Location – Walnut Creek Trail, Raleigh, NC. See parking options.
Length – 15.7 miles
Surface – Paved Greenway
The Walnut Creek Trail is part of the City of Raleigh Greenway System and follows the banks of Walnut Creek from its origin at Lake Johnson to its destination at the Neuse River. The route travels through Lake Johnson Park, NC State’s Centennial Campus, Walnut Creek Wetland Park, Worthdale Park, and the Walnut Creek Sports Complex.
The greenway is smooth pavement throughout with only a few short sidewalk/unpaved sections. It follows the banks of Walnut Creek which limits elevation changes. A few sections have some short moderate hills, but overall the trail is flat and runnable. Many areas are great for speed work or interval training runs.
Since the trail follows Walnut Creek for most of its length, you do get a lot of creek views. The Centennial Campus and Worthdale Park sections provide a different aesthetic of campus life and neighborhoods. Look out for a variety of birds, reptiles, and small mammals throughout the trail, especially around mile markers 6-8 through the wetland park area. This art project found near the wetland center is a Carolina Madtom catfish made out of trash recovered from the creek.
There are a few different parking and amenity locations throughout the trail, but they are spread out and create long stretches of greenway without any resources. Lake Johnson Park at the west end of the trail has bathrooms and drinking fountains at the main building. The Walnut Creek Wetland Center in the middle of the trail has bathrooms available as well, but there are no additional bathrooms or water fountains easily accessible for the eastern half of the route.