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Lake Johnson - West Loop

  3.4 ( 9 ) Favorite


2.9 mile 4.6 kilometer loop
99% Runnable


Ascent: 129' 39 m
Descent: -130' -40 m
High: 406' 124 m
Low: 348' 106 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 6% (4°)


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Trail shared by Mikhaila Redovian

A fun, urban trail with sections of singletrack and a wilderness feel.

Mikhaila Redovian

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildlife

Closed after dark


This is a great little route tucked inside the belt line, close to downtown Raleigh. The south side of the lake is primarily singletrack. A boardwalk at the far west end of the lake helps runners cross the boggy inflow of Walnut Creek, and the north side of the lake is an unpaved maintenance access road. There are some great views of the lake along this route.

Need to Know

There are some sections with exposed roots on the south side of the lake. A couple of creek crossings on the south side of the lake could require a wet crossing during times of heavy rain.

Runner Notes

Some singletrack sections on the south side of the lake have many exposed roots. Watch your footwork!


From the parking area at the end of Jaguar Park Drive, start your journey on the paved greenway heading downhill toward Lake Johnson. At the bottom of the hill, the paved section ends and the trail splits, forming a loop around the western portion of Lake Johnson. Runners can travel either direction, but this route description travels in a counter-clockwise direction, heading east.

From the trail split at the bottom of the hill, continue straight onto the boardwalk section of the trail. The boardwalk crosses the boggy inflow of Walnut Creek from the west. Once across the boardwalk, the trail begins a slight climb onto the hillside on the south side of the lake. The trail continues to remain relatively level for a while, passing a couple of side trails connecting to neighborhoods on the south of the lake.

The trail transitions to singletrack as it drops downhill for the first of two creek crossings. After the creek, the trail continues and makes a short climb to a scenic overlook with a bench. The trail then drops to another creek crossing before crossing a couple of small footbridges, working its way to the Avent Ferry Road crossing.

The route crosses Avent Ferry and continues uphill to connect with the paved Lake Johnson Greenway Trail. Travel north on the paved East Loop, crossing Lake Johnson on the footbridge with views of the entire lake and the Lake Johnson boathouse. Once across the bridge, the route heads west, crossing Avent Ferry Road again.

A short distance after crossing Avent Ferry, the paved section of the greenway ends and the route continues on a wide, flat section of trail which makes up the Walnut Creek Trail. This section of trail follows the route of a maintenance access road, passing a couple of side trails coming in from the north. You'll be navigating the northern end of the lake at this point, which offers a new perspective on where you've just come from. There are a few nice views of the lake before reaching the western end of the Lake Johnson and the paved greenway that started the route.

From here, head north and uphill on the paved section of greenway back to the parking area at the top of the hill to finish out your trip.

Flora & Fauna

Piedmont hardwood forest and pines dominate the forest here. Geese can be seen on the lake and the occasional deer makes its way through the woods.

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May 8, 2018
Ryan Suchy
Nov 3, 2017
Charles Bell
Great run! This is an awesome route! Greenways, singletrack, bridle trail. This one has a variety of trail types with some great views of the lake. 4mi
May 15, 2016
Gonzalez Carlos

Trail Ratings

  3.4 from 9 votes


  3.4 from 9 votes
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in North Carolina


37 Views Last Month
891 Since Nov 1, 2015



Morning light at Lake Johnson.
Nov 1, 2015 near West Ra…, NC
Picnic area
Jun 11, 2019 near West Ra…, NC
Some sections on the south side of Lake Johnson have lots of exposed roots!
Nov 1, 2015 near West Ra…, NC
The section of trail on the north side of Lake Johnson follows a maintenance access road and is very wide and flat.
Nov 1, 2015 near West Ra…, NC
Scenic overlook on the south side of Lake Johnson.
Nov 1, 2015 near West Ra…, NC
The footbridge that crosses Lake Johnson.  You are likely to encounter fishermen and other park users on this section of the route.
Nov 1, 2015 near West Ra…, NC


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