Twenty miles of hiking trails and 13 miles of bridle trails greet visitors to William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh, which expands across 5,599 acres. Take a short stroll with younger children or embark on a more extensive hike into the woods with older kids who are up for the challenge.
Some trails interconnect, so hikers should pay attention to trail markers to stay on the right path. No bikes or horses are allowed on the hiking trails, but horseback riders have their own set of trails that travel through some of the park’s most scenic and secluded areas. Visitors with horses must bring proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test and check in at the visitors center prior to riding on the trails.
William B. Umstead State Park offers 28 shady campsites open March 15-December 1. Surrounded by hardwood forestry, the campsites offer picnic tables, grills and centrally located drinking water and restrooms. Groups from organizations or nonprofits of up to 25 people can reserve one of the park’s two primitive campgrounds open year-round. One consists of primitive campgrounds while the other, Maple Hill Lodge, consists of an open room with no furniture, so campers must bring sleeping bags. This historic landmark built in the 1930s, is an overnight facility only and campers are required to checkout of it with a park ranger.
Accessible from Interstate 40 and U.S. 70, the park surrounds three manmade lakes: Big Lake, Sycamore Lake and Reed Creek Lake. Big Lake offers canoe and rowboat rentals, and fishing is welcome at all of the lakes and connecting tributaries.