Looking for a good place to run where you barely have to deal with traffic and there are easy places to park? The 3.6-mile paved Third Fork Creek Trail, mostly in the Woodcroft neighborhood of Durham, is a good option.
There is ample parking at one end of the trail at Southern Boundaries Park, the staging area for the weekly parkrun, and near the other end at the Woodcroft Shopping Center. There are bathroom facilities at Southern Boundaries Park and at the other end of the trail at Garrett Road Park, near the shopping center.
The trail features several wood bridges and is fairly flat except for a big hill near Southern Boundaries Park. Since you go under the MLK Parkway bridge, you only have to deal with traffic crossing South Roxboro Street and West Woodcroft Parkway.
This trail isn’t used as heavily and isn’t as popular among cyclists as the American Tobacco Trail.
Avoid it after it has rained much, though, because it floods easily, leaving muddy puddles that can be messy and too large to run around. Erosion forced the temporary closure of the trail in 2013.
Parkrun normally uses a two up-and-back course, but its course becomes three loops of a shorter up-and-back when those puddles become impassable.
The City of Durham is replacing some sections and restoring others, and that will mean portions of the trail will be closed until work is scheduled to be completed Aug. 31. Until then, there will be short detours or closures because of the construction.
If you don’t want to drive to the trail, you can easily shift from the ATT to this trail by going west on MLK Parkway and running on sidewalks on either side of that street.