Location -Umstead State Park, Reedy Creek Entrance, 2100 N. Harrison Ave., Cary, NC 27513
Length – 6.3 miles (from parking lot)
Surface – Natural single-track trail
Elevation Gain – 708 ft.
Max Elevation – 455 ft.
The Company Mill Trail starts just off the main Reedy Creek Entrance parking lot. The first mile descends to a large whitewater creek. After crossing over the bridge, the trail forms a 4-mile loop to return to the bridge and retrace the last mile back up to the parking lot.
The route traverses over a number of hills and valleys with moderate sustained climbs and descents. The clockwise loop starts with a long mile-long climb from the creek and finishes with a fun smooth downhill section that resembles a dirt track speedway. The terrain alternates between runnable compact surface and more technical trail full of rocks and roots.
Umstead is comprised of forest, creeks, and a few small lakes. The Company Mill Trail is primarily single-track trail and allows runners to fully escape into the woods. At the beginning and end of the loop section, the trail follows the bank of a whitewater creek that features a few formidable rapids at high water. Look out for wildlife. A variety of toads, frogs, turtles, birds, deer and other creatures can be encountered on the trails. Snakes like black racers are common in the park and you may even find one climbing straight up the side of a tree like I did.
William B. Umstead State Park is an underrated trail-running gem in the heart of the Triangle with more than 20 miles of trails. There are two main entrances, the Reedy Creek Entrance and Crabtree Creek Entrance and Visitor Center and each offers a number of trailheads, bathrooms, and water fountains. It seems Umstead is getting more attention in COVID times. The park is very busy on the weekends and often has a waiting line to enter the Reedy Creek Entrance. Trails are fairly busy and require routine passing of hikers on narrow paths for runners.