Chatham County is a beautiful and vibrant area replete with parks and walking trails. These green spaces provide opportunities for residents and visitors alike to get out and enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of the Piedmont region. There is a park or trail to suit every need, whether you are looking for a peaceful stroll through the woods, a challenging hike or a fun outing with friends and family. Our guide below provides information on some of the best parks and walking trails in Chatham County, so you can make the most of your time in our charming towns
1. Northwest District Park
2413 Woody Store Rd., Siler City
Amenities include a dining hall that accommodates up to 75 people, activity center that accommodates up to 40 people, picnic shelter that accommodates up to 50 people, pool available weekends only from 1-5 p.m., basketball court, compacted trail, playground and a pond for catch and release only.
2. Briar Chapel Trails
(GPS 35.8287, -79.1082)
1600 Briar Chapel Pkwy, Chapel Hill
Located on 900 acres and 24 miles of trails, Briar Chapel has room for walking, cross-country running or mountain biking. The trails are open from dawn to dusk every day. In partnership with Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, Briar Chapel has a sustainable 18-inch-wide single-track mountain bike trail for 15 miles in and around the community. In 2018, an obstacle course was constructed and is maintained by TORC volunteers.
3. The Park at Briar Chapel
1015 Andrews Store Rd., Pittsboro
Amenities include two softball fields, a football/multipurpose field, a soccer/multipurpose field, a picnic shelter that accommodates up to 55 people, a playground, a paved walking trail and a dog park that features separate sections for big and small dogs, shaded benches and water fountains.
4. Northeast District Park
5408 Big Woods Rd., Chapel Hill
This 66-acre park features softball fields, a multipurpose field, a picnic shelter, a playground, a pond (fishing is allowed, but it’s catch and release only), a tennis court and a 1/4-mile asphalt walking trail loop.
5. American Tobacco Trail
(35.8354283, -78.9281510) Pittard Sears Road Access
(35.8172, -78.9280) New Hope Church Road Trailhead Park
(35.7843596, -78.9224648) White Oak Church Road Access
The 22-plus-mile-long Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project runs 4.7 miles through Chatham County. The trail is a dual surface of asphalt and compacted granite screenings. It’s open for foot, bike or equestrian traffic.
6. Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park
304 Old Rock Springs Cemetery Rd., Pittsboro
This 10-acre park in the Powell Place neighborhood has a mix of open fields and wooded areas with art and play sculptures dispersed throughout, a multipurpose field, a 1/3-mile paved walking trail (popular for road biking and walking), picnic shelters with grills and a misting spray fountain.
7. Lower Haw River State Natural Area
160 Bynum Church Rd., Pittsboro
Enjoy birding, nature photography, fishing, hiking and paddling. While there are no authorized state park trails at this time, there are multiple unofficial footpaths that you can hike along the lower Haw River.
8. Earl Thompson Park
170 Bynum Hill Rd., Pittsboro
Located along the Haw River, this park includes a softball field and a playground. In 2019, county commissioners approved a master plan that would transform the softball field into a 70,686-square-foot multipurpose “event lawn” as well as the installation of natural surface trails, a natural amphitheater, a “place of pause” that would include a labyrinth, an all-inclusive playground and a 4,300-square-foot arts, nature and history center.
9. Jordan Lake Track Trail/Seaforth Pond Trail
Seaforth Beach Road, Pittsboro (35.7354, -79.0380)
The 1.25-mile Seaforth Pond Trail is nearly a loop beginning on the western side of the beach parking lot and ending near picnic shelter No. 9. Visitors can catch glimpses of Jordan Lake while walking through forests of loblolly pines and hardwoods. There is also a meadow and a pond along this path. The Track Trail has been set up for self-guided nature hikes great for the whole family.
10. Knight Farm Community Park
362 Vine Pkwy., Pittsboro
Named after the Knight family, who were longtime Chatham County farmers and residents, this new 10-acre park – the first of five parks to be constructed at Vineyard Park inside Chatham Park – was dedicated in June 2021 and contains a playground, walking trail, multipurpose field, splash pad and dog park. Future amenities will include more than 30 miles of walking, biking and multimodal trails; access to the Haw River and Jordan Lake; and an amphitheater for live music and entertainment.
11. Roland E. Horne Walking Trail
This fully-paved, 1-mile loop near Carolina Central Community College and the Chatham County Public Library is great for strollers with half of the trail shaded by trees. Open year-round. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
12. Vista Point Blue and Red Trail
2498 N. Pea Ridge Rd., Pittsboro
Choose between an easy 1- (blue) or 3-mile (red) loop hike in the Jordan Lake State Park. The Blue Trail passes by an old tobacco barn and crosses a boardwalk, while the Red Trail winds through the pine and mixed hardwood forests. The Red Trail is nearly a loop trail but requires walking along the road about 100 yards to end up back at the beginning. Hikers can rest on a bench along a quiet lake cove and then continue their trek through pine and mixed hardwood forests. Both trails start from the Vista Point Campground.
13. Poplar Point Campground Trail
558 Beaver Creek Rd., Apex
This is an easy 2-mile trail that connects lakeside camping sites.
14. Town Lake Park
529 Highway 902, Pittsboro
Pittsboro’s first park was also once the home of the town’s water supply. The 36-acre park features the Town Lake, a small soccer field, swings, trails, a picnic shelter with grills, a fishing pier and free Wi-Fi.
15. Ebenezer Church Trail/Old Oak Trail
2582 Beaver Creek Road, Apex
Hikers can choose to follow the Old Oak Trail or the Ebenezer Church Trail. The first option begins at Area A across from shelter No. 8. The 1-mile loop begins at the parking lot in the Ebenezer Picnic Area 1. For hikers with small children, look for the shortcut loop, which cuts the distance in half. The second trailhead is at the southeast corner of the beach parking lot. The 1.01-mile trail has a natural surface and passes the site of the historic church for which the area was named. Parts of the path includes an abandoned roadbed and a long boardwalk.
16. Loves Creek Greenway
623 S. Second Ave., Siler City
Enjoy walking, running, biking and exploring nature on the 1.4-mile paved trail along the banks of the Loves Creek.
17. Rock Ridge Park
1397 Old Sanford Rd., Pittsboro
This 52-acre neighborhood park is set among rolling hills of mature hardwoods. It features a 1/2-mile asphalt walking trail, a picnic shelter, a mini-amphitheater, a natural wood play fort and a popular 80-foot zipline. The park also hosts a top-ranked disc golf course.
18. Southwest District Park
15124 Highway 902, Bear Creek
Amenities include a picnic shelter that accommodates up to 50 people, softball/multipurpose field, compacted half-mile trail, playground and sand volleyball court. In 2019, county commissioners approved a master plan that would replace the volleyball court with a 5,000-square-foot splash pad. The gravel trail around the park would be expanded by three-quarters of a mile, and a basketball court, two tennis/pickleball courts and a 7,700-square-foot community building would be added.
19. White Pines Nature Preserve
548 S. Rocky River Rd., Sanford
Nestled at the confluences of the Rocky River and Deep River, these 275 acres are owned and managed by the Triangle Land Conservancy. Offers great birding in the spring and summer and hosts the world’s largest known population of the Cape Fear shiner, a federally endangered minnow species. Offers nearly six miles of hiking trails and a canoe launch site.