Between the downtown historic district and the UNC campus, one can put together a pleasant off-road run combining a section of the Cross City Trail and Empie Park. Start at Empie Park (lots of tennis courts), and take the Cross City Trail, a paved multi-use path, through the park and then north to Randall Parkway. Retrace your steps (2.5 miles out and back). Then, west of Empie Park along bucolic Park Ave. (nice residential area) connect to a short section of the paved River to the Sea Bikeway. This section is ~1 mile to Colwell Ave. Overall, the route is 4.6 miles. For longer, there are some decent residential streets in the area.
Add-Ons: There are nice residential streets in the area, off Park Ave. Also, The Cross City Trail continues along south along Independence Ave., but this is not an attractive section.
Notes: There are additional sections of the 15-mile Cross City Trail and the River to the Sea Bikeway, but visitors should note that these trails are not continuous and the signage is inconsistent. See Map.