Six Forks Road begins at Atlantic Avenue as a five-lane road and travels west through a commercial area. After an intersection with Wake Forest Road, Six Forks begins traveling through a largely residential area, then takes a curve to the northwest at Anderson Drive. At the I-440 interchange, Six Forks Road becomes much more prominently traveled as it passes through the North Hills shopping center, which consists of restaurants, retail, office buildings, and apartment complexes. Commercial development dominates much of Six Forks' landscape between I-440 and I-540, frequently interrupted by residential and office development. North of the I-540 interchange, Six Forks Road narrows to two lanes and travels north through a residential area. Later, at Possum Track Road, Six Forks makes an abrupt left turn and loops around Falls Lake, ending at NC 98.
The name Six Forks comes from not kitchen utensils, but rather, an area in northern Wake County at which six roads converged approximately half a mile south of the present day I-540 interchange. While the modern intersection consists of only Six Forks and Strickland Roads, historically, two more roadways met here, Baileywick and Lead Mine Roads.
In response to the rapid growth and development of the North Hills community, the City of Raleigh is reviewing plans that will widen Six Forks Road to a six-lane median divided facility between Lynn Road and the I-440 interchange.
As part of a master plan to improve the visual appearance and traffic flow of the current industrial area situated north of Downtown Raleigh, long-term plans call for extending Six Forks Road as a four-lane median divided road from Atlantic Avenue to Capital Boulevard.