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10 Best Cycling Routes In Raleigh, North Carolina


by Emmeline Maher


Raleigh, North Carolina, is a haven for cycling enthusiasts, offering a diverse array of scenic routes that cater to riders of all skill levels. From leisurely rides through lush greenways to challenging trails that wind through picturesque landscapes, Raleigh has something for everyone. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor exploring the area, the city's cycling routes provide an immersive way to experience its natural beauty and vibrant culture.

In this article, we'll delve into the top 10 cycling routes in Raleigh, each offering its own unique charm and adventure. From the tranquil paths along the Neuse River to the exhilarating trails at Lake Johnson Park, these routes showcase the best of Raleigh's cycling scene. Whether you're seeking a peaceful solo ride or a group excursion with fellow cyclists, Raleigh's diverse cycling routes promise unforgettable experiences and breathtaking views. So, grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and get ready to explore the 10 best cycling routes that Raleigh, North Carolina, has to offer.

William B. Umstead State Park

Located just northwest of Raleigh, William B. Umstead State Park offers a picturesque setting for cycling enthusiasts. The park features over 20 miles of multi-use trails, providing cyclists with a diverse range of terrains to explore. From leisurely rides along the tranquil shores of Big Lake to challenging routes through dense forests, this park caters to riders of all skill levels. Cyclists can revel in the natural beauty of the park, with opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer and various bird species along the way.

Neuse River Trail

Stretching for 27.5 miles, the Neuse River Trail is a popular choice for cyclists seeking a scenic and well-maintained route. This trail follows the path of the tranquil Neuse River, offering breathtaking views and a peaceful ambiance. With multiple access points and convenient facilities, including rest areas and parking, cyclists can embark on a seamless journey through diverse landscapes. The trail's flat terrain makes it ideal for cyclists of all ages and abilities, ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone.

American Tobacco Trail

Spanning over 22 miles, the American Tobacco Trail is a historic and cultural gem for cyclists in Raleigh. This former railway corridor has been transformed into a vibrant trail, adorned with lush greenery and captivating natural surroundings. Cyclists can immerse themselves in the region's rich history while pedaling through charming towns and verdant woodlands. The trail's gentle gradients and well-maintained surface make it a delightful choice for leisurely rides or more challenging cycling adventures.

Lake Johnson Park

Nestled in southwest Raleigh, Lake Johnson Park offers a delightful cycling experience amidst serene waterfront views. The park features a 3.5-mile paved greenway loop, allowing cyclists to savor the tranquil ambiance while encircling the picturesque lake. With its convenient location and well-marked trails, Lake Johnson Park is a favored destination for cyclists looking to unwind and connect with nature within the heart of the city.

Historic Yates Mill County Park

Cycling enthusiasts can indulge in a blend of history and natural splendor at Historic Yates Mill County Park. The park's 174-acre expanse encompasses a network of scenic trails, including the popular Mill Pond Trail, which winds through captivating woodlands and past the historic Yates Mill. Cyclists can revel in the park's tranquil atmosphere while admiring the picturesque landscapes and immersing themselves in the area's rich heritage.

Shelley Lake Loop

Embraced by lush greenery and offering captivating lake views, the Shelley Lake Loop presents cyclists with a delightful 2.2-mile trail encircling the serene Shelley Lake. This scenic route provides a perfect escape for cyclists seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating ride within the city. With its well-maintained paths and abundant natural beauty, the Shelley Lake Loop is a cherished destination for both casual cyclists and dedicated biking enthusiasts.

Durant Nature Preserve

Nestled in a serene natural setting, the Durant Nature Preserve boasts an extensive network of trails that cater to cyclists seeking an immersive outdoor experience. The preserve's diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and open fields, offer cyclists a captivating journey through the region's rich biodiversity. With its well-marked trails and tranquil ambiance, Durant Nature Preserve provides an idyllic escape for cyclists looking to connect with nature.

Crabtree Creek Trail

The Crabtree Creek Trail offers cyclists a scenic and invigorating route along the picturesque Crabtree Creek. Spanning approximately 14 miles, this trail winds through lush greenery and offers captivating views of the waterway, creating a serene backdrop for cycling adventures. With its accessibility and natural charm, the Crabtree Creek Trail invites cyclists to immerse themselves in the region's beauty while enjoying a rejuvenating ride.

North Carolina Museum of Art Park

Cycling enthusiasts can combine art and outdoor exploration at the North Carolina Museum of Art Park. The park's extensive grounds feature a network of trails that wind through captivating outdoor art installations and lush landscapes. Cyclists can enjoy a unique blend of culture and nature as they traverse the park's scenic paths, making it a distinctive and enriching cycling destination in Raleigh.

Walnut Creek Trail

The Walnut Creek Trail offers cyclists an immersive journey through diverse natural landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and open fields. This 15-mile trail provides a captivating route for cyclists to explore the region's biodiversity while enjoying the tranquility of the outdoors. With its well-maintained paths and abundant wildlife, the Walnut Creek Trail presents cyclists with an enriching and rejuvenating cycling experience in Raleigh.


Exploring Raleigh, North Carolina, on a bike offers an exhilarating experience for cycling enthusiasts of all levels. From the serene trails at William B. Umstead State Park to the urban charm of the Neuse River Trail, Raleigh's diverse cycling routes cater to a wide range of preferences. Whether you seek a leisurely ride through picturesque landscapes or crave the adrenaline rush of challenging terrains, Raleigh has something to offer. With its rich natural beauty and well-maintained paths, the city provides an ideal setting for memorable cycling adventures. So, grab your bike, soak in the breathtaking scenery, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Raleigh's top cycling routes.


Q: Are the cycling routes in Raleigh suitable for beginners?
A: Yes, Raleigh offers a variety of cycling routes suitable for beginners, including the Neuse River Trail and the American Tobacco Trail, which provide relatively flat and well-maintained paths.

Q: Are there bike rental options available for visitors in Raleigh?
A: Yes, visitors can easily rent bikes from various bike shops and rental companies in Raleigh, making it convenient for tourists to explore the city on two wheels.