If you're in the mood for the Appalachian Trail but have only a day to hike..
There's a hike for everyone, from the couch potatoes to the rugged outdoorsy types. Bikers have 11 miles of trails to use in one of the only state parks with designated mountain-biking trails. The bikers share the trails with equestrians, who have access to a trailhead parking lot for their horse trailers at Camp Sycamore.
User review by girl_scout. I spent every summer, from 1945-1958, at Lapihio Girl Scout Camp at WB Umstead. It is handicap friendly, beautiful, and just as it was 50 years ago. Built by WPA, it's historic. Best influence on me of my life! Just recently returned with two former campers. What a day! Don't forget bug repellent!
Nature Park in Raleigh is cool. Umstead is a great park for the Raleigh area, although it's just pitiful compared to pisgah, and the smokies in Western North Carolina. The Water quality of the creeks and "rivers" is a joke, and every five or ten minutes while you're out there a plane will fly over on it's way to the airport. The trailheads on the cary side are better in my opinion, more scenic. While the sycamore trail on the hwy 70 entrance is a lot longer (about 6 miles or so). There's also a cool 12 mile loop that I hear is cool, but I've never been on.
Perfect City Retreat. It's hard to believe this awesome park is situated right in the middle of the sprawltropolis known as the Triangle. It's a great respite from all the concrete and parking lots popping up all over the place. The only con: You can still hear the traffic from the beltline.
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