Lake Raleigh Recreation Area

On the southern side of Centennial Campus, surrounded by 96 acres of protected forest, Lake Raleigh Recreation Area offers a picturesque retreat for members of the Pack and the wider community.

A view of Lake Raleigh on a sunny, clear day.

Centennial's Hidden Gem

Created as a reservoir for the city in the early 1900s, Lake Raleigh is a sprawling oasis less than three miles from Downtown Raleigh. The 75-acre lake and its trails are open from dawn until dusk, and there are three areas of public access.

Lake Raleigh’s recreation area sits in the heart of NC State’s Centennial Campus and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration, including walks, picnics, disc golf, fishing, non-motorized boating and watersports.
Download Lake Raleigh Woods map

Coronavirus Update

All visitors of Lake Raleigh are expected to follow the university’s community standards.

Access Areas

There are three access points for the Lake Raleigh Recreation Area:

  • Main Campus Drive — From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, paid parking is available at the nearby Poulton lot on Partners Way. At any other time, free parking on campus is open to the public. After 5 p.m. and all day on weekends, public parking can also be found at the waterfront.
  • Park Alumni Center — Free parking is available all day. The Park Alumni Center is open to the public for lunch and dinner on weekdays.
  • Centennial Campus Middle School — Free parking is available all day.

Park Guidelines

Before visiting, be sure to review Lake Raleigh Recreation Area’s rules and guidelines:

  • Lake Raleigh and its trails are open to the public from dawn until dusk.
  • Swimming and wading are not allowed.
  • Dogs must be kept on a six-foot leash at all times.
  • Pet owners must clean up after their pets.
  • Alcohol is not permitted.
  • Smoking is only permitted in the parking lot.
  • Drones are not allowed.
  • Overnight camping is not allowed.

Lake Raleigh is one of nine Hallowed Places — irreplaceable spots that have accrued special meaning over time — designated throughout NC State's campus.