Over the past few weekends, when the weather was a little less hot and humid, I started to explore the Walnut Creek Greenway which runs East-West between I-40 and Tryon Road. There is a new trailhead that now connects to Lake Wheeler Road across from the Farmer’s Market. I was on the trail this past weekend before it got too terribly hot. The Walnut Creek Greenway is a hidden gem for those that haven’t found it yet.
Starting at the Farmer’s Market, you head East along the greenway. You can see a path that goes South which will be a future connection to the NC State Centennial Campus greenway system. There is a really cool railroad crossing that you go underneath, a variety of tunnels, and many historic spots along the way.
You’ll see glimpse’s of Caraleigh Mills through the tree line. Then you go under South Saunders Street via a tunnel. Next is the EB Bain Water Treatment Plant before getting into South East Raleigh where you can test your nature skills in the Legacy Garden. If the Legacy Garden were better maintained and publicized, it could be one of Raleigh’s most popular natural spots. It has the potential to be a city botanical garden or similar. A big missed opportunity for South East Raleigh. Along most of the street crossings, you’ll catch amazing views of the downtown Raleigh skyline.
Most of the greenway is well-maintained and provides a great experience. There were a few spots along the way that could use some clean-up efforts. In the area around Dacian Road, there is a lot of trash like shopping carts, old tires, and children’s toys littering the creek. Unfortunately, there is also litter along portions of the Legacy Garden and the around the observation deck (in the swampy area). It looks like some of the flash flood waters move the litter from neighboring streets. I think cleaning up the greenway area in these spots would be a good project for a future Service Raleigh effort.
My route usually takes me out to Worthdale Park, but I’ve gone as far as the Walnut Creek Amphitheater (on bike). If you haven’t had a chance to explore the Walnut Creek Greenway, on bike or on foot, I would highly recommend it. For those on foot, it’s relatively flat and there are numerous benches along the way. The new section behind Caraligh Mills is mostly shaded.
I took some pictures to whet your appetite, which you can see in the gallery below. But the pictures do not do justice for the in-person views. These are not the only things to see along the Walnut Creek greenway; I’ve left a few things out so that you can explore for yourself. Get out for a walk, a jog, or a bike ride, see some nature right down the street, and discover why Raleigh is a city in a park.