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  • Writer's picturePeter

Forest Ridge Park - Raleigh, NC


Did you know that prior to 1981, Falls Lake, which touches multiple cities including Raleigh and Durham, didn’t exist? A mere 40 years ago, the area that is now Falls Lake was frequently susceptible to extensive flooding damage from the Neuse River, and in 1978, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Falls Dam, creating Falls Lake. The lake is now a great place for outdoor recreation, and also provides water to the surrounding communities.

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Did you also know that the creation of the lake permanently flooded the low-lying roads, homes, and farmlands that were in the area? It’s true! And in fact, there are still areas where you can see portions of Old Highway 98 as it continues directly into Falls Lake. One such park where this happens is Forest Ridge in Raleigh. As you walk down the gravel path toward the lake and other trails, you begin to notice that the trail looks a little bit like a road… and those look like yellow double lane lines in the middle. Well they are! It is both eerie and amazing seeing the road continue straight into the lake.

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Besides for this cool history, with 587 acres, Forest Ridge has a lot to offer. While going down the Old Highway 98 path, there is a small detour to the right with a sign that says, “Fishing Area” - we highly recommend breaking off here even if you are not planning to fish. Along this path are multiple ways to get to the lake and have your own private beach. It was hard to pull Peter away from this!

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There are multiple walking trails (some going all the way out on the peninsula), mountain biking trails, a disc golf course, and a wildlife garden. There are a number of other amenities that are unfortunately closed due to COVID, but we hope to take advantage of in the future, like a playground, picnic shelters, a Visitors’ Center, and Explorer Backpacks that are loaned out by the park and contain things like binoculars, sketch pads & pencils, and activities for kids.

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For a trip out to Forest Ridge, we definitely recommend sunblock and bug spray. Also bring your swimsuits and towels, because a dip in the lake is very nice.

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As you might imagine, there is a lot of history regarding how Falls Lake came to be, and considering it flooded homesteads and even graveyards, it isn’t all pretty. If you’re interested in reading more about this, we’ll have a special link to a preview of the book, The Battle for Falls Lake by Janet Steddum on our website. (Link in bio)

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Have you been to Forest Ridge Park? Let us know in the comments!


(Note: We're currently working on updating our website with our reviews. This review was originally posted on Instagram and Facebook on July 23, 2020.)

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