One thing Cary does really well is providing many areas for residents to ride their bikes off-street. While the town is in desperate need of more bike lanes (and they are working on it), there are still plenty of places where you can ride your bike and not worry about sharing the road with cars or trucks, making it a safe place to ride for all skill levels.
To be eligible for this list, each place must match the following criteria:
- Must not share a road with motor vehicles
- Must be around a mile or longer
- Must be in Cary
- Must be ridable for all kinds of bicycles and skill levels (so no mountain bike trails, that will be its own article!)
Here are the top 5 places to ride your bike leisurely in Cary.
5. Hinshaw Greenway
Length: 1.7 miles (one way)
Parking: You can park at Marla Dorrel Park (111 Thurston Drive). There are plenty of spaces and they rarely fill up. If you’re bringing the kids, Marla Dorrel Park has a very big playground (one of the best in Cary) and plenty of bike racks so you can lock up and play before or after partaking in your journey.
Hinshaw Greenway is nothing short of a magical experience. You begin at Marla Dorrel Park and traverse the paved path in the woods until you reach a pedestrian bridge overlooking the highway. Biking across the bridge with hundreds of cars directly below creates a feeling that no other greenway on this list can offer. After the bridge, you descend back into the woods, eventually reaching MacDonald Woods Park, which features a basketball court and a small playground. Beyond the park, the trail continues for a bit further until it exits near SE Maynard Road.
The reason why Hinshaw isn’t ranked higher on the list is due to the fact that the initial hill you have to climb to reach the pedestrian bridge is very steep, which may be challenging for some riders. There is another hill near the end of the trail that is also quite steep. If your knees are up for the (small) challenge, then give Hinshaw a try!
4. Northwoods Greenway
Length: .9 miles
Parking: You can park at Robert V. Godbold Park (2050 N.W. Maynard Road).
Northwoods Greenway, our September Greenway of the Month, is a great but short path that all skill levels can enjoy. What’s fantastic about Northwoods is its connection to Black Creek Greenway, allowing you to easily extend your ride.
The greenway is completely surrounded by trees and wildlife. It is a very relaxing ride and a great place to move at your own pace.
3. Black Creek Greenway
Length: 7.1 miles
Parking: You have a couple of options for where you can start on Black Creek Greenway. If you want the full experience, start at Bond Park (801 High House Rd). If you want to cut the trip in half, you can park at Robert V. Godbold Park (2050 N.W. Maynard Road). If you want to skip to the most scenic sections, you can start at North Cary Park (1100 Norwell Blvd) and make your way to Lake Crabtree.
Black Creek Greenway, the second-largest in Cary and June’s Greenway of the Month, guides you through paved sections amidst trees, wide sidewalks, bridges, a tunnel, and leads to the scenic beauty of Lake Crabtree.
Black Creek Greenway is a LONG greenway. Depending on where you start, you will encounter some hills and slightly challenging sections. However, it is a pretty easy ride for the most part and a great way to explore the nature of Cary.
2. White Oak Creek Greenway
Length: 7.38 miles
Parking: Bond Park (801 High House Rd)
White Oak Creek is probably the most famous greenway in Cary, and for good reason. It is a beautiful trail that goes all the way from Bond Park to the American Tobacco Trail. It is pretty flat, making it an easy ride. Even if you aren’t an experienced cyclist, you might be surprised by just how far you’ll be able to go.
You’ll go through tunnels, trees, multiple parks, wetlands, bridges, and more. White Oak Creek is a great greenway to cycle through and experience how diverse the nature surrounding Cary is.
1. American Tobacco Trail
Length: 23 miles
Parking: While there are multiple parking lots, one of them is located at 2584 New Hope Church Rd.
If you’re looking for a long ride, American Tobacco Trail is your best bet. The trail begins in Apex and stretches across Cary and Durham, passing through three different counties. It is 23 miles long and ends in downtown Durham. It is a one-of-a-kind trail in the Triangle and is always filled with cyclists, runners, and walkers – though it is big enough to accommodate many people at once.
The trail’s level surface not only enhances the ease of cycling but also caters to a wide range of skill levels, making it accessible for both beginners and seasoned cyclists. The canopy of trees adds to the trail’s aesthetic appeal and also provides a pleasant and cool atmosphere on warmer days.
What’s your favorite place to ride in Cary? Comment below!