Umstead is a beautiful 5,579 acre park. Many people go to Umstead to horseback ride, bicycle and run on the soft gravel or dirt trails, but there is a much larger draw. Umstead offers solitude for people searching to experience nature, or the ability to go in a group and jog with friends. Umstead gives a freedom that one will not find around downtown Raleigh. The park’s serenity and natural surroundings appeal to certain crowds.
Nathan Gamble, sophomore at Leesville, goes to Umstead to run and practice for cross country races. “I really like Umstead because it is always cooler in the woods than running around town. Also, it is in a great spot for getting around town if you want to go on longer runs.” Umstead’s dense woods can reduce the excessive heat during the summer months.
The park has regularly scheduled events and posts them on the website, http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/wium/main.php. There are hiking clubs, bird watching groups and many other activities with information available either on their website or at the park office.
Umstead is right beside the RDU International Airport. The park is accessible from Interstate 40 and US 70. The park has two main entrances and was opened to the public in 1937. The park connects to many parts of the Raleigh/Durham area. It spans from the North Carolina Museum of Art all the way to Glenwood Avenue (US 70) and down into Cary, past Lake Crabtree.
Many high schools also choose to run there over the summer to beat the heat by running under the canopy of leaves. Over the summer, many schools will hold summer workouts at the great trails in Umstead.
The park hours run from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. in winter and run 6 a.m.- 9 p.m. in the summer. The park is a large part of the community. Umstead connects northwest Raleigh to north Cary and gives runners/bikers access to downtown. Umstead is a great means of travel and getting around for people and a great addition to the park system.