Whether it’s after a long day in the office, first thing in the morning, or squeezed into the middle of your day, putting your feet to the pavement and running it out is some of the cheapest and most effective therapy around. We are so fortunate to be based in the southeast, where the winters are mild and the running trails are open pretty much all year long. Time to lace up those sneakers though, because spring is budding. The Triangle is home to many winding, shaded trails and picturesque loops. We've compiled some of our favorites with the help of our favorite running experts, the Runologie Raleigh crew.
1) Neuse River Greenway (Raleigh to Clayton)
A fairly new addition to Raleigh's Capital City Greenway, the Neuse River Greenway is fairly flat, which most Raleigh runners welcome with open arms. It has some of the best foot bridges in town, and is incredibly scenic with the Neuse River nearby for its entire 30+ miles. Pro tip: In the summer, be sure to stop around mile 23.5 for fields upon fields of sunflower blooms!
2) Lake Lynn Park (Raleigh)
This looped trail is a little over two miles long, making it the perfect quick jaunt to help you earn those endorphins. Parking is easy and the trail is fairly flat, plus the proximity to the lake makes for a motivating backdrop.
3) Dorthea Dix Park (Raleigh)
From Runologie, we often head straight down Boylan Ave for a signature view of the skyline and then into one of Raleigh's greatest assets, Dorthea Dix Park. Dix Park has some of the best views of downtown, incredible hills to get those legs turning, and vast open spaces. With the park being less than a mile from downtown you get the best of both worlds -- views of our great city and beautiful scenery. Pro tip: Run down Barbour Drive for a good downhill with an stellar view.
4) William B. Umstead State Park (Raleigh and Cary)
Another special park within Raleigh's reach, almost any trail is a good one in Umstead. From wide bridal paths to the narrow and rocky ups and downs of the Loblolly Trail, Umstead is a must add to your weekly workouts.
5) NCMA (Raleigh)
The trails and greenways around the North Carolina Museum of Art are one of kind. Nature, art, and architecture can all be experienced around NCMA making it a truly unique spot in Raleigh. You can literally stumble onto some of Raleigh's best art in the woods on this route. It also has some of the best hills in town.
6) American Tobacco Trail (Durham and Apex)
Sprawling 22 miles, the American Tobacco Trail is a running hot spot that showcases a little bit of everything NC has to offer. You’ll be running through the trees one minute, and on a bridge crossing over the highway the next.
7 ) Fayetteville Street at Mt. Hope Cemetery (Raleigh)
Fayetteville Street, a main axis of downtown Raleigh, continues out of downtown and a great hidden gem lies at the crest of Fayetteville Street and Mt. Hope Cemetery. You can easily hop on the Capital City Greenway to get in a good loop around the city and then circle onto Fayetteville Street past the cemetery for a breathtaking (perhaps quite literally) view. Pro tip: Here, you're running alongside history -- Mt. Hope has an incredible past having been established in 1872 as a primarily African American Cemetery.
8) Al Buehler Trail (Durham)
If you like a run that makes you work, the Al Buehler Trail might be for you. This trail winds through Duke Forest and comes in at just under 3 miles. Plentiful trees mean shade is in no short supply, but fair warning – the hills are plentiful, too!