What it is: The Hillsborough Riverwalk is a great little trail that recently opened up connecting various parts of the town of Hillsborough. Even though Hillsborough's just next door to Durham, I haven't had explored it nearly as much as I should. It's a great little town.
To explore the Riverwalk we started at Gold Park. It's a great park by itself with a great playground, but the addition of the trail just makes it even better. There's plenty of parking when you arrive, and to find the Riverwalk just head to the side of the park behind the playground. There, you will see the trail heading off under the railroad tracks. Follow the trail and soon, you will hit the newly constructed boardwalks and bridges of the Riverwalk. Almost immediately you cross one of several bridges, and my kiddos had a great time playing "pooh sticks" where you drop a stick off one side of the bridge and see how long it takes it to reach the other side of the bridge. I played it all the time as a kid.
The trail is great-wide, flat, and accessible. There's a view of the river most of the way and the woods surrounding it are very nice. There are also informational signs placed at points along the way. After a lovely half-mile walk, we decided to stop at the access point for downtown Hillsborough, but we could have continued longer into scenic River Park in downtown Hillsborough. Our turnoff at Nash and Kollock Street led us out to Weaver Street Market and downtown Hillsborough.
From that point, you can take as much time as you want to explore the great little town of Hillsborough. We wandered around Weaver Street Market, bought some chocolates in a chocolate shop, and ate at a fabulous pizza restaurant called Radius which I can't wait to tell you all about in my next post. There are several other great shops and restaurants to check out including a wine shop and a yarn shop.
After our wanderings around downtown Hillsborough, we first explored River Park continuing the other way on the Riverwalk trail. Then, we headed back the half mile to Gold Park where the kids could play on the playground for a few minutes before hopping in the car to head home. It was a great, family-friendly hike with great attractions on either end, and I can't wait to head back and try it again. There are also other parts of the 1.8 mile Riverwalk that I'm sure would be equally fun, but this little section was all my kids were up for on this particular outing.
What we liked: We loved it all-from the playground at one end to the downtown at the other and all of the bridges and sections of the trail in between. My boys especially loved playing on the bridges.
What we would change: There's not much I would change, but at some points on the trail I had to pause a for a few minutes to figure out which way to go. However, if you look at a map before hand, you won't have any problems. Even with no map, we managed to find our way pretty easily. Just find the river, follow it, and it will take you where you want to go. There is a map where the trail meets up with downtown.
Website and other important information:
Map of the Riverwalk: http://www.ci.hillsborough.nc.us/sites/default/files/Riverwalk%20Vicinity%20Map.pdf
(the route under the train track from Gold Park up to the Riverwalk)
(a view from the first bridge)
(one of the informational signs)
the bridge to downtown Hillsborough)
(a beautiful view of the Eno River)
(the trail continues under the roadway)