I was dismayed, no, extremely perturbed to find that the rustic segment of the Neuse River Trail I'd been frequenting for convenient off-road runs was closed for construction a couple of weeks ago. There are signs at each access point that read, "No Trespassing[.] Trail closed for construction[.]" I mean, how am I supposed to get past that kind of barrier?
We knew this was coming. I told you about the plans for the grand Neuse River Trail Greenway several months ago. And, it's finally hit my portion of the river.
So, I've had to seek other conveniently located natural areas in which to run. And, wouldn't you know it, the Upper Neuse Trail Greenway opened to the public in September!
This isn't an off-road trail, mind you. So, I was hesitant to try it out. But, hey, this is pretty much my nearest space for running that's not in the neighborhood. So, I figured it'd be worth a go. Besides, if I'm ever feeling really adventurous, I could run this portion of the Greenway right over to the single-track trails at Falls Lake.
In spite of my obvious penchant for unpaved running surfaces, I have to say that my first two runs on the Upper Neuse Greenway were downright enjoyable. The path is paved with that dark, soft asphalt, the kind that doesn't smack your feet quite as hard as concrete sidewalks do. And, the course winds through some beautiful flatland along the river with lots of vines and foresty stuff.
You'll also notice that there's no shortage of space on this new greenway. It's rather luxurious, really. Whole bunches of bikes will ride by without forcing you off the path into the grass. Even the bridges are wide enough to dispel any sense of claustrophobia on a busy Saturday afternoon.
There are quite a few convenient access points along this portion of the greenway if you happen to live in close proximity to said access points. Otherwise, your best bets for getting to the Upper Neuse Greenway via automobile are from the parking areas at the north and south ends.
Find the northern parking area off of Falls of the Neuse Rd. across the street from the Falls Lake Fishing Area and dam. You'll make a quick right turn and drive a short distance to the parking lot, which seems to be open all the time. (Don't quote me on that)
The southern trail head may be found at the back of the WRAL Soccer Center off Perry Creek Rd. Drive toward the far side of the complex and park in any of the gravel lots that are open. Then, get out of your car and head as far away from Perry Creek Rd. as you can until you find the trail head. Be sure to get back to your car before 5 PM, because the Soccer Center closes its gates at that time, at least in the off season.
View Upper Neuse River Greenway (Phase I) in a larger map
Ignore the comments about unpaved areas.
Thanks to Joe Miller for creating this map.
So, despite my frustration with the temporary closure of the Neuse River Trail segment nearest to my home, I'm really excited to have this newly constructed segment available. Sure, I have to drive further. Sure, it's paved. But, still, a really long greenway is a welcome addition to this area's expanding network of running/riding space. Check it out if you haven't already!