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Trail of the Month: May and June 2007
Your Trail of the Month

For the last 7 years, we've been picking rail-trails to feature as a Trail of the Month on our Web site. Popular trails, beautiful trails, secluded trails, city trails, innovative trails—the list covers the whole country with geographic diversity and appeal. National Trails Day is June 2, and in celebration of our nation's rail-trails we thought we'd try something new and hand our regular Trail of the Month feature over to you, our readers. This time, it was your turn to tell us, What is Your Trail of the Month?

Please Note: The opinions and information provided below are those of the individual author and not Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is not responsible for the content posted on Web sites provided by the authors.

Jane from Washington, D.C.'s Trail of the Month is the Lake Wobegon Trail in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Jane, the Director of Membership at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, says...
When you ride the trail to Freeport, MN, you can stop at Charlie's Cafe and have the biggest caramel roll you've even seen!

Ryan from Ohio's Trail of the Month is the Cardinal Greenway in Indiana. Ryan, the Program Coordinator in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Midwest Regional Office, says...
This 28-mile paved trail traverses multiple bridges, rural beauty and urban Muncie, Indiana. There is rail with trail, a historic depot, free bike rental and many other amenities.

Christopher from Pennsylvania's Trail of the Month is the Montour Trail in Pennsylvania. Christopher says...
The great side of the City of Pittsburgh and its suburbs that has a great view of its surrounding communities...

Carl from Maryland's Trail of the Month is the American Tobacco Trail in North Carolina. Carl says...
Near my mom's home and Jordan Lake.

Carl from Pennsylvania's Trail of the Month is the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Pennsylvania. Carl, the Manager of Trail Development in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Northeast Regional Office says...
This is a really well maintained 60-mile trail that passes through some of the most beautiful parts of Pennsylvania. It parallels Pine Creek and goes through the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania."There a quaint villages along the way where you can stop for refreshments or a night's rest. Wildlife is abundant including bald eagles, whitetail deer, black bear and wild turkey. Pine Creek provides opportunities for fishing, rafting and kayaking.

Little Traverse Wheelway © Emily Meyerson

Emily from Michigan's Trail of the Month is the Little Traverse Wheelway in Michigan. Emily says...
The Little Traverse Wheelway runs 26 miles around Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan linking the resort communities of Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Harbor Springs. The trail runs along the lakeshore or with views of the lake for most of the 26 miles, linking parks, lake access points and facilities. Included at the west/east end of the bay are the dunes and beaches of the Petoskey State Park. I use this trail, at least in part, a few times a week to run, bike, or walk my dog Hannah. A bonus is to be on the trail at dusk to watch the famous Petsokey "million dollar sunsets."

George S. Mickelson Trail © Wayne Winter

Wayne from South Dakota's Trail of the Month is the George S. Mickelson Trail in South Dakota. Wayne says...
The George S. Mickelson Trail extends 109 miles from Deadwood South Dakota, in the heart of the Black Hills, to the town of Edgemont on the southern edge of the Black Hills. Riders of the trail can now access Custer State Park via a new 3.2 mile, asphalt spur trail. The Stockade Lake Spur runs along Highway 16 from the Mickelson Trail at Custer, to the Gordon Stockade in Custer State Park. The construction project, which was completed in the Spring of 2007, was dedicated on June 2nd 2007, National Trails Day. The dedication took place at the Gordon Stockade which is near the West Gate of Custer State Park. A dedication departed from Custer. The trail spur was a cooperative project between the City of Custer, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the Department of Transportation and the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Many private donations helped make this project possible. For additional information on the dedication call the Black Hills Trails Office at (605) 584-3896 or the Custer Chamber of Commerce at (605) 673-2244.

Randall from Michigan's Trail of the Month is the Pere Marquette Rail Trail in Michigan. Randall says...
The trail starts in Midland and goes west for 30 miles of paved trail meandering through beautiful city and countryside passing through parks, rural areas, small communities, places of interest, etc. There is an additional 4-mile spur that goes from Midland to the Chippewa Nature Center. At North Bradley, there is an equestrian trail that goes 5 miles east to the town of Coleman. At the western end of the trail at Clare, there is a tunnel in construction that will take the trail into and past the community of Clare. Along the trail, it is evident that community groups have planted many beds of flowers, trees and provided habitat for birds and other animals by protecting wetlands, marshes and bogs. With many parking areas along the trail, the trail accommodates many different types of users and their families, from those that are looking for a short trip on a Sunday afternoon to someone looking for an epoch adventure. With abundant restrooms and communities equally spaced apart on the trail, users are treated to an adventure that is catered to their needs and comfort. Also, in part, with the help of the Friends of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail and the Parks and Recreation Departments of both Isabella and Midland counties, the trail is maintained in a pristine condition.

Chattahoochee River Walk © Don Shrum

Don from Florida's Trail of the Month is the Chattahoochee Riverwalk in Ohio. Don says...
Trail is located in Columbus, Georgia. I rode it with a friend in September. Short trail but very nice. Best maintained trail I have ridden. Was landscaped in many areas.

Thomas from Ohio's Trail of the Month is the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio. Thomas says...
It is the second longest completely paved multi-use trail in the United States. It connects cities, towns and rural areas as it travels along the old rail bed of the Little Miami Railroad, the first railroad in Ohio. Trail users can experience some urban sights as well as seeing what rural Ohio looked like a century ago. Since the trail is south from Springfield almost to Cincinnati, the trail is our most shaded trail in the Summer. The trail follows the scenic Little Miami River for part of its journey to Cincinnati.

Silver Comet Trail © Robert Granato

Robert from Florida's Trail of the Month is the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia. Robert says...
I have heard and read many good things about the Silver Comet Trail for the past few years. Every year I try to work in a long distance bike ride in and around my work schedule to a place or trail I've never seen before. So, in Oct. of 2006 I decided to see it for myself and possibly take in some autumn color in the process. The drive from Orlando was a short one which was another factor in choosing this one. What I enjoyed most was that even though it's considered an urban environment, careful planning was done to give a more rural experience. When you stop to consider that the great city of Atlanta is just a short distance away, one can appreciate the pains it took to construct it. The trail itself is well maintained and a trail that can appeal to all skill levels. And, with a little planning, food and lodging can be had easily and close by. I plan to return when the trail is complete to the Chief Ladiga Trail that will go onto Anniston, Alabama making it almost 120 miles each way. Trail completion should be done by early 2008.

Dennis from New Jersey's Trail of the Month is the Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway in New Jersey. Dennis says...
The Felix is a grand daddy, predating the present day rail trail movement. The Felix provides unique destinations along its path, including a restored bog, iron village, a steam train excursion and a old time general store. In addition the Felix connects with a short on-street bikeway (low traffic) to the Manasquan public beach on the Jersey shore. All this is just 50 miles from New York City. The Felix also has very few road crossings, thanks to the preservation of three major highway bridges on the right-of-way.

Long Leaf Trace © Ken Vinzant

Ken from Alabama's Trail of the Month is the Longleaf Trace in Mississippi. Ken says...
The Longleaf Trace is the "interstate" of bicycle trails in the Southeastern United States. Stretching over 40 miles, the LLT takes riders through some of Mississippi's most pristine piney woods. It begins with a gateway at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and ends in the small town of Bassfield. Along the way, every five or so miles, riders are treated to "rest stops" disguised as old railroad stations that feature drink machines as well as water coolers similar to those found in buildings. The LLT is relatively flat and partially shaded by trees growing over the trail and well maintained bike path. There is a fulltime trail manager with an office at the gateway in Hattiesburg.

Jeffrey from Florida's Trail of the Month is the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Virginia. Jeffrey says...
Absolutely beautiful multi-use trail that runs 44.82 miles (72.4 km.) from Arlington, Va. to Purcellville, Va.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes © Robert Ashworth

Robert from Washington's Trail of the Month is the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes in Idaho. Roberts says...
Seventy-two miles of paved trail as smooth as velvet. Through North Idaho lake and forest country. Was a mining railroad that they paved over to encapsulate dust from the mine that was leaching into lakes and streams. That environmental cleanup created an opportunity for a great trail. Starts in Plummer, winds its way along south shore of Coeur d' Alene Lake through the historic steamer port of Harrison, ID. Then heads into Idaho's Silver Valley through the historic mining towns of Kellogg and Wallace. Historic buildings, mine tours even a brothel museum are available. A few other web sites http://friendsofcdatrails.org and my site with photos http://theslowlane.com/05pnw/coeur1.html

Ron from New York's Trail of the Month is the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in New York. Ron says...
Great for bicycling, rollerblading (my preference), walking, and more. Now about 8+ miles continuously paved, with plans to extend it significantly longer. Trail traverses the countryside of eastern Dutchess County (NY) near the CT border, with scenic hills, farms, wetlands, and more. Accessible by commuter train to NYC (take the Metro North Harlem Line to its end—trail has been extended right into the train station! Millerton is a quaint country town with great places to stop for a meal or a snack. The northern half of this segment has only 1 grade-level road crossing (three crossings on overpasses above the roads). The northern end follows the old mill stream for which Millerton was named. In all, a very nice trail!

Banks-Vernonia State Trail © Lary Buchholz

Larry from Oregon's Trail of the Month is the Banks-Vernonia State Trail in Oregon. Larry says...
New full-featured State Park in the middle. Quiet, leafy paved sections near Buxton perfect for strollers and kids bikes. Peaceful paved section along Nehalem River ends in little lake in Vernonia. Glazed scones at bakery in Vernonia.

L. from Michigan's Trail of the Month is the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail in Florida. L. says…
We camped in Palm Harbor in a campground that was a block from the trail. We are outdoor lovers and did not know if we'd like an urban trail. The cities have bike lanes that go off of the trail so if you need anything it is easy to get to and lots of sidewalks to ride on that adjoin the trails if the kids are too young for bike lanes. We could just leave our gas guzzling truck (to tow camper) parked and ride to groceries, office supply stores, fabric stores....whatever! Golf was the only thing [my husband] had to drive to and that was because of the clubs. If we lived there he'd have to get a cart to haul his clubs. Our daughter and our two year old granddaughter joined us and LOVED how the trail went from playground to playground. A different park every day. Pennies for Pinellas is their extra tax that helps fund parks and path improvements. So many trails...so little time. There are many more trails as we have a different "trail of the month" just about every time we go out. In Michigan the White Pine Trail and one along the Grand River in Grand Rapids (sorry I don't have a name on that one), Pennsylvania, the one out of York down to Maryland...we love tunnels. Virginia... that name slips me but along the river and through tunnels. Our grand kids 7, 5, and 2 are all becoming bikers and love it. Seven year old on his own trek, 5 year old on the trek trailer bike and 2 year old in a trailer cart. We just love it and they chat to us all along the way.

Greg from Wisconsin's Trail of the Month is the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Wisconsin. Greg says...
Amazing tunnels, views, length, scenery, and stops along the way! Excellent and very sufficient lodging (hotels or camping) along the way. A MUST ride for trails in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's premier state trail! I'm even going again tomorrow.

Ben from Massachusetts's Trail of the Month is the Southwest Corridor Park that runs from Boston to Jamaica Plain Massachusetts. Ben says...
The Southwest Corridor is a rail-trail that starts in the heart of Boston at the Back Bay train station and continues until the Forrest Hills train station. The trail is paralleled by the MBTA orange line, which is visible from the trail at all times. It is a relatively simple trail, clearly laid out by signs and maps on pillars, and the entire trail is on cement. Even in the grassy areas there is still an asphalt path for bikers and walkers, who also use the trail. In many spots the trail splits into two separate pathways side by side, one for walkers and one for bikers. This is meant to minimize traffic overflow on one narrow path. The trail starts out along a quite path lined by small gardens and jungle-gyms.

There are play areas along the entire trail, ranging from playgrounds to open grassy fields to basketball courts. The entire trail runs through large urban areas (downtown Boston, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), but the trail mostly has a more suburban feel to it. While sections of the trail are on the street and are caught up in the middle of busy Northeastern University, others are secluded in some quiet hidden area with grass and trees. The parks and open fields along the trail are in constant use. Pickup basketball games are popular, as well as soccer practice, and people just lounging around in the sun. The trail has little if any elevation gain, so bikers with less stamina will still be able to complete the trail.

The trail also passes by many historic sites in Boston, including the world headquarters for the Christian Science Church, The Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The trail also passes through Roxbury, a major stop on the underground railroad. At the end of the trail stands a large minimalist clock tower, a landmark for the southern end of the park. The Southwest Corridor trail officially ends at the Forrest Hills train/bus station, but from there you can continue either towards the Franklin Park Zoo or the Arnold Arboretum.

I first chose to head up towards the Franklin Park Zoo. However, after about 15 minutes of riding I realized that I wasn't going to be able to get in, and there were way too many hills on the way. So I head back towards the Arboretum, which was much more satisfying. The arboretum was a wash of color and smell, and while I had never been there before, I was glad to experience it then. It is a beautiful multi-acre area with hundreds of species of plants and trees, as well as small ponds. Overall, the Southwest Corridor was one of the trails I liked best. Easy enough for even the more inexperienced bikers, and very rewarding for bikers of all skill levels.

Jessica from Washington, D.C.'s Trail of the Month is the Devil's Fork Loop in southwest Virginia. Jessica, the Director of Foundation and Corporate Support at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, says...
Although included in the Mid-Atlantic Guidebook with a big warning, I thoroughly enjoyed this trail and all the effort it took to hike the entire route. We usually espouse the glory of the flat grade rail-trail. What we miss in this accolade are all the great narrow-gauge rail-trails that were used for logging and mining in mountainous areas, but are now perfect for avid hikers. The Devil's Fork Loop trail is one of these trails. Originally used for mining (and you can see an old coal car on the trail) it is now a beautiful hiking trail that follows the Devil Fork on one side of the loop and a switchback down the mountain on the other.

The trail climbs 1,200 feet; some of it entails clambering over rocks and literally walking across streams with no bridges. The main highlight of the trail is Devils Bathtub 1.5 miles from the beginning of the trail the rushing water of Devil's Fork has created an interesting water shoot out of the soft sandstone and now the water swirls quickly through this stone luge, plummeting into a beautiful pool of blue-green water. Another trail highlight is found shortly after Devils Bathtub, the 50-foot waterfall at the mouth of Corder Hollow. You can make a weekend out of this trail as there is camping near the small parking lot at the beginning of the trail. It is a glorious hike and one of the most beautiful trails I've ever been on. I hope you all enjoy!

sunflowers on the Cowboy Trail, Nebraska © Sarah McGregor

Sarah from Colorado's Trail of the Month is the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. Sarah says...
The Cowboy Trail is still a work in progress, but could be a great asset for Nebraska. The countryside is pretty and way off the beaten path, the people are nice, and the tourism possibilities unique. It's also a short jaunt from the Mickelson Trail and I believe the two could be connected for a truly fantastic trail of almost 500 miles.

Both Russell and Georgean from Washington say their Trail of the Month is Foothills Trail from Puyallup to South Prairie, Washington. Russell says...
This trail starts in a farming area and continues through small towns toward the Cascade Mountains. It has a large support group the Foothills Rails to Trails Coalition and a 45 member courtesy patrol. When the trail is completed it will run from Tacoma to Mt. Rainier. This year we celebrate our 20th year anniversary.

Foothills Trail © Russell Matthews

Georgean says...
The trail goes up the wide valley with farms and houses, and to the river where eagles fly and salmon swim. Through the cool woods to a small town where there is ice cream or lattes at the end before heading back. Nice 30 mile round trip.

Richard from Utah's Trail of the Month is the Provo Jordan River Parkway Trail in Provo, Utah. Richard says...
Starting near the shores of the desert Utah Lake, traveling through the city of Provo, Utah, that still has small town atmosphere—including people trout fishing along the river in town—past the foot of Scenic Bridal Veil falls and half way through one of the great scenic canyons of Utah, Provo Canyon, with park after park along the way for relaxation, exploration, water fountains and well maintained rest areas. Excellent variety of scenery, stops, and services. Round trip can be an exhausting 30 miles if you want a hard workout but it is also easy enough for family outings and very popular on weekends for shorter hikes, bikes, roller blades, etc. Even in the summer most stretches are shady and cool, especially the canyon half of the ride.

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