The urban metropolitan area of Raleigh is jam-packed with people, businesses, busy streets, and neighborhoods. It's no wonder so many people are looking for a close place to escape and enjoy nature, and one of the best places to do that is on the Shelley Lake Trail. The 2.5-mile asphalt path loops around a beautiful lake, canvased in tall trees with views of open fields and the city along its 10-foot wide path.
The trail starts and ends in Shelley Lake Park, a 145-acre area that boasts a diverse habitat filled with thick woods, grasslands, a 53-acre lake, and natural beaches. Starting at the main parking area for the park, the trail is well marked and starts on the northern end of the lot, and continues an 8th of a mile before it reaches the lake. Heading south, you'll find a small rest area with restrooms, water fountains, benches, and trash bins to use.
Heading out, you'll find even more to do and see, like enjoying the scenic views of the lake, with additional views of open fields and grasslands, backed by the neighborhoods of Raleigh that surround the park. Other activities that are enjoyed along the trail include biking, exercising on the equipment along the trail, fishing on the piers that extend out to the lake, swimming, and roller skating. Many people enjoy seeing the wildlife of the area too, with the ability to see active eagles nests, hawks, fish, snakes, turtles, rabbits, beavers, deer, and skunks.
The loop continues around the lake and around the northern portion, where the woods get thicker and the area watery since it passes over Mill Creek that flows into the lake. After reaching its last turn, the trail connects back to the original entrance to the parking lot, where you can stop, enjoy some time to rest in nature, or head back. No matter how much you spend here though, you and Fido will be sure to make many trips back thanks to the serene and calming area in the middle of the city.