A Beautiful Sunday Spent In Umstead State Park

A Beautiful Sunday Spent In Umstead State Park

Trail Marker

The trail we chose to follow was the Sycamore Trail which was a loop trail and was about 7.2 miles long. At the start of the trailhead, you can tell that the environmental / park designers who were responsible for designing the areas and the many paths, wanted to create a “family-friendly” or “community-like” environment. For example, there are lots of sectioned off areas which picnic tables and grills. There are also sheltered areas with several picnic areas under the covering. Since it was such a beautiful day, there were so many diverse people enjoying the park’s amenities, especially families with kids and pups. The buildings that were scattered around the park were designed to blend into the environment. They did not stand out or look unnatural and out of place. Many of them were log or wooden structures that blended in the densely wooded areas. Nothing looked out of place or obnoxious. Even the signs used to mark the different trails were brown and blended into the area around them.

As we got further away from the trailhead, the vibe shifts to feel more peaceful. My boyfriend accompanied me on the hike, and we were talking about how odd it was to still be in a huge city but feel so in tune with nature and the surroundings. However, the one thing that I would change about the design of the park is it should not be next to RDU Airport. There were times on the walk where the park and trees felt like they were shaking because of the noise traffic of the very-nearby airport. Once on the trail, we stumbled across little streams with paths to cut across. Some of the rocks that led through the stream were large enough to stand on. We came across families that had decided the stream was their Eno spot for the day and had settled in the trees.

Me In The StreamI have hiked a lot of places around North Carolina and surprisingly, the terrain and design of Sycamore Trail in Umstead Park was very similar to trails I have done in Boone or Pilot Mountain. However, as I mentioned before, hiking, and visiting parks are supposed to feel like an escape from traffic and corporate development. Even though there were times throughout the hike where I forgot I was in

Raleigh, I was reminded when I could hear cars from the highway or the jets of the airplanes taking off or landing. Even entering the park was frustrating because one side of Umstead does not have a large enough (or well-designed) parking area suitable for lots of park visitors. At 11:30 in the morning, cars are circling the park trying to find places to park for the day. I guess in Raleigh you cannot escape the traffic.

Overall, I enjoyed the design and the feel that Umstead Parks gives off to its visitors. I have now found a new area to explore in Raleigh that will help me forget that I do live in a very large and busy city now.