RTP’s newest “park and ride” lot isn’t about commuting – it’s about recreating!
The RTP Mountain Biking Trail has grown quite popular since its completion in 2009, and this fall, we are happy to make the trail even more accessible to our mountain biking community. We’ve installed a gravel parking lot just west of the trailhead on Louis Stephens Drive to make using the trail even easier. For now, riders will need to park in the lot and take a very short ride along Louis Stephens to reach the current trailhead. It’s a quick trip and will allow riders to avoid parking in the muddy shoulder and right-of-way just outside the trailhead.
The parking lot is compressed gravel to retain the pervious nature of the natural area preserve that the trails are in and features enough space for about 22 vehicles.
With autumn upon us, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy the cooler weather, fewer biting insects and great fall foliage the trail has to offer. The current set of trails loop through the woods for about 2 miles.
The Fern Gully Loop, which is about about 1.5 miles long, takes you through a hardwood forest with verdant ferns dotting the forest floor. The East Pine Forest Loops takes you through a forest of mixed hardwoods and conifers, and is about 0.5 mile long. Our second phase of the trail is currently in design and will add a few more miles to existing trail in the coming year. Hopefully, we will also be able install a connection to the trail from the parking lot itself.
Take a look at our updated map of the RTP Mountain Biking Trails, including the location of the new parking lot. And for those of you who haven’t been on the trail yet, it’s a great technical trail for mountain bikers, located in the southern portion of RTP. It’s a moderately challenging trail that includes rock armoring, stream crossings, and ladder bridges along with an abundance of dips and rolling contours. (It also makes for a pleasant lunch-time walk or hike – just be sure to step aside for cyclists riding through.)
The trail is maintained by Triangle Off Road Cyclists through a memorandum of understanding with RTP. We are grateful for their continued support and continuous effort in keeping this trail (and others in the area) in great condition.