The 5 Coolest Trails Around JoCo

Want to have some socially distanced fun in the great outdoors? You’ll find plenty of trails around JoCo (that’s short for Johnston County!) that are ideal for all ages and skill levels, so get ready to lace up those hiking boots and head out on your next adventure!

Looking for recommendations? We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite trails and greenways that you won’t want to miss—and you won’t have to travel far to find them, either.

Head for a Hike on These Trails Around JoCo

Whether you’re a beginner hiker or a well-seasoned outdoor enthusiast, you’re sure to find a trail you love right here in Johnson County. Make sure to stay six feet apart on your hikes, and check to see if a trail is open before you visit.

Without further ado, here are a few of our top picks for the best trails around JoCo!

Turnipseed Nature Preserve

Hiking trail sign

Located on the Johnston and Wake County line, the Turnipseed Nature Preserve is less than 20 minutes away from Clayton in Wendell. This 265-acre green space features plenty of room to roam, making it a true hiker’s paradise.

Although it isn’t fully complete, the Preserve showcases more than four miles of trails that wind through various natural habitats. Visitors can also take advantage of the picnicking areas, rock outcrops, and wildlife viewing overlook.

Clayton River Walk on the Neuse

child on a hike

Those who would prefer a slower-paced hike, consider paying a visit to the Clayton River Walk. This serene four mile, 10-foot wide paved trail is one of the most breathtaking spots in town, and there’s no better place to soak up stunning waterfront views of the Neuse.

The Clayton River Walk is ideal for children, bikers, and pets, so feel free to bring them along with you! This trail also connects with many other routes, such as Sam’s Branch Greenway.

Buffalo Creek Greenway

Hiking on a grass trail

Head to the back of the Smithfield Community Park, and you’ll discover a hidden gem called the Buffalo Creek Greenway. Winding for three miles throughout Smithfield, this unique trail features 10-foot wide asphalt paths that pass through rivers, forests, and even downtown.

Love to kayak or canoe? You can access the Town Commons Boat Ramp right off the trail, too!

Neuse River Trail

Walking on a fallen tree branch

The longest trail on our list, the Neuse River Trail spans 38 miles from Falls Lake Dam in Raleigh to North O’Neil Street in Clayton. So if you’re a hiker looking for a challenge, this could be the spot for you.

Even if you don’t want to go on a multi-day trek, you can still explore a smaller portion of the Neuse River Trail by heading to one of its many JoCo trailheads. There are also plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities along the way, including two riverfront suspension bridges.

Sam’s Branch Greenway

Hiking in the sunset

Short but scenic, the Sam’s Branch Greenway is a brand-new trail located in the heart of Clayton. Although it spans just 1.25 miles, it still showcases stunning views of the area’s native flora and fauna, and it’s a top-notch spot to bring your kids or furry friends.

Additionally, Sam’s Branch connects with the Clayton River Walk, so you can extend your hike if you want a longer adventure!

Ready to Explore Johnston County?

If you’re thinking about making a move to Johnston County, we’d love to show you around! Just contact the Tina Barletta Team to turn your home buying dreams into a reality. We have plenty of resources to get you started—and we can even help you sell your current home, too.

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