2023 is the Year of the Trail in NC

Whether you want to walk, run, hike, bike, paddle, or ride, there’s a local trail for everyone.

Kayaking at Forest Ridge Park

Kayak, mountain bike, paddle board, or hike the trails of Forest Ridge Park.

Photo by RALtoday

If your New Year’s resolutions involve getting outside more or leveling up your weekly walks, you’re in luck — 2023 is the Year of the Trail in NC. This campaign celebrates our state’s vast network of trails, greenways, and blueways through guided adventures, learning opportunities, workdays, and more.

In 2021, the NC General Assembly designated 2023 as the Year of the Trail. Why? This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1973 North Carolina Trails System Act, which created the NC Trails Program.

NC is the Great Trails State and it shows. Trails are the cornerstone of outdoor recreation in NC, which provides 260,000+ jobs and has an economic impact of more than $28 billion. NC has 12 state trails and 40+ state parks with hundreds of miles of trails (think: Umstead State Park and Falls Lake Recreation Area).

A map of NC's state trails.

NC has 12 state trails.

Courtesy of NC Trails

Whether you want to walk, run, hike, bike, paddle, or ride, there’s a local trail for everyone. Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Now through February 28, the Sertoma Arts Center is showcasing more than 40 trail-inspired paintings in their general order from the mountains to the sea.
  • Join a monthly Full Moon Fever Ride to bike 16 or 32 miles along the American Tobacco Trail in Durham at night. The next one is on Saturday, Jan. 7. Pro tip: Bring a helmet and lights.
  • Learn about West Point on the Eno during an approx. three-mile history hike with themes like “Reading the Landscape” and “Playful Pastimes.” Check out the hikes (search “history”).
  • Train for the Mountains to Sea Trail 12-mile and 50K challenge on Sunday, April 16. Participants will start at Blue Jay Point County Park and run through the woods around Falls Lake.
  • Explore five hikes with water views near Raleigh.
  • Try one of these six Triangle hikes.

Find a trail near you and view more trail events.

Bonus: Wake County Parks created a Trail Tracker card featuring its eight parks and three preserves. Download it to check off each spot.

What’s your favorite trail in NC? Let us know.

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