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, located in the heart of NC State’s Centennial Campus, offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration — including walks, picnics, disc golf, fishing, non-motorized boating and watersports.
Download Lake Raleigh Woods map
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.
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.
Only non-motorized watercraft are allowed. All boats must be launched from the designated boat launch area. Cars parked in front of the boat launch will be towed. Please be respectful when launching watercraft as space is limited.
Miles of recreational walking trails surrounded by natural landscape can be accessed via the Centennial Campus Middle School parking lot or the Park Alumni Center parking lot.
In the Lake Raleigh Recreation Area, biking is allowed only on the paved greenway. Mountain bike trails are accessible via the Centennial Campus Middle School entrance.