This 23 mile-rail trail built on an abandoned railroad corridor stretches from the western edge of Apex passing through Wake, Chatham and Durham Counties on its way to Downtown Durham. The last unfinished piece, going over Interstate 40 in Durham County is now under construction. The Town of Cary, along with assistance from the State of North Carolina Adopt-A-Trail and the FHWA SAFETEA-LU programs, rebuilt the 4.7 mile Chatham County section, which Cary now maintains. On the whole, the rail-trail in this section passes through woodland, with occasional views of houses, farm fields, ponds and creeks. Road crossings throughout the Chatham County section are all at grade level. Since the whole trail is built on an old railroad bed it has quite flat and smooth terrain. Remember, hunting in season is allowed, where posted, on Army Corps of Engineers Jordan Lake Game Lands.
Length: The Cary/Chatham County section is 4.7 miles of a total of 23 miles overall extending both north and south from Chatham County.
Trail Width/Surface: The Wake County trail has a 12-foot wide granite screenings surface. The Chatham County trail consists of 10-foot wide asphalt pavement with an adjacent 6-foot wide granite screenings. The Durham County section, currently under construction, will have the same surface as Chatham County up to Scott King Road, where it will change to 10-foot wide asphalt with two foot wide granite screenings shoulders for the rest of the trail. The trail north of I-40 remains open.
Used For: Horse-back riding, walking, running, bicycling, walking leashed dogs, skating, roller blading, pushing strollers and wheelchairs.
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Special Considerations: Please consider bringing drinking water for you and your pets since availability is limited along the trail. A new water fountain has recently been installed at the Pittard Sears Road Trailhead. Hunting is allowed, in season, on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jordan Lake Game Lands managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. These areas are posted and have 4-foot high fencing which separates trail users from hunting areas. Periodic openings in the fence allow hunters to cross the trail. Horses are allowed in the Chatham and Wake County sections of the American Tobacco Trail. Be aware that horses need a wide berth and that fast-moving bicycles may startle animals and pedestrians. Announce your presence and use courtesy.
Restrooms: Wake County restrooms are at the trailhead at White Oak Church Road and at the southern trail entrance at New Hill-Olive Chapel Road. There is a public restrooms in Chatham County at the New Hope Church Road Trailhead Park. The City of Durham Herndon Park at Scott King Road in Durham County has restrooms, also.
Features: This is the longest and most remote trail in Cary and is very popular with runners, bicyclists and others.
The trail can be accessed from a variety of locations if you are on foot or bicycle but on-street parking is prohibited by law along some busy cross streets and there are not sidewalks available. See the map to the right for parking locations and entrances. For the Cary/Chatham County section, parking lots are available at White Oak Church Road, New Hope Church Road and Pittard Sears Road.