Hiking at Falls Lake

Did you know that there is a 20+ mile long hiking trail in North Raleigh? Great for fun hikes with families or longer multi-day trips, the South Shore trail at Falls Lake is great destination for hikers of all skill-levels.I’ve mentioned this trail a couple of times in the past (Blue Jay Point, Camping at Falls Lake), but this trail really deserves a post of it’s own.

Here's where my family often starts our hikes.

Trail begins here near parking
at Army Corps of Engineers building.

Part of the NC Mountains to Sea Trail (NCMST), this section of trail hugs the southern shore of Falls Lake, traveling from the dam where the Neuse River crosses under Falls of the Neuse north to Shinleaf Park (the park that I covered in my Camping at Falls Lake post). The trail is made up of 2-3 mile sections that are easy distances for someone looking for a nice hike. My kids’ favorite section starts at Raven Ridge Road and heads back south-east toward the dam. There’s a nice area where the trail parallels a stream that runs across some exposed rocks that provides a nice opportunity for wading or looking for crawfish in warmer weather.

Last week, The News and Observer ran a story about a new section of trail completed near the Wake/Durham county line. This new trail extends to the Rollingview Recreation Area in Durham. The full NCMST trail extends ~1000 miles from the Smokey Mountains near Clingmans Dome to the Outer Banks.

If you’re hiking on this trail and find yourself dumped out on to a road, look for the white NCMST blazes to point you to the next section. It’s usually just a short walk along the road to where the trail continues back into the woods. Trail heads for the sections are marked with distances, so you know ahead of time what you’re getting yourself into.

The NCMST site has posted a Google map and topographical maps of this trail on their site.