The Roanoke Canal Trail is a beautiful nature and history trail that follows the bed and towpath of the former Roanoke Navigation Canal. At certain points at the head of the trail at Roanoke Rapids Lake Park, you are walking between two canals, the Navigation Canal that was later converted to power and the Roanoke Power Canal that was a much shorter, much wider canal, created solely to generate electricity. The Power Canal powered our area until the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam was constructed in 1955. The trail offers amazing historic structures like the Power Canal bulkhead, stone culverts, the Navigation Canal locks, the first power station built beside the locks (now the Roanoke Canal Museum), a stone aqueduct that carried the canal over Chockoyotte Creek and spanned 35 feet in a single arch, a spur trail leading to a mass Confederate cemetery, a canal-powered cotton mill (now Riverside Mill art, antique and outlet mall) and ultimately leading to the Roanoke River where a canal-powered grist mill still stands (now a venue for events).
The Roanoke Canal Trail is great for hiking, biking, running and walking any time of year. It is open sunrise to sunset seven days a week. The trail is also a site on the North Carolina Birding Trail.