The Cross-City Trail is a 15 mile off-road, multi-use trail that runs from Wade Park, through Halyburton Park and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway. The trail provides bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington.  


The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is a spur in a developing city-wide trails and greenways system which makes alternative transportation in Wilmington a safer, more convenient option for every citizen. It will also make up part of the East Coast Greenway, a multi-use path that will run all the way from Maine to Florida and will be like an "urban Appalachian Trail."


Parking for the Cross-City Trail is available at the following city parks:

  • Halyburton Park, 4099 S. 17th Street
  • Empie Park, 3405 Park Avenue
  • McCrary Park, 3300 block of Randall Parkway (between Independence Blvd & Kerr Avenue)


Restrooms are located at the following city parks along the Cross-City Trail:

  • Halyburton Park, 4099 S. 17th Street, Wilmington
  • Empie Park,  3405 Park Avenue, Wilmington

Points of Interest

Points of interest along the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail: 

About Gary Shell

Gary was the former City of Wilmington Director of Parks & Recreation and was the Deputy Director of Community Services at the time of his retirement in late 2007. He had been employed by the city for 22 years. After retiring, he pursued a lifelong dream to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Throughout his career, his goal was to improve the availability and quality of parks and recreational programs. He was instrumental in the development and passing of the 2006 Parks and Greenspace Bond. This $35.5 million dollar joint bond with the County included improvements to existing parks and facilities, purchasing of land,  the development of the Cross City Trail, the building of a softball complex and tennis  complex,  and securing valuable greenspace. His passionate leadership in this campaign was recognized by many as being a key factor in the successful passage of the bond. He also continued his involved with parks and recreation projects by serving on the Olsen Park Committee.

Gary passed away on May 12, 2011 after a battle with cancer.

Collaborative Agreements that made trail possible:

  • Cameron Company
  • Cameron Art Museum
  • Oleander Company
  • Cape Fear Commercial


Parks and Greenspace Bond funds
PARTF Grant: $219,308
Federal stimulus funds and connections with existing or funded trail facilities make this project possible.

Pedestrian Facilities

The City of Wilmington provides pedestrian and bicycle facilities within city parks and greenspaces as well as specific projects within the city. These projects include Ann Street Bike Boulevard, 3rd Street Connector, River to Sea Bike Path, Greenfield Lake walking path and the Riverwalk. 

Further information about these facilities is contained in the Walk Wilmington: A Comprehensive Plan document.

Related Links

Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Organizations 

State Bicycle/Pedestrian Organizations

Other Links

    Questions?  Please email or call 910.341.7855.