Crabtree Creek Trail: MP 0 to 4.75

IMG_3014Back in November we took advantage of my aunt visiting and went on a greenway biking day date!  We biked along Crabtree Creek Trail from milepost 0 to 4.75, completing the final segment of this greenway that we had left to explore.  We parked at Anderson Point Park and biked past the traffic circle near the park’s main entrance to the Crabtree Creek Trail greenway entrance and headed west (note: there are also signs for Neuse River Trail).

This portion of the greenway was pretty flat, but offered a lot to look at along the way.  We biked almost 5 miles and crossed several bridges and went under several overpasses on this trail segment.  From Anderson Point Park, we headed west where we biked under Rogers Ln and US-64, S New Hope Rd, I-440, New Bern Ave and then followed the sidewalk along Milburnie Rd before connecting up with more of the greenway.  After Milburnie Rd, the trail was covered in leaves and got rather hilly.  We saw some pretty water views from the high banks of Marsh Creek but also saw less desirable views of the abandoned nightclub, Envy.

IMG_3008We biked until about mile marker 4.75 where we turned around at an abandoned commercial building with a gantry crane to ensure we returned to the park before sunset (note: just past this spot is Lockwood Park).  The ride back was as refreshing and quiet as the ride in, covering more wooded areas than residential areas.  We passed a few runners and bikers along the way, but this section of the trail definitely felt less travelled compared to others.  After our bike ride, we quickly came home to change and then hopped back into the car for part 2 of our date at the new Cinebistro movie theater in Cary where we saw The Martian…a relaxing end to a fun date!

Thumbs up: road signage at highway overpasses, quiet/relaxing ride

Thumbs down: lack of signage about upcoming parks/playgrounds along bike route

Crabtree Creek Trail MP 4.75 to 7 & Lockwood Park

IMG_2172Before summer ended, we explored a new section of Crabtree Creek Trail via bike.  With the hot and humid weather, we knew pushing a double stroller would be tough, so why not pull the girls by a bike trailer?!  The girls were super excited about the prospect of riding in a bike trailer and despite having to cut our trip short because of a busted bike chain we had a great morning ride and even stumbled upon a new park.

After borrowing a friend’s bike trailer, we parked along the street at 2497 Ratchford Dr near the intersection of Capital Blvd and hopped on the nearby Crabtree Creek Trail at milepost 7.5.  We turned left onto the wooden boardwalk heading south east along the trail.  After a short ride on the boardwalk we biked under Capital Blvd and under the train tracks before coming to another long boardwalk stretching over a large pond near the intersection of Raleigh Blvd.  Along this long stretch of the boardwalk are a large gazebo and marsh lands, great for stopping to check out the turtles, frogs and insects inhabiting the water.

After crossing over the pond we arrived at the busy Raleigh Blvd/Crabtree Blvd intersection.  It was a bit hairy with the bike and the trailer, but we survived and crossed at the cross walk near milepost 7.  Continuing on we followed the paved trail, which was mostly flat with a few hills scattered throughout.  Around milepost 5 we stumbled upon a neighborhood park, Lockwood Park, at the intersection of Crabtree Blvd/Remington Rd.

IMG_2198Lockwood Park is small fenced-in park designed mostly for ages 5-12.  It has a large climbing rock boulder, sand box with diggers, swings, and large playground with slides and various climbing structures.  The playground has a rubberized surface with a picnic table and benches and a nearby open grassy field.  The girls loved climbing on the boulders the best, but were also excited to get back into the bike trailer to continue on our ride.

We weren’t 5 minutes back into our ride before Bill’s bike chain completely broke in half going up a steep hill.  Luckily we weren’t far from the playground, so we walked the bike and trailer back to the playground while I booked it 2.75 miles back to retrieve the car and rescue them.  Despite having our bike ride cut short, we had a fun time on our first bike trailer excursion and look forward to doing it again soon!

Thumbs up: having a playground along the greenway, scenery along boardwalk over pond

Thumbs down: busy Crabtree Blvd/Raleigh Blvd intersection, lack of signage at Lockwood Park

Nature Walks Along Crabtree Creek Trail Following Hurricane Joaquin

IMG_5801As of this past Monday, Raleigh had 12 days of consecutive rain, tying a 128-year-old record.  The sun finally came out on Tuesday and it was ah-mazing!  Before Hurricane Joaquin threatened Raleigh this past weekend, the grounds, creeks, and rivers were already saturated and above normal levels. The nearly 8 inches of rain in 12 days created high waters around the area so we decided to explore the greenway along Crabtree Creek on Sunday morning in hopes of getting some interesting photos and having a discussion with the girls about the effects of heavy rainfall.  Our nature walk near Capital Blvd was most interesting because we saw little raccoon footprints in the mud and saw a wasp nest up close.  We used utmost caution and did not explore areas where water had flooded out the greenways.  Here are some photos along Crabtree Creek Trail at Lassiter Mill Park, near Crabtree Mall and near Capital Blvd.

Check out my previous post after Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013.

Crabtree Creek Trail: North Hills Park to Crabtree Valley Mall

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.00.37 PMTimes have been rather difficult in our household for the past few weeks.  My mom unexpectedly passed away at the end of March so my world has been flipped upside down and writing has been pushed to the back burner.  As I set out to get back into writing park reviews, I’m reminded that I started this blog because of my mom.  She’s the one who created lasting memories for me at our local parks growing up.  She’s the one who enrolled me in summer camp.  She’s the one who taught me (and the rest of Stafford County youth) how to swim.  She’s the one who helped me get my first job at Curtis Park Pool.  She’s the reason I want to create lasting park memories for my kids, nieces, and friends’ kids.  So please bear with me as I get back into writing…

IMG_0075.jpgA few months ago my sister and her family were in town so we set out for another run on another (new to us) section of Crabtree Creek Trail.  To ease the double stroller intensity we put Claire and baby Ava in the same stroller and let Ashley ride solo.  We started at North Hills Park with the goal of running to the far western edge of Crabtree Creek Trail.  As mentioned in previous posts, the greenway trail at North Hills Park starts out extremely steep so use caution.  At the end of the steep hill we turned right, kept straight across the small footbridge, and then made a left to stay on Crabtree Creek Trail (turn right to proceed to Shelley Lake).  We shortly passed mile marker 12.5 before passing the access to North Hills Dr.  After crossing another bridge and running under Glenwood Ave we found ourselves behind Crabtree Valley Mall.  The greenway is mostly flat and residential in these sections and the foot and car traffic was very steady for a Saturday morning.

We passed mile parker 13.5 behind the mall and then ran under Edwards Mill Rd, which is when the foot traffic decreased and the residential landscape changed to empty commercial lots for a short while.  We even came across an abandoned wood and steel suspension bridge to nowhere. Glad to have running buddies with me, the landscape turned more inviting and more commercial on the Glenwood Ave side of the greenway and more residential to the left of the greenway.  We meandered along, taking in the wooded scenery and trying to find turtles in the creek before turning around just past the 14.5 mile marker at the western edge of the greenway by Lindsay Dr.

Despite the sunny pictures below it was a chilly day so everyone was bundled and made few noises throughout the long 5.5 mile trip.  After some playground time at North Hills Park we grabbed some Snoopy’s take-out and then headed to Raleigh Brewing Company for some much deserved beverages!  It made for the perfect combination of outdoor exercise, family fun and local beers!

Thumbs up: flat trail, views of the creek, several parking options along trail

Thumbs down: abandoned commercial lots past Edwards Mill Rd

Crabtree Creek Trail: North Hills Park to Lassiter Mill Park

IMG_9604Have I mentioned that we spent a lot of time on the greenway this winter?  So, here we are again, exploring a new (to us) portion of the Capital Area Greenway on the Crabtree Creek Trail from North Hills Park to Lassiter Mill Park (about 2.5 miles round trip).  We started at the greenway entrance at North Hills Park (100 Chowan Circle) so the girls could run out some energy at the playground afterwards.  If you’ve never been on this portion of the greenway, I’m forewarning you that the hill from the parking lot to the greenway is extremely steep, but the trail levels out at the bottom.

After we ever-so-slowly pushed the double stroller down the hill we turned left to follow the trail east under I-440.  The greenway wasn’t particularly busy this morning and running under overpasses tends to creep me out, so I’m glad Bill was with me.  Shortly after passing a bridge and access to Alleghany Dr, we saw mile marker 12.  Based on the placement of mile marker 12 on the greenway it seems the placement of mile marker 12 on the COR greenway map is too far west.  This portion of the trail is sandwiched between Crabtree Creek and beautiful residential homes.  The recent heavy rains caused the creek level to be pretty high, so between the rushing water and neighborhoods we all had nice things to see.

IMG_9642Then shortly after passing mile marker 11.5 the trail abruptly becomes unpaved and very narrow.  In hindsight we should’ve taken one of the Alleghany Dr access paths, but there were no signs beforehand to indicate strollers or bikes wouldn’t be able to pass up ahead.  So, we continued on the unpaved trail for a short time, all the while traversing over tree roots and narrowly squeezing between the creek and neighborhood roads above.  When it seemed impossible for the double Bob to continue on, I ran up ahead to see how much further until Lassiter Mill Rd.  At the end of the unpaved trail there is a set of stairs leading to Hertford Rd.  Take a left onto Hertford Rd and follow it along behind Root Elementary School and then cut over to Lassiter Mill Rd.  Turn left onto Lassiter Mill Rd where you’ll soon see Lassiter Mill on the left and Crabtree Creek Trail on the right.

While the signage on this portion of the trail is less than desired, the scenery along the creek is serene and enchanting.  Before you head out, review the greenway map or bring along your phone with GPS and/or utilize the RGreenway app.

Thumbs up: scenery along trail

Thumbs down: lack of signage alerting to unpaved trail ahead, narrow trail

Update: Crabtree Creek Trail near Crabtree Valley Mall


When Claire was about a month old, I felt good enough to go on a short jog so I returned to an area I was very familiar with – House Creek Trail.  We parked at Glen Eden Pilot Park and made our way down House Creek Trail towards Crabtree Valley Mall, which is a distance of 1 mile. What was supposed to be a short out and back jog turned into a longer outing with a visit to the mall because the girls were being so well behaved.

When we got to the end of House Creek Trail, we crossed over Blue Ridge Rd and then turned left onto Crabtree Creek Trail, which parallels Crabtree Valley Ave behind the mall.  It seems as if the pedestrian access to the mall has gotten much better since the last time we jogged this trail.  There’s a pedestrian bridge over the creek and some nearby grassy areas that would make a good place to walk a dog or have a picnic.  All of this great pedestrian access will come in handy when the mixed-use project across from the mall is complete.  When we were there last summer, a lot of dirt was being moved around, so I’m sure it’s made much more progress since then.  For more information about this mixed-use project read the article by Triangle Business Journal.

The other in-progress project we passed while on the House Creek Trail is the large Marshall Park apartment unit community.  This is the project you can see from the belt line with the massive brick retaining wall.

Before returning to our car, Ashley enjoyed some play time at the Glen Eden Pilot Park playground, which was more suitable for her now that she’s a little bit older.

Day After Tropical Storm Andrea

img_3338On Friday, June 7, 2013, Tropical Storm Andrea dumped over 5 inches of rain within 24 hours to the Triangle area (according to measurements at RDU airport).  Creeks and rivers rose across the Raleigh area so we decided to explore some of the greenways and parks on Saturday morning in hopes of getting some interesting photos.  Here are some photos along Crabtree Creek Trail at Lassiter Mill Park and near Crabtree Mall and of the wetlands at Fred Fletcher Park.

For comparison purposes, here are some of my previous non-tropical-storm-ridden posts of these areas: Lassiter Mill Park, Crabtree Creek near Crabtree Mall, Fred Fletcher Park

Hopefully I can figure out a way to upload my video of the gushing water here shortly. 

Hokies 3.2 Memorial Run on Crabtree Creek Trail

img_1767This past weekend, we explored part of the Crabtree Creek Trail greenway with over 50 fellow RTP Hokies for our annual Hokies 3.2 Memorial Run.  Our friends Becca and Brent organized the run, which started and finished at Big Boss Brewing Co.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day for the run and such a great reminder that Hokies are awesome! We even started the race with some Enter Sandman blasting from the car radio!

img_1770Like I said, we started the race at Big Boss Brewing Co, which is located at 1249 Wicker Drive in Raleigh.  Btw, they started a weekly run club about a year ago that you should check out! We headed north on Laurelbrook St and then made a left onto Hodges St, which runs parallel with the greenway.  Just east of Atlantic Ave, we jumped onto the Crabtree Creek Trail greenway and headed west.  This section of the greenway parallels Crabtree Creek so you have a nice view of the rapid flowing creek and several major overpasses and train tracks to cross under.  Being that we were pushing a stroller and not in our usual William & Kate shape, we lost sight of the group a few times on the way out.  Luckily some of the trail became familiar to me and at the fork in the road we headed right instead of left towards Kiwanis Park. We ran until we reached Oxford St and then turned around and headed back for a total of 3.2 miles.

Overall, this stretch of the greenway is nicely shaded, paved, and flat!  And, the best part of all was finishing the race with some much needed local beers at Big Boss with some awesome Hokies!  Ut Prosim!

Thumbs up: flat and shaded greenway, passing by the RTP Hokies hangout Carolina Ale House @ Creekside Dr, cold water and beer at Big Boss

Thumbs down: lack of signage or maps at forks in the greenway

Fallon Park

On the sixth day of Raleigh Parks, we visited Fallon Park, which is located just northeast of the Five Points area and not far from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.  Fallon Park is a long and slender wooded area between Royster St and Oxford Rd at 2601 Oxford Rd.  A small stream runs off from the nearby Crabtree Creek and meanders through the park creating small pools for splashing and admiring the water creatures.

The lower level of the park has a large open field with a pavilion, picnic tables, and benches.  There is also a leaning deodar cedar tree planted almost 40 years ago that immediately grabs your attention.  Be sure to walk along the unpaved path in the park, where you’ll cross over bridges, admire the large rocks along the stream, and enjoy the natural setting.  On this particular day we passed quite a few people jogging and walking their dogs.  On the northern side of the park, there is a gazebo and additional benches and picnic tables.  If you continue heading north on Oxford Rd you’ll eventually come to a portion of the Crabtree Creek Trail, which can take you either to Lassiter Mill Park or Kiwanis Park.  I’d love to visit this park again in the spring or fall when the trees are in bloom or changing colors.

Thumbs up: natural setting, exploring the stream, neighborhood setting

Thumbs down: downed trees along stream

Under Construction: House Creek Greenway

Over the last few months I’ve noticed the new paved trail near Ridgewood Shopping Center and then the new pedestrian tunnels take shape along the beltline.  All of this has led me to ask, “What is going on?”  So, on the third day of Raleigh Parks visits, we did some exploratory research into the pedestrian tunnels and new paved trails that have been popping up in the area.

It seems the new greenway trails are part of the House Creek Greenway Trail that is currently under construction.  According to the Raleigh Parks and Rec website, this will be a 2.9 mile greenway that will extend from the Reedy Creek Trail at the I-440 pedestrian bridge to Crabtree Creek Trail at the intersection of Blue Ridge Rd and Crabtree Valley Blvd.  This piece of the greenway will give folks in North Raleigh a pedestrian trail for accessing Umstead Park.

In looking at the proposed trail map, this section of the greenway will start near the intersection of Wade Ave and Ridge Rd and head west along the inner beltline, go under Lake Boone Trail, go under Glen Eden Dr, meander through Glen Eden Pilot Park and then come out on Blue Ridge Rd near the McDonald’s.  From there, you can easily access Crabtree Creek Trail.

As I mentioned, we were out today to just explore what’s going on, especially since all the trails are still under construction and closed at this point.  We can’t wait to report back in Spring 2012 after it’s all finished!

Thumbs up: increased greenway access, pedestrian options for accessing Umstead Park, informative Raleigh Parks & Rec website

Thumbs down: nothing to report so far