A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

In downtown Greensboro, everyday life moves in high gear: People rush to work, parents hold their children’s hands as they race to after-school activities, cars zip by. There are places

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

In downtown Greensboro, everyday life moves in high gear: People rush to work, parents hold their children’s hands as they race to after-school activities, cars zip by. There are places

A Guide to Greensboro’s Greenways

Morehead Park in Greensboro NC

In downtown Greensboro, everyday life moves in high gear: People rush to work, parents hold their children’s hands as they race to after-school activities, cars zip by. There are places to be; schedules to be kept.

A few steps away from the tire-worn streets, pedestrians and cyclists find a welcome change of pace along a second thoroughfare. Greensboro’s Downtown Greenway is a portal to another world, a path where time slows down.

Almost a dozen greenways wind and twist their way through the Gate City. This new perspective grants more than a change of scenery; it invites residents and visitors to embrace a newfound sense of freedom and an opportunity to view familiar sites with new eyes.

Strap on your kicks and join us for a stroll along the Downtown Greenway and Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway. Each has multiple segments for explorers who, in the spirit of the path, want to take it slow and tackle it one step at a time.


From the Northern Passage, you can check out the brilliant colors filling the High Grove permaculture garden. Photography courtesy of Greensboro Parks & Recreation

For the Urban Explorer: Downtown Greenway
Total Length: 4 miles

Known as the hub of Greensboro’s greenway system, the four-mile Downtown Greenway completely encircles downtown. From the main loop’s four segments — Northern Passage, Eastern Way, Southern Trace, and Western Branch (under construction) — you can access more than 100 miles of existing greenways throughout the city.

“If you think about a bicycle wheel, it’s the hub of all those spokes going out,” says Dabney Sanders, project manager for the Downtown Greenway. “Our city has been nationally recognized for its parks and recreation system. We’ve always had an incredible watershed trail system, but there was a disconnect as you got toward our urban center. This downtown loop provides the connection for the much larger picture.”

Pause at the benches at LoFi Park and take in the community art. Photography courtesy of Greensboro Parks & Recreation

The Northern Passage runs from the “Meeting Place” gazebo to the “Woven Works Park” sculpture, two cornerstones that serve as the greenway’s northern anchors. Close to the center, LoFi Park, Joymongers Brewing Co., and Deep Roots Market draw people from all over the city. “I live in Fisher Park, so LoFi is just a few blocks from my house, so I use the greenway a lot,” Sanders says.

From here, she likes to meander toward the High Grove permaculture garden. “It contains herbs and pollinators and really interesting pieces of artwork made from recycled and found objects.”

Public artwork accents the parks and green spaces throughout Greensboro. Be sure to check out Woven Works Park. photograph by Ted Patrick

Eastern Way runs along Murrow Boulevard from the “Woven Works Park” sculpture all the way down to “Ascension,” the piece of public art at the southeast cornerstone. “When I first moved to Greensboro, you would never walk along that part of road because there was no sidewalk, a six-lane divided highway, and no landscaping,” Sanders says. “Today there’s landscaping and a beautiful path. Some of my favorite things about that eastern side are the incredible public art pieces that tell community stories in interesting ways.”

The Southern Trace stretches between the “Ascension” and “Gateway of the Open Book” cornerstones and passes by the Warnersville neighborhood’s Five Points. “Here, a number of rose bushes were planted in honor of a women’s rose society that has been very active,” Sanders says. “When you walk through the mature trees, you don’t feel like you’re in the urban environment of downtown Greensboro. There’s a very peaceful feeling about it, and the path meanders a little bit.”

Keep your eye out for the woven metal “Gateway of the Open Book” sculpture where the Western Branch greenway begins. Photography courtesy of Greensboro Parks & Recreation

The Western Branch, which runs between “Gateway of the Open Book” and back up to Meeting Place, is still under construction. When completed in mid-to-late 2025, it will follow an old railroad corridor and runs alongside College Branch Stream. “I think it will amaze people once we get it planted and established,” Sanders says. “It’s a gorgeous stream that has a rock bottom, so it reminds you of a stream you’d see in the mountains.”

Sanders emphasizes that no trespassing is allowed on the Western Branch during construction, but a detour route allows users to complete the Greenway loop.


For a tranquil route, follow the Wild Turkey Trail, which rewards hikers with views of Lake Brandt. Photography courtesy of Greensboro Parks & Recreation

Atlantic-Yadkin Greenway
Total Length: 7.74 miles

Eventually, the Atlantic-Yadkin Greenway will stretch all the way from the Downtown Loop to the Mountains to Sea Trail, which runs across the state of North Carolina. But for now, Greensboro’s only rail trail starts just behind the Target shopping center on Lawndale before proceeding north. Depending on your interests — plus your level of commitment — different sections offer the just-right walk for you.

For the solo multitasker: From Target to Lewis Rec Center | Length: About 1.5 miles

Want to get a quick walk in after your grocery run? Park your car at the Target on Lawndale, and walk north toward Lewis Rec Center.

For the historian: From Lewis Rec Center to Guilford Courthouse | Length: About 1 mile

Park your car in the lot beside the Safety School playground, and set forth on a sun-dappled path that passes by some of Greensboro’s most historic landmarks. At first, you’ll meander past the western edge of the 1928 Forest Lawn Cemetery, a peaceful jaunt with peeks into the cemetery on your right and the backs of neighborhood businesses on your left.

When you come to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Visitor Center on Old Battleground Road, grab a map that points you toward numbered historical monuments tucked into the woods off the beaten path. For more exercise, hop off the greenway to stroll the 2.24-mile Guilford Courthouse National Military Park Main Loop.

Zip across the H. Michael Weaver Pedestrian Bridge or slow your roll to take in the views overlooking Lake Brandt. photograph by Rob Landwehrmann

For the naturalist: From Guilford Courthouse to Bur-Mil Wildlife Education Center | Length: About 4 miles

As you leave the Guilford Courthouse and head to the north end of town, a sunny stretch of greenway soon gives way to a path shaded by a tree canopy of mixed pine and hardwood forests. With peaceful views of Lake Brandt, consider tacking on a wooded trail, like the 6.5-mile Wild Turkey Trail, which makes its way to Lake Brandt Marina.

Just before you reach the 140-foot H. Michael Weaver Pedestrian Bridge, a picturesque picnic spot awaits in the form of a single table with a shaded awning. If it’s taken, you’ll have a good excuse to take your break on the bridge’s benches that overlook the lake. As you rest, watch for bald eagles, blue herons, egrets, and ospreys.

“I’m a bird-watcher and am interested in animals and plants and spend a lot of time outdoors,” Sanders says. “I think time in the natural world is healthy for people, physically and mentally — it is for me. I see the beauty of what our whole system has to offer.”

Ready to see this beauty first-hand? Click here to learn more about the Downtown and Atlantic-Yadkin greenways and discover other scenic walking paths that offer a new way to sightsee around Greensboro.

This story was published on May 24, 2024

Robin Sutton Anders

Robin Sutton Anders is a writer based in Greensboro.