From Downtown to Umstead, A Greenway Guide for Bikers and Runners
We’ve all heard about Raleigh’s extensive greenway system, but also that many many sections of the greenway have yet to be connected. So when I attended a ceremony for the opening of a small section of the greenway near Downtown and was told by one of the engineers that you can now use the greenways to travel uninterrupted (off-street) from Downtown to Umstead Park, I was skeptical . . but it’s true!
It can be difficult to follow the greenways when they emerge onto a street without any indications if or where they continue, and with the lack of sufficient detail on city maps, it can make it almost impossible to locate connections. So I was determined to test this engineer’s claim of being able to travel from my Downtown home to Umstead Park. After studying the city’s greenway maps, I prepared a series of Google Earth printed maps and armed with a camera, I was off on my journey.
Along the way I rarely encountered other bikers and did not see any runners, which confirmed my suspicion that these particular greenway sections are little known. So if you live Downtown and you want to be able to do a nice long bike trip or run from your front door without getting into a car, I invite you to use the following combination of pictures and links to follow along the 12 mile route.
I started my trip at the intersection of Chavis Way and Martin Street. While not officially a greenway, this is a beautiful path to follow, leading south until it crosses Lenoir Street. Here you’ll find the start of Chavis Way, a short greenway section (0.3 miles) that ends at Bragg Street.
Click here for a detailed guide of the Chavis Way Greenway.
The Little Rock Greenway is also relatively short at 0.7 miles and was only recently completed, providing an important connection with the Walnut Creek greenway. (A dedication ceremony attended by the Mayor was held in February). Take the bridge on the left, just south of Bragg Street. Directly across the street next to the Walnut Creek Wetland Center is the start of the Walnut Creek Greenway.
At the the start of the Walnut Creek Greenway, you have the option to go either east (4 miles) or west (1.7 miles). The eastern route to the left dead ends, but the western route continues on to connect with the next greenway enroute to Umstead Park.
Click here for a detailed guide of the Walnut Creek Greenway.
The Rocky Branch Greenway extends for 4.3 miles in a northwest direction, continuing along Western Blvd. The safest place to cross Western Blvd is at Pullen Street, where the greenway continues through the NCSU campus along Sullivan Drive, and comes to an end at Gorman Street.
The city’s greenway maps refer to this next section as the Gorman Street Connector. Rather than on a greenway, you will need to travel north on the sidewalk along Gorman Street for just over a quarter mile, before reaching the intersection at Hillsborough Street.
Directly across the street, at Meredith College, is the start of the Reedy Creek Greenway. The Reedy Creek Greenway is relatively well-known and from here the trip to Umstead Park around Meredith College, over the Beltline, to the NC Museum of Art, and then alongside Reedy Creek Road to Umstead Park is a 5 mile trip.
The DLA will soon be organizing a bike tour of these Greenways, so look for the event announcement coming soon!