American Tobacco Trail In North Carolina

Here is everything you need to know about the American Tobacco Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: North Carolina
  • Length: 22.6 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Triangle Rails to Trails Conservancy
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The American Tobacco Trail (ATT) holds a significant place in the history of North Carolina, particularly in the development of the tobacco industry. The trail traces its roots back to the late 19th century when the Durham and South Carolina Railroad was constructed to transport tobacco and other goods. This rail line, which later became known as the Durham and Southern Railway, played a crucial role in connecting the tobacco-producing regions of Durham, North Carolina, with the rest of the country.

During the early 20th century, the Durham and Southern Railway faced financial difficulties, leading to its eventual closure in 1978. However, the abandoned rail corridor did not remain dormant for long. In the early 1990s, the idea of transforming the rail line into a recreational trail gained traction. The Durham Open Space and Trails Commission, along with other local organizations, recognized the potential of repurposing the rail corridor to create a multi-use trail that would benefit the community.

After years of planning and collaboration, the American Tobacco Trail officially opened in 2007. The 22-mile trail stretches from downtown Durham to the Chatham County line, passing through picturesque landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and open fields. The trail not only provides a scenic route for walkers, runners, and cyclists but also serves as a living testament to the region’s rich tobacco heritage. Today, the American Tobacco Trail stands as a symbol of the transformation of a once vital transportation route for tobacco into a beloved recreational resource for the local community and visitors alike.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Durham Bulls Athletic Park: Located in downtown Durham, this access point offers parking and easy access to the trail.

2. Solite Park: Situated in Durham, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It also features a playground and picnic areas.

3. Herndon Park: Located in Durham, this access point offers parking and access to the trail. It has a playground, basketball courts, and picnic areas.

4. Scott King Road: This access point is located in Durham and provides parking and access to the trail.

5. Fayetteville Road: Situated in Durham, this access point offers parking and access to the trail. It is close to the Streets at Southpoint shopping center.

6. Massey Chapel Road: Located in Durham, this access point provides parking and access to the trail.

7. New Hope Church Road: Situated in Durham, this access point offers parking and access to the trail. It is close to the New Hope Commons shopping center.

8. Southpoint Crossing: Located in Durham, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is close to the Southpoint Crossing shopping center.

9. Scott King Road Extension: Situated in Durham, this access point offers parking and access to the trail.

10. O’Kelly Chapel Road: Located in Cary, this access point provides parking and access to the trail.

11. Wimberly Road: Situated in Cary, this access point offers parking and access to the trail.

12. White Oak Church Road: Located in Apex, this access point provides parking and access to the trail.

13. New Hill-Olive Chapel Road: Situated in Apex, this access point offers parking and access to the trail.

14. Wimberly Road Extension: Located in Apex, this access point provides parking and access to the trail.

15. New Hill-Holleman Road: Situated in New Hill, this access point offers parking and access to the trail.

16. Wake County Line: Located in New Hill, this access point provides parking and access to the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the American Tobacco Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. GoDurham (Bus service) – Public bus service connecting various locations in Durham, including the American Tobacco Trail.
2. Uber/Lyft – Ride-hailing services providing convenient transportation options.
3. Lime (Electric scooters) – Electric scooters available for short-distance travel.
4. Bird (Electric scooters) – Electric scooters for quick and eco-friendly transportation.
5. Durham Cycles (Bicycle rental) – Bicycle rental shop offering a convenient way to explore the American Tobacco Trail.
6. Bull City Connector (Free bus service) – Free bus service connecting downtown Durham with various destinations, including the American Tobacco Trail.
7. Durham Station (Train station) – Train station providing regional transportation options.
8. Amtrak (Train service) – National train service with routes passing through Durham.
9. Durham Pedicab (Pedicab service) – Pedicabs offering a unique and eco-friendly way to travel short distances.
10. Zipcar (Car-sharing service) – Car-sharing service providing access to vehicles for short-term use.


The American Tobacco Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Some of the amenities available at the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, including at trailheads and parking areas.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas available at different access points along the trail. These parking areas provide convenient access for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: The American Tobacco Trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where visitors can camp, such as the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas located at various points along the trail. These areas provide tables and benches for visitors to enjoy a picnic or outdoor meal.

5. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at some trailheads and rest areas along the American Tobacco Trail. These fountains provide drinking water for trail users.

6. Bike Racks: The trail offers bike racks at different locations, allowing cyclists to securely park their bikes while they explore the trail or use other amenities.

7. Dog-Friendly: The American Tobacco Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their dogs on leashes. There are waste stations available along the trail to help maintain cleanliness.

8. Informational Signage: The trail features informational signage at various points, providing visitors with details about the trail’s history, wildlife, and points of interest.

9. Benches: There are benches placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing resting spots for visitors to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

10. Bike Repair Stations: Some sections of the trail have bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps, allowing cyclists to perform minor repairs or maintenance on their bikes.

Please note that amenities may vary at different sections of the American Tobacco Trail, so it is advisable to check specific trailheads or visitor centers for more detailed information.

Nearby Services

1. Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh/Cary – A comfortable hotel offering modern amenities and easy access to the American Tobacco Trail.
2. Courtyard by Marriott Durham Research Triangle Park – A convenient hotel with spacious rooms and a fitness center, located near the American Tobacco Trail.
3. Residence Inn by Marriott Durham Research Triangle Park – An extended-stay hotel featuring fully equipped suites and complimentary breakfast, close to the American Tobacco Trail.
4. Fairfield Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport/Brier Creek – A budget-friendly hotel offering comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast, within driving distance of the American Tobacco Trail.
5. Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh-Durham Airport-Brier Creek – A contemporary hotel with a fitness center and free breakfast, conveniently located near the American Tobacco Trail.
6. Triangle Food Mart – A nearby convenience store offering snacks, beverages, and basic food items for trail-goers.
7. The Refectory Cafe – A charming café serving breakfast, lunch, and coffee, perfect for a quick bite before or after exploring the American Tobacco Trail.
8. The Original Q Shack – A popular barbecue joint offering delicious smoked meats and classic Southern sides, located near the American Tobacco Trail.
9. Southpoint Mall Food Court – A diverse selection of fast-food and casual dining options, ideal for a meal after a day on the American Tobacco Trail.
10. Duke Urgent Care South Durham – A nearby urgent care facility providing medical services for any emergencies or injuries that may occur while on the American Tobacco Trail.

American Tobacco Trail Difficulty Notes

The American Tobacco Trail offers a variety of difficulty levels, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers. The trail spans over 22 miles, providing a diverse terrain that includes paved sections, gravel paths, and natural surfaces. The trail is generally flat and well-maintained, making it accessible for all fitness levels. However, there are some sections with slight inclines and uneven surfaces, which may pose a moderate challenge for some individuals. Overall, the American Tobacco Trail offers a pleasant and enjoyable hiking experience suitable for a wide range of abilities.

Features And Attractions

The American Tobacco Trail is a 22-mile long rail trail located in North Carolina, United States. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other points of interest. Here are some notable ones:

1. Downtown Durham: The trail starts in downtown Durham, offering a vibrant urban setting with historic buildings, restaurants, and shops.

2. Durham Bulls Athletic Park: Located near the trail’s beginning, this baseball stadium is home to the Durham Bulls, a minor league team made famous by the movie “Bull Durham.”

3. Durham Bulls Athletic Park Overlook: A scenic overlook near the stadium provides a panoramic view of the city skyline.

4. American Tobacco Campus: This historic tobacco factory complex has been transformed into a mixed-use development with restaurants, offices, and entertainment venues. It offers a unique blend of history and modern amenities.

5. Durham Bulls Athletic Park Mural: Along the trail, you’ll find a large mural depicting the Durham Bulls and the city’s baseball history.

6. New Hope Creek: This picturesque creek runs alongside the trail, offering beautiful views and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

7. Herndon Park: Located in Durham, this park features a playground, picnic areas, and a pond, providing a peaceful spot to rest and enjoy nature.

8. White Oak Creek Greenway: A short detour from the trail takes you to this scenic greenway, which follows the White Oak Creek and offers additional natural beauty.

9. Historic Downtown Apex: Towards the southern end of the trail, you’ll reach the charming town of Apex, known for its well-preserved historic downtown area. Explore the shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.

10. Historic Train Depot: In Apex, you can visit the historic train depot, which now serves as a museum showcasing the town’s railroad history.

11. Jordan Lake: Although not directly on the trail, Jordan Lake is a nearby natural landmark worth mentioning. It is a large reservoir offering opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the American Tobacco Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with a diverse range of experiences and a deeper appreciation for the region’s history and natural beauty.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses on the trail.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. No hunting or fishing is permitted along the trail.
6. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed.
7. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
8. Littering is strictly prohibited.
9. No unauthorized motorized or non-motorized events or races are allowed.
10. Respect private property adjacent to the trail.
11. Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto restricted areas.
12. Observe and follow any seasonal restrictions or closures.
13. Use caution and be aware of potential hazards such as wildlife, uneven terrain, and weather conditions.
14. Do not disturb or harm any plants, animals, or natural features along the trail.
15. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at specific trailheads or sections of the American Tobacco Trail.

Seasonal Information

The American Tobacco Trail, located in North Carolina, offers a scenic and recreational experience for visitors throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are generally considered the most popular seasons due to the pleasant weather and vibrant foliage. During these times, the trail is adorned with blooming flowers and colorful leaves, creating a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll.

In spring, the trail comes alive with the sights and sounds of nature. The mild temperatures make it an ideal time for outdoor activities, and visitors can witness the awakening of wildlife and the emergence of new plant life. The trail is particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom season, when the trees along the path burst into delicate pink and white blooms.

Fall, on the other hand, offers a different kind of beauty. As the leaves change color, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of reds, oranges, and yellows. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it perfect for long walks or bike rides, and the trail becomes a popular destination for photographers seeking to capture the stunning autumn scenery.

It is important to note that the American Tobacco Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It is advisable to check the official website or contact the trail management for up-to-date information on closures and any other relevant updates.

Overall, the American Tobacco Trail offers a delightful experience year-round, with each season bringing its own unique charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring or the crisp air of fall, this trail is a wonderful destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to trail entrances for easy access.
2. Paved Surfaces: Smooth and even surfaces throughout the trail for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
5. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
6. Accessible Trailheads: Trail entrances with ramps or level access for wheelchair users.
7. Accessible Trail Routes: Specific routes with minimal slopes and obstacles for wheelchair users.
8. Accessible Trail Signage: Clear and visible signage with Braille and raised lettering for visually impaired individuals.
9. Accessible Trail Amenities: Benches, shelters, and other amenities designed to be accessible for all.
10. Accessible Trail Programs: Inclusive programs and events organized to cater to individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be aware of changing weather conditions and dress accordingly to stay comfortable and safe.
3. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
4. Hydration: Carry an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot and humid weather.
5. Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent to protect against ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects.
6. Trail Etiquette: Be courteous to other trail users, yield to pedestrians, and follow any posted rules or regulations.
7. Wildlife Awareness: Respect the natural habitat and keep a safe distance from any wildlife encountered on the trail.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a cell phone, identification, and any necessary medical supplies in case of emergencies.
9. Buddy System: Consider hiking or biking with a partner for added safety and support.
10. Trail Lighting: If using the trail after dark, carry a flashlight or use a headlamp to ensure visibility.
11. Road Crossings: Exercise caution when crossing roads along the trail, obey traffic signals, and use designated crosswalks if available.
12. Trail Markers: Familiarize yourself with trail markers and signage to stay on the correct path.
13. Personal Safety: Be aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, and trust your instincts.
14. Bicycle Safety: Wear a helmet, follow traffic laws, and use hand signals when cycling on the trail.
15. Pet Safety: Keep pets on a leash, clean up after them, and be mindful of other trail users.
16. First Aid: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
17. Trail Maps: Obtain a trail map or use a GPS device to navigate the trail and avoid getting lost.
18. Fitness Level: Assess your fitness level and choose a trail section that matches your abilities to prevent overexertion.
19. Trail Closure Reporting: Report any safety concerns, trail damage, or suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities.
20. Enjoyment: Have fun, appreciate the natural beauty, and respect the trail to ensure a positive experience for all users.

Conservation Notes

The American Tobacco Trail (ATT) is a significant conservation area located in North Carolina, United States. As a former railroad corridor, the trail stretches approximately 22 miles and serves as a vital link between urban and rural areas. The conservation status of the ATT is of utmost importance due to its rich biodiversity and ecological significance.

The ATT is recognized as a protected area, managed by local authorities and conservation organizations. Its conservation status is primarily focused on preserving and restoring the natural habitats found along the trail. The diverse ecosystems within the ATT support a wide range of plant and animal species, including several rare and endangered ones. Efforts are made to maintain the integrity of these habitats, ensuring the survival of these species and promoting biodiversity conservation.

Conservation initiatives along the ATT include habitat restoration, invasive species management, and wildlife monitoring. Restoration projects aim to recreate and enhance native habitats, such as wetlands and forests, which have been impacted by human activities. Invasive species, which can threaten the native flora and fauna, are actively managed to prevent their spread and minimize their impact on the ecosystem. Regular wildlife monitoring helps assess the health of the trail’s biodiversity and informs conservation strategies.

Overall, the conservation status of the American Tobacco Trail is a priority for local authorities and organizations. Through ongoing efforts, the trail continues to serve as a valuable ecological corridor, providing habitat for numerous species and contributing to the overall conservation of North Carolina’s natural heritage.

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