The Best Parks in Raleigh for a Hike, Ride, or Run

We spoke of local parks and trails that you fortunate to enjoy since opting to move to Fuquay Varina. Some you can jump on right in your own neighborhood, the South Lakes new home community. The choice you made to be at South lakes is certainly one that affords you many incredible outdoor activity options. However, in this time of distancing, the outdoors creates such a place of peace and escape. Thus, in this and our following post, we will look at some of the state’s most spectacular spots for a walk, hike, or run. They are literally just minutes from your new home in Fuquay Varina. So, whether you were aware of them before, or not, we have compiled a brief list of the Best Parks in Raleigh. 

On our list of Best Parks in Raleigh, we took into consideration those parks which have or connect to some type of nature trail. This allows you to enjoy the serenity of the gorgeous local scenery and get a little exercise in the meantime.

Best Parks in Raleigh for a Hike

To each their own, is an old saying which basically says that “you like what you like.” When it comes to looking for the Best Parks in Raleigh, that could mean a few things. Some may like to hit the park and connect to the trails on their bike. Others may jog or even just enjoy walking the parks and trails. But, the first “like” that we will look at for those heading to the Best Parks in Raleigh are ones that are great for a hike.

William B. Umstead State Park

This does not only get recognition among the Best Parks in Raleigh, but it is also one of the most visited parks statewide. The first thing to know about Umstead Park is that it is enormous! More than 5,000 acres of trails, forest, and lakes are among this entry to our Best Parks in Raleigh. there are 13 miles of multi-use trails at Umstead which come right behind a series of spectacular, rolling hills. Likewise, this is a “must-hike” for the true outdoor enthusiasts, as it boasts 22 miles of dedicated hiking trails.

While it is not exactly the closest of our Best Parks in Raleigh in respect to South Lakes, this is certainly worth the trip and not a bad drive at all. According to Google Maps, William B. Umstead State Park is 34.6 miles from your new home in Fuquay. They estimate about 42 minutes of travel time to arrive.

Lake Crabtree County Park

Actually, not too far from our first entry, Umstead Park, is our second listing for Best Parks in Raleigh. Lake Crabtree County Park is the Raleigh area’s first ever established county park. This park showcases a gorgeous six-mile loop trail that is mostly only open to hiking traffic.

The “Lake trail” as it is known loops around the 520-acre lake and much of it is in. the woods. Thus, if its peace, quiet, and a little private outdoor time you seek, Lake Crabtree is perfect for a hike.

Lake Crabtree County Park is a little bit closer to South Lakes than our first entry. It can be easily reached by what Google Maps estimates as 37 minutes, as the park is 26.4 miles from South Lakes.

The Best Park in Raleigh to Run and Ride

To step back to our initial comment of “to each their own,” hiking may not exactly be your thing. We understand that many that are out looking for a workout are seeking the Best Parks in Raleigh to ride their bike or for a long run. Well, rest assured, we have got your back with these two gorgeous parks and you can ride or run for miles at either.

Green Hills County Park

Originally this entrant to our Best Parks in Raleigh was called North Wake Landfill District Park. Doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it, right? Well, the reasoning behind the previous name when the park opened in July of 2010 is that what became the beautiful 73-acre site that now hosts Green Hills County Park was once occupied by a landfill.

Back to you work out enthusiasts, at Green Hills, you have trails, and trails, and more trails. To begin with a description of them, the park is made up of almost two miles of paved trails. Two more miles of mountain biking trails and a small mountain bike practice area are also at the site. Likewise, there is one other 1.4-mile cycling or running trail and then of course the “Top of the Hill” trail. Many say that if you can make the short, steep climb on this that you will be rewarded with the most spectacular view of Wake County that can be seen anywhere.

Keeping our list of the Best Park in Raleigh under 30-mile distance from South Lakes, Green Hills is 29.2 miles away. Google Maps estimated that it would take 50 minutes in your car to get from South Lakes to your scenic workout at Green Hills.

Neuse River Greenway Trail   

Called by many as the “gem of the Capital Area Greenway System,” almost everyone in the Raleigh area is familiar with the Neuse River Greenway Trail. It is an uninterrupted, 27.5-mile greenway, running from the Wake County line in southeast Raleigh to Falls Lake in North Raleigh. Ok, wait, “this isn’t a park” you may argue. That argument will fade though, once you have actually followed that path and seen all the open space and parks you come across.

Not only is this the ultimate for a run or bike ride, there is literally a bike shop that you can rent a cycle at beside the parking lot at the trailhead by Falls Lake. Over 55 miles total if you wanted to go to and from and some of the most beautiful natural scenery along the entire way.

Neuse River Greenway trail is the closest of our for Best Parks in Raleigh trails as it is just an estimated 34-minute drive from South Lakes. Distance wise, that equals a 22.3-mile space between the Trail and the South Lakes neighborhood.

More of the Best Parks in Raleigh for Some Family Time

There are so many incredible parks in the Raleigh area, that it is impossible to consider covering all of them. In our follow up to this post, we will again however take a look at some more of the Best Parks in Raleigh. In that piece, however we will focus less on the workout and hike and more on family.

To read about some of the great outdoor spaces located right here in Fuquay Varina, visit the blog at the South Lakes neighborhood website here.

Photo Credit: VisitRaleigh