House Creek Trail: MP 1.25 to 2.9

IMG_8471Even though the House Creek Trail was completed only 2 years ago, the trail’s history dates back to 1973 when it was a mere 350ft unpaved foot path and the foundation of the Capital Area Greenway.  House Creek Trail is a north/south connection between Reedy Creek Trail (near Meredith College/Wade Ave) and Crabtree Creek Trail (near Crabtree Valley Mall).  Having explored all other parts of House Creek Trail, I was excited to visit this last stretch and get some more mileage in before the City of Oaks 10k back in November.

I parked in the residential area (Leonard St/Ridge Rd intersection) behind the Ridgewood Shopping Center and then walked on the sidewalk toward Wade Ave to start at the end of the trail, which is mile marker 2.9.  The trail parallels Wade Ave for awhile before heading straight uphill towards the NC Museum of Art.  Before crossing the 440-beltline pedestrian bridge, bare right at the House Creek Trail sign and proceed with caution down the steep hill.

IMG_8497This greenway parallels the eastern side of the 440-beltline until the pedestrian crossover at Glen Eden Rd.  Even though you can hear and see the 440-beltline traffic, with the expansive tree lines on both sides of the trail, I sometimes felt like I was miles away in middle earth.  Occasionally I passed other bikers and walkers, but for the most part on this chilly October morning it was just me and Claire.  Before coming to the Lake Boone Trail tunnel, we passed the small Horton St apartment complex and a designated greenway parking lot located behind Martin Middle School.  It was around this time (mile post 2.0) that I also spotted a random basketball pole and hoop in the nearby creek, making me question the history of this area.

Continuing on, we spent some more time going uphill and navigated through the tunnel underneath Lake Boone Trail.  There are huge rock piles and large drain pipes here to help with drainage since this is a rather hilly spot.  We continued on a bit further and came upon an information plaque highlighting the original House Creek Trail and more details of the history of the Capital Area Greenway.  This part of the trail is relatively flat, which was a comforting change (see my elevation change photo below) so we continued on until the tunnel at Glen Eden Rd (approx mile post 1.25) where we turned around.

Having explored all of House Creek Trail now, I can say that I enjoy the flatter stretch of the trail from Glen Eden Rd to Crabtree Valley Mall, even though this probably better prepared me for the hilly City of Oaks run!

More Resources:

Thumbs up: scenery, safety, wide trails

Thumbs down: beware of the hills

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.

Marshall Memorial Park Dedication


We had the great privilege of being invited to the private dedication of Marshall Park at Glen Eden Pilot Park on Memorial Day this year (what an appropriate post now that summer has ended).  It was a gorgeous day despite the heat and humidity and a wonderful way to celebrate and honor those who have served in the US Armed Forces.

At least 100 people were in attendance to remember and honor Lt. Col. George F. Marshall who died while commanding troops during the British-American invasion of Oran, also known as Operation Torch.  The ultimate goal of this invasion on November 8, 1942, was to secure the port and keep it open.  Of the 17 officers and 376 men of Col. Marshall’s battalion, 9 officers and 180 men were killed in this operation, which was deemed a failure.

img_3285When Col. Marshall died, he left behind a grief-stricken 26 year-old wife, Dahlis Marshall, and two young boys, George “Rick” Jr. and Michael.  Mrs. Marshall wrote letters asking for more details surrounding her husband’s death.  Leo Disher, a war correspondent who had accompanied Marshall’s troops, eventually received her letters while he was recovering in a hospital in England.  They corresponded several times over the heroics and terrors of WWII, but she was finally able to piece together enough information so that when her sons were old enough she could tell them how courageous their dad was.  My favorite excerpt (that gives me chills) from a telegram from Disher to Mrs. Marshall is, “You need never fear the boys’ questions, Mrs. Marshall.  You can tell them their father tackled a job of greatest importance to the success of our armies and that he never quit fighting against impossible odds, and that he never struck the ship’s colors.  I hope this letter may help a little.  But it is wrong for you to say you are asking a great deal of me.  You are one of whom a great deal was asked and proudly given.  You and a great many others at home.”

The dedication was a very special one, especially with all the family members in attendance.  Mrs. Marshall remarried in 1945 to Lt. Col. Robert Middleton Booth, a classmate of Col. Marshall, and several of the Booth family members were also in attendance.  Col. Marshall’s son, Rick, understandably got choked up several times during his speech especially when recounting his father’s war-time bravery and when his young son surprisingly came to the mic to say a few words about his late grandfather.

After the ceremony, which also included a tribute from Brig. Gen. William J. Gothard and keynote address from historian Warren Bingham, we walked along House Creek Greenway to the park site followed by a large tented luncheon (which we opted out of).  The community building nearby also housed a great deal of Marshall memorabilia including those special letters between Disher and Mrs. Marshall.  It was amazing to see how many keepsakes the families had preserved.

The dedication program listed some additional credits, from which I’ve included a few excerpts: “Soldiers of the Press is a war drama that was created in New York and originally broadcast on Sundays from Feb 1943 – Aug 1945.  There are at least 39 episodes in circulation out of the 148 known to exist.  Two episodes, 5 and 11, are about war correspondent Leo Disher.  Episode 5 reenacts his experiences on the HMS Walney where he met Lt. Col. Marshall.  Episode 11 revisits Disher’s Walney experience as he reads Ms. Marshall’s letter and dictates a reply.”  When I find some spare time I’ll listen to these two specific episodes.

It was an honor to be invited to such a ceremony and I’m looking forward to telling Ashley (and now Claire) about the reasons for Memorial Day and the importance of such heroic men and women.  Visit my original review of this park and how I stumbled upon it.  This is one of the hidden gems in Raleigh and a great spot for reflection amid a run or bike ride.

Marshall Memorial Park Dedication – May 27, 2013

img_2705I was super excited to receive a personal invitation to the Marshall Memorial Park dedication and reception on Memorial Day – May 27, 2013!  Marshall Memorial Park is named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel George F. Marshall who was killed in action during the Oran invasion in North Africa during World War II.  The park was gifted by long-time Raleigh resident, Rick Marshall, in honor of his father.

img_2712Marshall Memorial Park is a small park, great for reflection and rest, located along the recently opened House Creek Trail greenway.  I wrote a post about it last fall following the House Creek Trail grand opening.  It has a beautiful pergola, a variety of native plants and trees, and granite pavers that lead to benches near the stream.  The park is located close to the intersection of Blue Ridge Rd and Crabtree Valley Ave.

The dedication and reception will take place at Glen Eden Community Center on Memorial Day – Monday, May 27, 2013 at 11am.  Being a die-hard red, white and blue girl I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Memorial Day!



House Creek Trail Grand Opening

img_2710At the House Creek Trail dedication and grand opening ceremony yesterday, you really got a sense of the anticipation and excitement around this new trail.  Many guests spoke about the history of the greenway system, especially highlighting the fact that House Creek was Raleigh’s first pilot greenway trail back in the 1970s.  It was a short gravel path made possible by the Barefoot family, who was also in attendance at the grand opening.  Fast forward forty years and the addition of the new House Creek Trail brings the total greenway mileage up to 78!  At 2.9 miles long, the House Creek Trail is a vital north/south connection between Meredith College and the Crabtree area.

The grand opening took place inside Glen Eden Pilot Park.  After the ceremony we headed towards Crabtree Valley Mall on the newly paved path.  While on our way, we cruised by I-440 rush hour traffic in the distance, crossed bridges, noticed large land developments underway, and visited the Marshall Memorial Park.  Not aware of the Marshall Memorial Park, we stopped to take a look and a quick rest.  The park is a project funded by Rick Marshall, long-time Raleigh realtor, in honor of his father, Lt. Col. George F. Marshall.  Lt. Col. Marshall was killed in World War II while commanding troops during the British-American invasion of Oran, also known as Operation Torch.  The park is quietly located near the intersection with Blue Ridge Rd and contains a iron arbor and several stone seats and a wooden boardwalk, making it a good place to reflect and relax.

img_2712After passing the memorial park, we came to Blue Ridge Rd, which was rather busy around 5pm.  Several signs alert you of the busy two-lane highway, so we were able to cross with ease and continued to the corner across from the McDonalds.  In all it was a relatively easy .75 miles from Glen Eden Park to the McDonalds.  The mile markings begin near the McDonalds and display every .25 miles.

After arriving back to Glen Eden Park, we continued south on the House Creek Trail where we crossed under the Glen Eden Rd tunnel and kept on until the 1.5 mile marker.  The path is well landscaped throughout; natural grasses, plants and trees line most of the shady path with newly planted magnolias and other hardwoods throughout.  If you’re concerned about walking on the sidewalks of Glen Eden Dr or other areas that seem more dramatic from the beltway, don’t worry – this greenway trail has more railings and safety features than any other I’ve seen!  The stone wall along the tunnel slightly reminded me of Hokie Stone at VT!

Covering half of the new trail was a perfect end to a gorgeous fall day.  We passed so many bikers, joggers and walkers enjoying the new trail.  We’re excited to start at the southern end near Meredith College and work our way north next time.  Check out my previous post about House Creek Trail when it was under construction.

Thumbs up: landscaping, safety railings, signage, safety of the area, memorial park, connection created between Meredith College and Crabtree

Thumbs down: nothing to report

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