Don’t Miss The Shelley Lake Park Loop Trail

One of the reasons we love living in Raleigh is having access to so many lakes and trails, and the Shelley Lake Park loop trail is another of our favorite short walks.

Shelley Lake Park Trail, Raleigh
Beautiful views from south end of lake

If you love hitting the trails and exercising in nature, definitely put this on your list of things to do in Raleigh. Even though you’re within an easy drive of downtown Raleigh, you’ll feel a world away.

This 2-mile paved Greenway trail is part of the bigger 180-mile Capital Area Greenway system and is perfect for walkers, runners and bikers as it winds its way around the pretty lake.

Where is Shelley Lake Park?

Shelley Lake is located just 7 miles north-west of downtown Raleigh and just north of I-440. The car park entrance is off W Millbrook Road and is easily accessible.

Walking The 2 Mile Shelley Lake Trail

A person standing on a bridge next to a body of water

This is a 2-mile paved loop trail around the 53-acre lake. The trail is mostly flat with one small incline at the start (or end depending on which direction you walk) and is good for all fitness levels and those pushing a stroller.

There is ample shade along the trail, but I would guess at least a quarter of it is open to the sun so keep that in mind in the warmer months.

A person walking down a river

Also keep in mind that this is a popular trail and highly trafficked, especially on weekends, but we find the path wide enough for easy passing of others.

Starting at the main car park off W Millbrook Rd and at the Sertoma Arts Center, you will see a sign with a map as the beginning point, then head down the hill past the kids playground on the right towards the lake.

A sign on a dirt road

Once we connected to the loop trail we headed left in a clockwise direction, first walking over a timber boardwalk section with lovely views across the lake, then back on the paved trail continuing in a northerly direction.

A person walking next to a body of water

You’ll soon come to a junction where the Shelley Lake Trail turns right and a small bridge crosses over Mine Creek, another pretty spot for a photo. Or, if you’re looking for a longer walk continue on the Mine Creek Trail.

a person walking across a bridge
Bridge across Mine Creek

Once you cross the bridge the Shelley Lake loop trail gets more wooded for a while before you get to the south section and to the large open field area which offers plenty of room for picnics or to run around. We’ve enjoyed a picnic here in the past on Mother’s Day!

people standing next to a lake

Then you simply continue on the trail past the south end of Shelley lake which offers extensive views over the lake!

people walking next to a body of water

From here the trail splits to the left leading back to the car park, or follow the trail down towards the boathouse – definitely worth a look and a photograph.

 Quick Facts:

  • The trail is accessible year-round.
  • Family-friendly – not strenuous!
  • Dogs allowed but must be kept on leash.
  • No drones allowed to take off from, or land in the park!
  • There are basketball courts here
  • Kids playground (ages 2-5 with a woodchip surface)

Address: 1400 W Millbrook Rd, Raleigh

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When you visit Raleigh, North Carolina, don't miss this 2 mile Shelley Lake Park loop trail. It's one of the best free things to do in Raleigh NC

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