- Location – 5041 Avent Ferry Rd., Raleigh, NC
- Length – 2.9 miles
- Surface – Paved Greenway
- Elevation Gain – 176 ft.
- Max Elevation – 425 ft.
Running clockwise from the main parking area off Avent Ferry Rd., this 3-ish mile loop is relatively flat for the first mile. Once you cross over the dam, the path soon hits an uphill switchback and begins a gradual climb. Turning left from the fork for the side trail, the fun begins. The next mile packs a punch with some major elevation changes in three main drops and climbs. The total elevation gain of 176 feet may not seem daunting, but those hills will surprise you.
The lake loop provides a great mix of woods, hills, creeks, and lake views. Sunset and sunrise runs add a photo-worthy view over the lake. The trail does parallel the highway during the hilly section, so expect to hear a few echoing muffler violations at times. Lake Johnson is a well-used park and trail. Look out for fellow runners, walkers, bikers, and even a stray rollerblader or two while you are enjoying the surroundings.
Lake Johnson Park has three parking areas to access the trail (two on Avent Ferry Rd. and one on Lake Dam Rd.). The main park building has restrooms, vending machines, and a water fountain. The park also offers boat rentals, a beach, and a number of fishing spots along the bank and bridge. Extend your run by adding the 1.5-mile unpaved natural trail across Avent Ferry Rd. that loops around the west end of Lake Johnson. The Walnut Creek Greenway also begins at Lake Johnson.