Not everyone embraces hills when it comes to training (see Umstead State Park entries). For those folks, there is the American Tobacco Trail.
What Makes It Great
The ATT is the spine of a trail concept pioneered by the Triangle Greenway Council originally referred to as Circle the Triangle. The concept: using this 20-mile trail that runs through the center of the Triangle–from southern Wake County north through Chatham County and into downtown Durham–connect other trails to create one big, interconnected Triangle trail. The concept is fast becoming reality. For now, though, the ATT to runners is a flat, foot-friendly place to get in some miles. From the southern trailhead off Olive Chapel Road north for about 12 miles into southern Durham County, the trail is all or partially natural surface.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone looking for a fast, flat trail will enjoy the American Tobacco Trail. It's proximity to downtown Durham make it an easy mid-day run if you have business or work close by. Marathoners in particularly love it as a place to log long training runs with minimal body impact.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead is a basic parking lot with no facilities. Be sure to bring your own water, and practice Leave No Trace principles if you need to relieve yourself. You'll likely encounter other trail users, from horses to mountain bikers.
Be advised that you'll be sharing the trail with others: mostly hikers and walkers, a number of strollers, a goodly number of cyclists and the occasional equestrian. Re the latter: Watch your step!