May is National Bike Month! Started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a time to get active and experience the many benefits of biking. Whether you’re riding for health and wellness, cleaner air, or to save money on gas, bicycling is an undeniably great way to explore your community. In honor of that, here are some great trails around the Triangle!


William B. Umstead State Park
Tucked between downtown Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, this oasis offers a 5,579-acre area for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers alike. Centered around three man-made lakes (Reedy Creek Lake, Sycamore Lake, and Big Lake), this park is not only ideal for bicycling, but hiking, fishing, and boating too. Of the 32 miles of trails, 13 miles of groomed and dirt paths are dedicated to bikers, making for peaceful and secluded rides. These winding and scenic trails are also a part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile biking and walking route that extends from Maine to Florida.

 

American Tobacco Trail
Founded in 1989 by the Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Inc., the American Tobacco Trail was created to transform local, abandoned railroad corridors into clean, wide paths for the community to enjoy. Today, the American Tobacco Trail stretches from Morehead Avenue in Durham to New Hill-Olive Chapel Road in Wake County.  The northern segment even continues into another trail system called the North/South Greenway System while the southern segment boasts a more rural ride full of hardwood forests and a variety of wildlife. Also, there’s easy access at the Durham end to the Durham Bulls Athletic Stadium and the American Tobacco Historic District, a convenient place to enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment before or after your ride! You can also watch this short time-lapse video of the building of the pedestrian bridge over I-40 for the American Tobacco Trail.


Neuse River Trail
This 27.5-mile trail stretches from eastern Raleigh’s Falls Lake Dam to the Wake/Johnston County Line and connects with the Johnston River Walk at the southern end for another 4 miles of pathway. The Neuse River Trail (or the Neuse River Greenway) meanders over and past boardwalks, wetlands, historical sights, and sunflower fields. Between the scenic views, flat, paved road, and limited road crossings, this trail is a biker’s dream. In addition to being part of the City’s Capital Area Greenway System, the Neuse River Trail is a portion of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail, which connects the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks.

 


Bolin Creek Trail
The Bolin Creek Trail is a paved bike path that begins at the Chapel Hill Community Center and continues towards Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. This cool and shady 3-mile out and back trail goes through meadows and wooded floodplain making it perfect for family outings. If you’re looking for a longer excursion, check out the unpaved Battle Branch Trail extension, which can also be accessed from the Chapel Hill Community Center. Find more information and a trail map here.

 

Duke Forest
With more than 150,000 visitors each year, Duke Forest is a popular destination (and for good reason too). There are over 30 miles of road for biking that wind through dense pine and hardwood forests, Civil War sites, and around 3.4 miles of prepared surface trail near the Duke University Golf Course. Duke Forest is located close to Duke University for which it’s named and is used by researchers as an outdoor lab to study soil conservation and water quality. Since the trail is so close to Duke University, also consider exploring the very bike-friendly campus.

Be sure to check out GoTriangle’s calendar for upcoming bike events and bike resources for more information. There are many reasons to ride, what’s yours?