Welcome to NC Rail-Trails!

North Carolina Rail-Trails works with communities across North Carolina to create trails for public use on abandoned rail corridors.

Rail-trails differ from other trails and greenways in several characteristics. The terrain for rail-trails is generally flat or gently sloped because the land was originally engineered for rail use. This makes rail-trails wonderful places to ride a bike and many are wheelchair accessible. Also, rail corridors are usually wide enough to accommodate many different types of trail use: biking, walking, jogging, horseback riding, dog walking, pogo-sticking … you get the idea.

Another positive attribute of a rail-trail is that it actually goes somewhere. Just as trains went from one community to the next, so does the rail-trail, creating a natural link between communities. Today, we can maintain these community links by utilizing existing rail corridors that are so perfectly suited for trails.

Does your community have an abandoned railroad? Would you like to have a safe place to play and exercise while preserving your community’s train heritage? Please contact NCRT if you would like us to help you create a rail-trail in your area.

Link to News Archive

To see all earlier NEWS items please go to our News Archives page.

We've added some new trail images to our Photo Gallery.

posted by curt on August 10, 2014

Registration for our Ales for Rail-Trails 5K Race is open. The Race will be held on Sunday October 12th and once again we'll be starting and finishing just east of downtown Durham with a portion of the course on the Ellerbe Creek Trail. Bull City Running Co. will be providing major course support with post-race libations from FullSteam Brewery. Click here for more on the race and a link to our registration page.

posted by curt on July 29, 2014

Over the past several months the Elkin Valley Trails Association has seen lots of of progress on the E & A Rail-Trail. On July 12th NCRT held its quarterly Board meeting in Elkin and following our meeting took a walk on the trail with Bill Blackley of EVTA http://elkinvalleytrails.org/. The new bridge is open for users and will be formally dedicated later this Summer (click for image). From downtown the trail will be about two miles but the downtown portion is not marked as such. The new portion of the trail is ~ one mile long. EVTA has received great local support from volunteers and received grants and donations from a number of Corporations and Foundations. The bridge alone cost $91,000; installing pilings and bridge $78,000; construction roads and trails over $45,000; FEMA studies, environmental studies and work, engineering, etc. over $60,000. Major contributors/grant givers included: Lowes Foundation; WIFM radio, Town of Elkin, Surry County, Chatham Foundation, Hillsdale Foundation, Winston-Salem Foundation, RTP grant, over 60 businesses, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Yadkin Rotary Club, multiple restaurants, Walmart, Frontier Gas, Greenhill Environmental, Yadkin Valley Railroad, and many more. The group is working to secure a second grant for the second bridge and hopes to begin building that bridge after Feb 15, 2015. By the rules of the grant we can't start any construction until we get funding. We are however, planning to build trail north of the planned-for second bridge so that when the grant is completed and the bridge is installed citizens will be able to get on the trails and walk or ride a long way right from the first day.

EVTA has held multiple fundraisers and a dedicated group of citizens have given over 6,000 volunteer hours on the Association's various trails and activities. If you would like to assist in the Association's trail building please check their Facebook page for news on coming events and workdays: https://www.facebook.com/ElkinValleyTrails. 

posted by curt on May 25, 2014

We've just loaded the on-line version of our latest Newsletter. Our lead article tells some history of the mills, warehouses and rail line which were central to the economy of Rocky Mount during much of the 20th century. Re-development is now occurring and a few active citizens are working hard to put in place a 1 mile rail-trail as a key piece of these changes. You'll also find updates on the Dunn-Erwin extension project, the bridge and other construction work by the Elkin Valley Trail Association in Surry County, and on the completion of the final phase of the American Tobacco Trail in Durham. While not a rail-trail in North Carolina, you may be interested in a fairly new and very popular trail in South Carolina, the Swamp Rabbit Trail near Greenville. This recent article is testimony to the effects this greenway has had on the town of Travelers Rest and shows what a great investment rail-trails can be for local communities.

posted by curt on May 22, 2014

Our initial Toast to Trails ride saw 62 happy riders cycle 36 miles on the American Tobacco Trail to the Cloer Family Vineyards for lunch, music and wine tasting. A good time was had by all and many of the riders remarked on how lovely the vineyard was and how they enjoyed the ride. We hope to make this an annual event.Thanks so much for everyone who rode, volunteered and helped coordinate this fundraiser.