Raleigh, NC

Two smooth running trails in North Carolina you should know

Alyssa Atkinson

Read about my favorite trail discoveries so far.

Photo by Vladimir Gladkov on UnsplashVladimir Gladkov/Unsplash

Many of my regular readers know about my running background, but just in case you don't, I will give you a quick rundown.

I began running competitively in middle school when I joined my seventh grade track team. I didn't truly love the sport of endurance running until I joined cross-country in eighth grade. I loved the team aspect that cross-country brought to the table, and I also preferred running through expansive forests, grass fields, and unique race courses, as opposed to circling around the track for an entire race.

This is when my mindset really shifted, and I began to enjoy the sport of competitive endurance racing. Beyond that, I developed a love for running in general. I continued to race competitively throughout college, and once I graduated, I became a hobby jogger.

I continue to run almost daily, and I really enjoy exploring new hiking and running trails in my state of North Carolina. I have a few favorites so far that I would like to share with all of you today. They are what I would call "smooth" running trails, because they have even footing, and aren't super technical to the point where you have to stop and walk.

These are specifically great for running, but I could also do a hiking version of this post if you guys are interested. So, without further ado, let's discuss two of the best running trails in North Carolina, specifically the Raleigh, North Carolina, area.

1. The Capital Area Greenway Trail

If you have yet to check out this trail, you certainly should. The Capital Area Greenway Trail is a huge trail system that features paved sections, bridges that go over the water, dirt/grass trails, and more. Best of all, this trail system is huge. In fact,

"The Capital Area Greenway system has over 100 miles of trails to explore. There are 28 trails that comprise the greenway system, each with its unique features, destinations, and character."

Parts of the trail are shaded naturally by trees, so the Capital Area Greenway can definitely give you some relief from the sun on those hot and humid summer days.

I love running on different sections of the Capital Area Greenway Trail system, and each part feels like its own unique route. It is the first trail that I love running on in North Carolina, and it is one that I definitely recommend checking out.

2. Umstead State Park

It is no secret that William B. Umstead State Park is one of the most well-known parks in the Wake County area, and North Carolina in general.

This park offers benefits for both runners and hikers, as it features a main gravel trail which is a nice soft surface area to run on. This trail doesn't have a ton of roots, twists, and turns to worry about, which makes it the perfect spot for trail runners who don't want something super technical.

If you venture off the gravel path, however, you can enjoy some really nice hiking trails. So, you really do get the best of both worlds.

I love visiting Umstead State Park because the views are truly incredible. There are lakes, picnic grounds, campsites, cabins, and more.

If you are looking for a smooth gravel running trail that is surrounded by tall trees and beautiful bodies of water, Umstead State Park is one of North Carolina's incredible state parks that is definitely worth checking out.


Photo by Alexey Murzin on Unsplash

For those who enjoy a casual run on even paths with great footing and beautiful views, the trails shared just might be for you. Don't be afraid to give them a try.

To me, exercise is all about having fun and enjoying what you do while boosting your overall health and fitness. A beautiful running route can certainly help with that, so I hope you found this post informative.

Ultimately, nothing beats getting outside and enjoying some fresh air as well as the natural world around you. The trails shared can help you do exactly that.

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - nomeatfastfeet.com | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC

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