The Crabtree Creek Greenway runs a total of 12 or so miles. It starts with a parking lot at the end of Lindsay Dr. in the Oak Park subdivision above Crabtree Valley Mall. It follows along Crabtree Creek to Milburne Dr. near Wake Med on New Bern Avenue (you can park on MilBurnie Dr. but there is no official parking lot). It is a gorgeous greenway marred only by the fact that it crosses/uses several roads along the way and the car traffic can be uncomfortable.
According to the Capital Area Greenway System Map the Crabtree Creek Greenway is divided into several segments. Starting at the Oak Park end, the segments are:
- "Crabtree-Oak Park Segment, 1.63 miles, Parallels Crabtree Creek from Lindsay Dr in Oak Park neighborhood to Creedmoor Rd." The are a couple of short connector trails at the bridge over Crabtree creek that you will want to avoid.
- "Crabtree Valley Segment, 1.74 miles, Parallels Crabtree Creek from Creedmoor Rd and Crabtree Valley Ave and connects to the Alleghany Segment." This segment runs the length of Crabtree Valley Mall, goes past the McDonald's at the end of the mall, goes under Glenwood Ave and Century dr. You have to know to turn right and catch the weird short bridge over a creek, and the greenway then goes under the beltline (I-440 - huge bridge with rip-rap, can't miss it). [If you miss that right hand turn and the weird bridge, you will end up headed toward Shelly Lake - you know you have made this mistake if you find yourself needing to cross North Hills Dr.]. The Greenway then dumps you in the subdivision surrounding the Carolina Country Club on Allegheny Dr. Look at it on Google Maps and you can see what is going on.
- "Alleghany Segment, 3.09 miles, Follows Crabtree Creek from access on Alleghany Dr to intersection of Claremont Rd and Anderson Dr". Unless you look at a map it is impossible to traverse this subdivision and find the trail. You need to take Alleghany Dr. to Transylvania Ave. to Hertford St. to Northampton St, which is right next to Aldert Root Elementary School. Next to the school pick up a short trail just a few hundred feet long to Lassiter Mill Rd. Turn left and proceed about a quarter of a mile on the sidewalk along Lassiter Mill Rd. to the next piece of trail on the right. You will follow this until it dumps you out on Claremont Rd. Cross over Anderson Dr., past Our Lady of Lourdes church on Oxford and find the trail on the left.
- "Middle Crabtree Creek Segment, 2.47 miles, Parallels Crabtree Creek from Oxford Rd to Raleigh Blvd." This part of the trail can be confusing because of side trails, so look at the trail on Google Maps. If you find yourself going under Wake Forest Rd., you are going the right way. You will go under Atlantic Ave. You will climb a huge uphill boardwalk. You will go under Capital Blvd. There is another boardwalk through a large wetland area, and then you will climb out of the wetland to Raleigh Blvd. .
- "Buckeye Segment, 2.51 miles, Parallels Crabtree Creek from Raleigh Blvd to Milburnie Rd." After you climb out of the wetland, you are dumped onto Raleigh Blvd. Turn right, go a few hundred feet and just past the intersection of Crabtree Blvd and you will see the trail start on the left. This piece of trail has a big hill in the middle of it - it is not shameful to walk up or down this hill, especially if it is wet or covered with slippery leaves in the Fall. The trail ends at Milburnie Rd.
After you ride this trail the first time, it is easy to stay on track. But that first time you will want to follow the trail on Google Maps ahead of time and take a GPS with you on the ride in case you get lost. It is really easy to find yourself at the end of one segment and then be unable to discover the beginning of the next segment. There are often a lot of walkers and riders on the trail who seem to be happy to help as well.