28% Complete

North Carolina

Tour rural communities, thriving cities of the Research Triangle, and Wilmington and other coastal towns. A complementary route covers even more coastline.

Total Miles, Spine Route


Miles of Protected Greenway


nc 2020

Click the map for an interactive version

Current Progress

On its way through central and eastern North Carolina, the East Coast Greenway showcases the state’s natural features and cultural diversity. From rolling hills of pine, oak, and hickory forests to farmlands, thriving cities, cypress swamps, and coastal beaches, travelers will experience much of the Tar Heel State’s best.

The current spine route passes through the Research Triangle cities of Durham and Raleigh on extensive greenway trails, then touches the Sandhills and enters Fayetteville. It runs across the coastal plain along the Cape Fear River and explores the port city of Wilmington.

In addition to this main route, the Historic Coastal Route extends south from Virginia on the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail and follows the North Carolina coast more closely, linking Greenville and Jacksonville before heading into Wilmington to join the spine route. 

Traveling by train? 

Quick tips when using Amtrak with your bike: Do your research in advance; each train line features different bike rack equipment and loading procedures. Check Amtrak for the latest and when in doubt: call the station if you have questions. Click for more: https://www.amtrak.com/bike

North Carolina Contacts

Explore North Carolina's East Coast Greenway | Andrew Meeker

Request for Project Proposals: Complete the Trails Program

Let’s build out the East Coast Greenway State Trail in North Carolina! The Complete the Trails Program is now accepting proposals for trail projects; we invite our partners along the route to apply!

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Designated Trails in North Carolina

Mileage counts reflect the portion of each trail that is part of East Coast Greenway.

  • Ellerbe Creek Trail, Durham; 1.5 mi

  • South Ellerbe Creek Trail, Durham; 1.5 mi

  • Downtown Trail, Durham; 1.3 mi

  • American Tobacco Trail, Durham, Chatham, & Wake Counties; 17.5 mi

  • Black Creek Greenway and White Oak Greenway, Cary; 12.75 mi

  • Umstead State Park Trail, Wake Co.; 5.3 mi

  • Reedy Creek Greenway, Raleigh; 4.7 mi

  • Walnut Creek Trail, Raleigh; 4.5 mi

  • Rocky Branch Trail, Raleigh; 1.2 mi

  • Pullen Park Trail, Raleigh, 0.35 mi

  • Little Rock Trail, Raleigh, 1 mi

  • Lower Walnut Creek Trail, Raleigh, 2.7 mi

  • Chavis Way sidepath, Raleigh; 0.3 mi

  • Central Raleigh Trail, Raleigh; 0.58 mi

  • Neuse River Trail, Raleigh-Clayton; 13 mi

  • Sam's Branch Greenway, Clayton; 2.5 mi
  • Front Street Sidepath, Clayton; 0.7 mi
  • Buffalo Creek Greenway, Smithfield; 2.9 mi

  • Dunn-Erwin Trail, Dunn-Erwin; 5.3 mi

  • South Tar River Greenway, Greenville; 3.2 mi

  • Cape Fear River Trail, Fayetteville; 4.1 mi

  • Jacksonville Rail-Trail, Jacksonville; 2.6 mi

  • Greenfield Lake Path, Wilmington; 1.75 mi

  • Cross-City Greenway, Wilmington; 6.75 mi

  • Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, South Mills; 3 mi

  • Carolina Beach Island Greenway, Carolina Beach; 1.2 mi

  • Surf City Bridge Multi-Use Path, Surf City,: 0.8 mi

  • North Carolina Aquarium at Ft. Fisher Trail, Kure Beach; 0.4 mi

  • Southport-Ft. Fisher Ferry, south of Wilmington; 4 mi

  • Emerald Path, Emerald Isle; 8.7 mi

  • South Tar River Greenway, Greenville,: 3.2 mi

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Triangle Bikeworks, a grantee based in the Triangle region of North Carolina, provides after-school and summer cycling programs to empower and enrich youth of color.

Greenway Guidance

While the East Coast Greenway Alliance is constantly improving the safety of the Greenway route through its advocacy efforts, many of the current on-road connections, including those on the Greenway’s interim routes, have little or no special provisions for bicyclists or pedestrians. Long-distance travel via on-road sections of the Greenway is recommended for experienced cyclists only. Many lengthy traffic-free segments of the Greenway are suitable for families and cyclists, walkers and runners of all ages and abilities. 

The current on-road routing is housed on low-traffic roads whenever possible. We aim to be as clear as we are able about the conditions riders can expect by including alerts for known stressful sections on our online mapping tool at map.greenway.org. Directional signage may or may not be present along the route. Users are advised to review state traffic laws, research current road conditions and discuss plans with people familiar with area roadways.

This website provides information for the public about trails and roads for traveling the interim route of the East Coast Greenway and their general suitability for long-distance cycling and walking. The East Coast Greenway Alliance and those involved with the development and publication of this website do not assume any liability for injuries, damage or loss to persons using this information or the routes suggested. People using this information are responsible for their own safety and should take appropriate precautions. 

Our Partners in North Carolina

Partners include but are not limited to:

Triangle Trails Initiative Sponsored by the East Coast Greenway Alliance, Triangle Trails Initiative is a newly launched collaboration between government, business, anchor institutions and civic leaders to make the Research Triangle Region a national leader in greenways and trails. Click for more. 

Impact of East Coast Greenway in NC's Triangle region

In 2017, the East Coast Greenway Alliance commissioned a study to put numbers on what we know to be true: Greenways are good for economic growth. Prepared by Alta Planning + Design and sponsored by GSK, the report finds that the East Coast Greenway generates $90 million in total benefits annually for the Triangle region, from gains in health and the environment to transportation and access benefits, economic gains, and increased property values.

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Trips of Interest

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Itinerary • Durham to Raleigh, NC

North Carolina Cross-Triangle Ride

Spend a day biking across North Carolina's Research Triangle

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Itinerary • Williamsburg, VA

Virginia Capital Trail

2-day out-and-back bike ride: Recommended by Sarah Sanford

View All Itineraries

News and features of interest

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November 9, 2023

Video: Meet Rashawn King of Triangle Trails

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October 20, 2023

Video: Exploring North Carolina's East Coast Greenway

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October 3, 2023

Historic $55 million investment in North Carolina trails will continue East Coast Greenway development

Want to see the Greenway grow in North Carolina?

Together, let's grow the Greenway

Recent record-setting funding for design and construction goes directly to building the East Coast Greenway - as it should. The East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment. Invest today and support the growth of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.