Pleasant – Estes Park Shortcut
One of the best things about riding a bike for transportation is all the random fun you can have just getting around and running errands. When a new shortcut is discovered, the fun can be amplified. Roads with “Dead End” signs that people trapped in cars rarely think twice about often have clever little cut throughs that spit you out in unexpected places.
Probably the most well-known, heavily used, and convenient shortcut in Carrboro/Chapel Hill is the Estes Park connector at the end of Pleasant, just off of Greensboro. In both directions, this shortcut lops off the most dangerous section of any journey that would normally involve the intersection of Greensboro and Estes: the Estes hill.
A surprising number of avid cyclists and long term residents of the area seem to be unaware of this fantastic shortcut, so here’s the scoop:
This shortcut is most useful as a way to avoid climbing this shoulder-less hill of death, but it’s much easier to find for the first time from the top of the hill, so these directions are from the Carrboro end of the route.
Heading north on Greensboro, with Harris Teeter on your right, the first intersection on your right is Pleasant. Make a right turn here:
Go straight down Pleasant until it ends and the unpaved continuation into Estes Park will be evident:
(Note the hundreds of bicycle tire tracks!)
The path is unpaved, but it’s very smooth and even bikes with way too skinny tires can be ridden right through. If you’re on a bike with fatter tires that encourages zesty maneuvering, you may even find a little lip or two in the line to the right…
Voila! You’ve arrived in the parking lot of Estes Park Apartments:
At the bottom of the Estes Park driveway, you’re at the foot of the Estes hill. To your left is the deathtrap you just avoided; Seawell School Rd., Umstead, and Northern Chapel Hill are to your right.