Having grown up just a few miles from Umstead, and having driven past it literally thousands of times, it is a bit odd to think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually visited the park in my life. I will say, it does have a bit of an “ITB” vibe (will only make sense if you are from Raleigh), and we were definitely a Falls Lake family growing up.
On this Memorial Day, 33rd Birthday, been getting our ass kicked by two kids, weekend – finding something new, but close to home felt like the perfect choice. The thing that struck me first was just how huge the park is, being in the heart of the Triangle. I looked it up and it is nearly 7 square miles. As Raleigh and the Triangle have grown over the last few decades, this park which was once just a forest among forests and farms now stands out a reprieve from concrete and civilization. What an important reminder so close to home of the importance of conservation!
As expected, the park was very busy as compared to almost any other state park we’ve been to – but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t feel crowded. We chose the 2.8 mile Sal’s Branch loop (part of 20 miles of trails within in the park) and while the trail was heavily traveled, it was also very well maintained and a very pleasant, shaded hike. We were lucky to be joined by our friends Pete and Lindsay, with their little guy Luke! Della slept on her momma the whole time and Harvey rode on my back and took advantage of having a friend by singing and yelling for most of the hike.
We will no doubt be back again!
- Strava Link
- Starting Point: Park Office – Highway 70 Entrance (8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617)
- End Point: Same
- Length: 2.8 Miles
- Approximate Hiking Time: 1 Hour
- A new Durham spot (in the location that formerly housed Straw Valley Cafe) we have been meaning to check out and finally made it happen.
- This place is a coffee shop, beer bar (looked to be over 40 beers on tap) and Korean BBQ restaurant with both an awesome (and contained) indoor and outdoor space.
- We loved the food, the space, the drink and will most definitely be back soon and often!
- The only down sides are the location is a bit difficult to get to, and they aren’t open Sundays.