When I started this blog a month ago, one of my goals was to review NC hiking trails that we trek to. Well, I haven’t been hiking this month! My head is down in shame, just so you know and can feel sorry for me.
From seriously crappy weather to a family emergency that took us out of town, hiking just hasn’t been in the cards for us trailblazers this past month. So, I sifted through iPhoto to find some pics of our spring jaunt to a teeny part of the 38-mile Falls Lake Trail. If you live in North Raleigh and just want an easy hike the kids can do, this is for you.
Important: Turns out the entrance to this area (the Falls Lake Visitor Assistance Center) is actually closed on weekends from April – September. Boo! It IS open during the week from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm though which is perfect for next week’s Black Friday if shopping’s not your thing. If you can only do weekends, try the paved Long Leaf Trail. The parking is before the closed gate and it’s a stroller-friendly walk through the woods that’s 3/4 mile each way.
Directions: Take I-540 to Falls of Neuse Road. Drive north about 2 miles. The entrance will be on your left, just a minute or so past the Bedford subdivision. The sign looks like this:
The trail goes partly along Falls Lake. This part of the lake is the easternmost part so you’re not going to see vast open water here. Instead it’s slightly marshy with dead branches built up along the shores and some hints of the bigger part of the lake as well. I think the marshy stuff makes the hike quite interesting!
As I said earlier, the hike is pretty easy for kids. It’s a little hilly as it winds through the woods but nothing too strenuous. We probably could have let Big Roo walk for more of the trail but that kid likes hanging in the Kelty pack way too much! (You can see a bigger part of the lake in the background below.)
Don’t let the dog fool you. The hike really isn’t that bad. I’m still smiling aren’t I?
As for the length of the hike, this trail is part of the 38-mile long Falls Lake Trail so the hike is as long as you want it to be. We hiked in for about 45 minutes and then made a u-turn and headed back. Unfortunately there’s not much of a sense of accomplishment in hikes with no actual ending or destination. However, it’s perfect when it’s just a lazy afternoon and you wanna hike just to hike. From the parking lot, there’s a short wooden bridge that Big Roo got a kick out of for some reason. On the way back to the car, we stopped for some pics and an end-of-hike smooch. And that’s all she wrote.
Tip: If you’re planning to go to the Falls Lake Trail, don’t park in the parking lot that you first see when you turn off Falls of Neuse. If you do, you’ll have to walk nearly a mile on the paved Long Leaf Trail before you get to the trail.
I give this trail three critters. While the view is nothing spectacular, nor is it a challenging hike, it’s an easy one for young trailblazers to hike a little themselves. Plus, it’s an easy drive from most anywhere in Raleigh- a quick getaway that doesn’t require a road trip of potty breaks, tantrums or “are we there yet?”