WCED Blog


Greenways Go Long Ways in Wake County

One great thing about living in Wake County is that for free (or virtually free), you can bike, hike and sometimes even ride a horse throughout one of the most extensive collections of greenways and trails in America. 

All 12 municipalities plus the county itself have their own systems of greenways and trails, and they are so numerous that the Parks and Recreation Partnership for a Healthier Wake has compiled a pocket guide detailing their locations and special features for the public.  But there are trails coming from outside the county as well for the public to enjoy. 

For example, there are greenways in Cary and Apex that connect to the American Tobacco Trail for a 20-mile stretch.  This rail-trail project is projected to span 23 miles, from rural New Hill in western Wake County to downtown Durham near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and will become part of the East Coast Greenway.  Currently, Wake County has 6.5 miles of the trail open. 

Why all the emphasis on greenways and trails in Wake?  (There is a difference – greenways are defined as “corridors of protected open space managed for conservation and recreation purposes,” while trails are “paths used for walking, bicycling, horseback riding and other forms of recreation and transportation.”) Because the area lends itself beautifully for the purpose, with plenty of hills, forests, ponds, lakes and other pleasant scenery that has wisely been set aside for the public’s use for recreation, wildlife enjoyment and other needs.  For people who want to have fun without dealing with the hazards of traffic and noise, it is a godsend. 

Greenways add to the quality of life in Wake, and more are added each year.  They are yet another reason why so many businesses and their employees look to this county as their new or permanent home to work and play.

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