loops, which will result in about a 10-mile trip.

More info: Umstead State Park

Maps: Downloadable map available here, also available at trailhead.

Getting there from downtown Raleigh
Difficulty: moderate
Distance: 20 minutes from downtown
Time to complete: 2 – 3 hours
Address: 8801 Glenwood Ave.
City: Raleigh
State: North Carolina
Zip: 27617
Latitude: 35.8905
Longitude: 78.7502