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Rock wall and log see-saw mae out of natural materials.

Murphy's River Walk winds along the Valley River, providing beautiful scenery as well as a great place to exercise. Walking trails don't just encourage activity, though: they can also increase community connections and bring in visitors. 

Murphy River Walk

Murphy, NC

Cherokee County

The town of Murphy in Cherokee County is home to the scenic Murphy River Walk, a 3-mile pathway running alongside the Valley River. Every day, you can find walkers, runners, and bikers enjoying some physical activity, as well as the views.


Both Heritage Partners of Cherokee County and town residents expressed the need for a safe, accessible greenway to help people enjoy their community and increase their physical activity. A partnership between the Heritage Partners and the Town of Murphy was established, beginning with a search for an appropriate piece of property. They chose an old road, which could be easily converted into a greenway. The location couldn’t have been better for the River Walk. The River Walk’s trailhead connects to other paths, but most of the trail runs along the beautiful Valley River. During the summer season, the river is open to canoes and kayaks.


The River Walk was funded by the Town of Murphy, and donations from residents help maintain the path. A recent partnership with Lowes Hardware provided discounted materials to expand the River Walk and connect the trail to pathways in a neighboring town. Feedback from Murphy’s residents has been overwhelmingly positive, and the River Walk has quickly become one of the most loved parts of town.



Consider partnering with your local city council, local government, or municipality to create a walking trail like the Town of Murphy. Greenways, walking trails, and river walks are ideal projects to incorporate into a town if you’re promoting ways to get residents moving. Because it’s not a program, but a permanent fixture, it’s available to all ages and abilities. Murphy’s river walk was successful in part because the property could be easily converted into a greenway. Turning an old road, railroad, field, or worn-down path into a new walking trail recycles important parts of your community’s history and infrastructure. Consider unique features or landmarks in your own community. Partners in Cherokee County used their natural settings to make the trail aesthetically beautiful and help preserve the river and surrounding forests. If a trail already exists in your community, consider partnering with a nearby neighborhood or town to connect your trails. Expanding on what already exists saves money, creates new partnerships, and strengthens established projects.




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