“A loop of the Umstead State Park bridle paths.”
— Don Childrey
This is a decent loop to ride when all the singletrack trails nearby are closed due to being wet. The bridle paths are graveled (fine gravel) and can be ridden when damp.
Need to Know
There are water fountains (turned on unless the weather is freezing at night) at 2.1 miles, 6.3 miles, and 13.1 miles.
This loop ride begins at the Old Reedy Creek Road Trailhead. This fairly new trailhead features a nice restroom with running water, shaded picnic tables, and paved parking. This trailhead offers easy access to Umstead State Park for those approaching from the south side of the park. The trailhead is adjacent to the Town of Cary's Black Creek Greenway and Wake County's Lake Crabtree Park, offering easy access to both.
The ride starts out by following the paved Old Reedy Creek Road over Interstate 40. The pavement ends a short distance beyond the bridge.
The gravel road continues on for almost two miles before ending at the gate that marks the state park boundary. Beyond the gate you reach one of the park's 'bridle paths' of fine gravel. They are just as wide as the gravel road. This fine-grained material is smooth enough to ride with all but the skinniest of bike tires. When wet weather closes the nearby singletrack trails, these bridle paths remain open and offer another way to get in a ride.
The ride follows the bridle paths in a counter-clockwise loop around the park. From 11.3 miles to 13.3 miles, the ride follows a section of gravel road within the park that may have light vehicle traffic.
Five significant climbs will be found along the way, offering a bit of a workout. The flip side of these are the fast downhills that follow!