American Tobacco Trail - Massey Chapel Road to Morrisville Parkway

Overview: From Massey Chapel Road the American Tobacco Trail gives you two possible directions. Going north the newly completed asphalt surface will take you to Renaissance Parkway and the western section of SouthPoint mall. Following the trail markings through the mall area will bring you to a bridge over Interstate I-40 that is scheduled to be open for public use by late January 2014. Going south the ATT now takes you along a new section alongside the road before crossing the road to continue on south. Proceeding south the ATT the trail is asphalt with sand shoulders. You will pass a short connector path on your left leading to the ATT's Fayetteville Road Trailhead in about .75 miles and at 1.1 miles further you will come to a trail crossing at Scott-King Road. South of Scott-King the trail changes to a much wider dual surface trail with asphalt and adjacent granite screenings giving you a choice of a firm or softer surface. About .7 miles south of Scott-King you will cross into Chatham County. The smooth transition from primitive to developed is one highlight of this section. While on the trail, you will notice a transition from urban to rural that mirrors the transition of more to less populated sections. Right after entering Chatham you will cross New Hope Creek, and perhaps a mile more brings you to a trail crossing at O’Kelly Chapel Road. About .8 mile further brings you to Pittard-Sears Road with abundant parking and a seasonal water fountain. About .45 mile further you will cross a second bridge, this one spanning Panther Creek. In another .85 miles you will cross New Hope Church Road, the final trailhead in Chatham County. The change in scenery also highlights the different forms that the American Tobacco trail undertakes.

Trail Information:  While the trail itself feels quite rural, you’ll likely find many other trail users at this popular spot. This section of the trail is surrounded by private property rather than public land; you’ll be warned frequently not to trespass by leaving the trail. However, there are opportunities to leave the trail where it passes by suburban neighborhoods or public parks. Overall, this part of the trail has fewer amenities than the more urban parts of the American Tobacco Trail. About 300 yards north of the crossing with Scott-King Road you will see signs pointing to Herndon Park on the right. Taking the new cement connector path you will find restrooms and water (open seasonally from late March to early November). From that building you can quickly return to the ATT via the connector or take the Park exit road to Scott-King and rejoin the trail. Mile markers occur every half mile, and there are currently no nearby shops or places to stop for water or food, so come prepared with sunscreen, water and anything else you might need for your time on the trail.

The Chatham section of the ATT stretches 4.7 miles and expands to accommodate increased demand in this area. From Scott-King Road to New Hope Church Road the trail has a 6’ wide soft surface adjoining the 10’ paved section. Those seeking a flat, level terrain for walking, running or cycling will especially enjoy this section.  Benches are located ~ every half-mile, and there are a number of trash cans along the trail to allow users to help keep the trail clean.

Parking and Directions: To get to Massey Chapel Road from Chapel Hill, make a right onto Barbee Chapel Road from 54 Hwy. East. This road turns into Farrington Road. Soon afterwards, make a right onto Stagecoach Road. At the end of Stagecoach Road turn left onto Highway 751 North. Massey Chapel Road is the first right. A quarter-mile down the road there are two entrances for the American Tobacco Trail. Parking is allowed along the road by the ATT entrance. Parking is also available at the Fayetteville Road access point across from New Hope Church (7619 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713) and at C.M. Herndon Park (511 Scott King Road 27713). Further south roadside parking near the ATT crossing at O’Kelly Chapel is limited to 4-5 cars along the south side of the road. As of December 2012 there is parking for 4 cars just east of the trail at Pittard Sears Road and a new parking area for 20 cars just west of the trail.