North America

Raleigh-Durham, NC

This is a running guide to the Research Triangle Park area, one of the largest research parks in the world. It’s named for the three hub cities of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, and for the three major research universities in those three cities: Duke, NC State University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill respectively. Some 2 million people live in this spread out metro area.

We’ve researched some 20 great running spots in this area, including routes in and near the downtown of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, the major universities, and several parks. There are also several greenways and major trails that are great for running. Some of our favorites: Umstead Park, the Oakwood neighborhood in downtown Raleigh, the campus of Duke University, and some lovely spots around Chapel Hill.

A couple of notes about running in the area. It’s quite spread out, so a car is really necessary. You can get away without one if you’re in one of the three cities or near the universities. Also, many of the secondary roads don’t have sidewalks or shoulders. We’ve tried to map out routes incorporating the best and safest roads.

  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Umstead Park

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Large park between Raleigh and Durham, with 20+ miles of trails. The 13 miles of 'bridle path' trails offer gentler, shaded running. Also some great trail running opportunities. Two separate entrances, leading to different trails.
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Shelley Lake Trail

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Pleasant, paved 2-mile trail around Lake Shelley, located 7 miles north of downtown. Water views a good part of the way. For a longer run, there are additional trails at the north and south ends of the lake.
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Neuse River Greenway Trail

Raleigh-Durham, NC

33-mile paved greenway located south from Falls Lake Dam to Clayton. Closest pass to central Raleigh is 9 miles east, at Anderson Point, which is about Mile 19 on the trail. Good to pick your spot. It's well signed. Gently rolling.
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Lake Johnson

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Pleasant lake 5 miles west of Raleigh, with running trails around its perimeter. Paved 3.5 mile loop, or 5.4 mile loop incorporating 1.9 miles of unpaved trails to make a 'figure eight'. Good shade options.
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Cary: Bond Park Lake Trail

Raleigh-Durham, NC

There are 4+ miles of trails in this lakeside park, including a 2-mile route around the perimeter of the lake. The park also has an amphitheater, rope course, and athletic fields. The park is within the Triangle municipality of Cary, 10 miles west of Raleigh.
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Duke University Campus

Raleigh-Durham, NC

One of the prettiest campuses in the United States and wonderful for running. Enjoy the Georgian-style east campus or the Gothic west campus. Run up to the Duke Chapel. The 3.7 mile Al Buehler Trail loop trail circles the golf course.
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Chapel Hill Highlights

Raleigh-Durham, NC

One can stitch together a really nice run in Chapel Hill, incorporating the festive downtown, the pretty UNC Chapel Hill Campus, and the Battle Branch and Bolin Creek Trails, which together are 3 miles one-way.
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Umstead Park

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Large park between Raleigh and Durham, with 20+ miles of trails. The 13 miles of 'bridle path' trails offer gentler, shaded running. Also some great trail running opportunities. Two separate entrances, leading to different trails.
Explore

Duke University Campus

Raleigh-Durham, NC

One of the prettiest campuses in the United States and wonderful for running. Enjoy the Georgian-style east campus or the Gothic west campus. Run up to the Duke Chapel. The 3.7 mile Al Buehler Trail loop trail circles the golf course.
Explore

The climate is one of the reasons people choose to live and work in this area. Winters are mild, and fall and spring are gorgeous. The downside is the hot and humid summer. Average high temperatures June-August hover near 90F (32C), and nights don’t cool off much. Go early and hydrate accordingly! Average high temperatures in January are about 50F (10C), and nights typically dip to about the freezing mark. Very cold temperatures, ice, and snow are rare. Spring and fall are really delightful for running, with mild to warm temperatures.

The area gets its share of rain, spread evenly throughout the year. From April-October, the rain comes more in the form of thunderstorms. Keep an eye to the sky on summer afternoons!

Bull City Running Company. Durham. Brewpub run Wednesdays 6pm from Fullsteam Brewery

Run n Trip Outfitters. Wake Forest.

Raleigh Running Outfitters. Raleigh

Fleet Feet Sports. Several locations in the area. Two locations in Raleigh, one in Morrisville. Frequent Group Runs. Calendar

RTP Run Club. Thursdays, 5:30 pm. Meet at the Frontier.

Runologie. Great running store in Raleigh. Group runs calendar.

Capital Run WalkGroup run events

 

Group Run Clubs

nOg Run Club
Raleigh Beer Garden
614 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
Mondays at 6:15 p.m.

Big Boss Run Club
Big Boss Brewing Co.
1249 Wicker Drive, Raleigh
Tuesdays at 7 p.m. (summer)

Bond Brothers Run Club
Bond Brothers Beer Company
202 E. Cedar St., Cary
Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Raleigh Brewing Run Club
Raleigh Brewing Company
3709 Neil St., Raleigh
Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

North Carolina Race Calendar.