Spend a day biking across North Carolina's Research Triangle
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
The Triangle is the East Coast Greenway’s most complete metro area. Bike from downtown Durham to Raleigh on 95 percent Greenway, passing residential neighborhoods, a state park and plenty of dining options along the way. At about 44 miles one way, the Greenway’s Cross-Triangle route is the perfect length for a leisurely day trip.
While this itinerary is written for a Durham to Raleigh route, the trip can easily be reversed. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see our favorite breakfast spots in Raleigh and our favorite dinner restaurants and breweries in Durham. No matter which route you choose, consider taking Amtrak back to your starting point at the end of the day.
Greenway cyclists in Durham, the “Bull City”
Fuel up before your ride at a downtown Durham restaurant. We recommend Rise for its biscuits and donuts or Parker and Otis for its hearty sandwiches. Bike down Blackwell Street, passing the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on your left and the refurbished American Tobacco Campus on your right.
American Tobacco Trail
After passing the American Tobacco Campus, you will reach the beginning of the American Tobacco Trail. The American Tobacco Trail is part of the Greenway’s route for 17.5 miles, making it the largest continuous trail in the Triangle’s portion of the Greenway. Enjoy following the paved trail through both neighborhoods and wooded areas on relatively flat terrain.
Hungry? Stop about 6 miles into your ride for a bite to eat at Dulce Café. Dulcé is a Greenway staff favorite, as it is located right below our headquarters. Get a pastry or a scoop of gelato – or a panini if you’re ready for another meal.
The American Tobacco Trail
White Oak Creek Greenway
At the terminus of the American Tobacco Trail, take a sharp left onto the White Oak Creek Greenway. The White Oak Creek Greenway tracks east through wooded areas of Morrisville and Apex for 6.6 miles.
Black Creek Greenway
After passing through Bond Park, the White Oak Greenway becomes the Black Creek Greenway, which winds through residential neighborhoods of Cary for 6.8 miles. Consider stopping for a bite to eat at the Maynard Crossing retail complex, as it is the last retail area you will pass until you reach the outskirts of Raleigh. Brigs at the Crossing serves breakfast all day, and Big Mike’s BBQ is a Triangle favorite.
Umstead State Park Trail
The Black Creek Greenway continues past Lake Crabtree and over I-40 before entering Umstead State Park. The Greenway meanders through Umstead’s protected forests for 5.3 miles on an unpaved path. While this stretch of the trail is crushed gravel, it is still suitable for a road bike. Watch and listen for planes passing overhead – the park abuts Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Umstead State Park Trail
Reedy Creek Greenway
Reedy Creek Greenway connects Umstead State Park to downtown Raleigh. This 4.7 mile greenway passes by the North Carolina Museum of Art and agricultural land managed by North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture before reaching a bike and pedestrian bridge that spans I-440, also known as the Raleigh Beltline.
House Creek Trail
Past the Beltline, Reedy Creek Greenway takes a sharp right turn and changes names to become House Creek Greenway Trail. House Creek Greenway Trail curves around the campus of Meredith College for 1.3 miles. You will have about two blocks of on-road bicycling on Gorman Street, the location of the future Gorman Street Connector Cycle Track.
Rocky Branch Trail
After you turn back onto protected greenway, Rocky Branch Trail will carry you through the campus of N.C. State University. Look to your left to see the University’s baseball stadium, tennis courts and track facility. The Greenway passes over Pullen Road then runs parallel to Western Boulevard.
Reedy Creek Greenway on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art
The Greenway goes on-road at Cabarrus Street. Turn left onto Boylan Avenue and then right onto Hargett Street. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the heart of Raleigh! Ready to celebrate? We have a few recommendations.
Check out Transfer Food Co. Food Hall on East Street. With a dozen vendors offering everything from oysters to empanadas, you are sure to find something that pleases everyone in your group. Additionally, Transfer Co. has plenty of casual seating (both inside and outside), making it an ideal destination for sweaty bikers.
A few blocks further north on Neil Street, Raleigh Beer Garden offers a whopping 350 beers on tap as well as a full food menu. The Beer Garden’s owner is also an avid cyclist and supporter of the Greenway.
Continuing on the cycling theme, Crank Arm Brewing on Davie Street is dedicated to creating community around its founders’ two passions: bikes and beer. Come for the craft beers (all with bike-themed names), stay for the crowd of cycling enthusiasts.
The Ales for Trails 5K, hosted by Durham's Fullsteam Brewery
When you are ready for dinner in Durham, visit the American Tobacco Campus, which offers several dining options including Boricua Soul’s Puerto Rican fare and Only Burger, which bills itself as the “only burger you’ll ever want!” Nearby, Pompieri Pizza serves Neopolitan-style pizza in a casual setting.
After you have eaten, stop by one of Durham’s popular local breweries. Ponysaurus Brewing Company offers a wide variety of beers and extensive seating both in its taproom and on an outdoor patio. On Rigsbee Avenue, Fullsteam Brewery crafts “distinctly Southern beer” and hosts an annual Ales for Trails 5K that benefits the East Coast Greenway Alliance.
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