Routes Near Chapel Hill, NC, USA Safe for Early Morning Rides

If anyone has experience riding in Chapel Hill, NC, USA, I’d appreciate advice and recommendations for routes that are safe to ride early in the morning.

I’ll be near the Rizzo Center east of the UNC main campus for a week of training. I’ll need to be done riding each morning by 7 am, so I’m looking for safe, well-lit road routes.

Below are two routes based on Garmin heat maps. I should be on a recovery week when I’m there so I’m fine doing laps. Thanks!

I live about 5 miles northwest of there; I don’t know the area well, but the routes you’ve mapped out are mostly residential and may not have much street lighting. Just getting light around 7 right now. There is a fairly short greenway and some easy singletrack around Meadowmont that would work for a gravel bike, but probably not pre-dark. There is a longer greenway on the other side of 501 that could get you some mileage, but I don’t think there’s a pre-dawn access route there from where you are. Might be worth checking with one of the local shops to see if they have any suggestions–the Trek store is just on the other side of 501 from where you are; Back Alley Bikes or the Clean Machine are also very helpful.


Will do - thanks!

You’re very welcome–I only ride the roads here to get to MTB or gravel; my son has put in a lot of miles in his training, but none of it is close to you or appropriate for early morning.

1 Like

Added the Meadowmont Trail route.

1 Like

If you can get to Wilson Park, there are a bazillion routes that get out into the country from there. I moved to Carrboro 1.5 years ago and the Tarwheels (local club) has an enormous route library that has satisfied all my needs. Check out the Routes ‘Tab’ from this link and then put ‘WP’ in the Filter by Name box to see what goes from there. All the routes from Wilson Park start with WP. There also might be another location that routes start from that is closer to where you will be.


Definitely a ton of great rides from that starting point, but it sounds like he’s wants to leave directly from east of 501 and be back by 7 AM, so that makes anything starting from Wilson Park really difficult. I don’t know the east side very well–if there were a safe way to get to Estes, I’d get on the Bolin Creek Greenway at Community Center Park and, if I had time, do a few loops of the gravel in Carolina North then turn around and head back to the Meadowmont area.


I cannot speak to the rall oads to get from the starting point to Forrest View Elementary School, but that looks somewhat close to the Rizzo Center and the routes in the Tarwheels route library would all start with FV.

1 Like

@Craig_G @EMyers thank you - very helpful