Greenways are one of our country's greatest cycling resources. Usually composed of flood plains and utility easements, greenways offfer a respite from car choked streets or a safe way to traverse urban areas. They offfer a wonderful place to take the family for worry free riding. But greenways have there share of problems
Aldridge Creek Greenway
This multi-use path begins on Mtn. Gap road near the intersection with Bailey Cove. Ample parking is provided. The trail is accessed by riding from the parking lot across the creek and then turning left on the greenway. Riders will pass Challenger Middle School and McGuckin Park eventually arriving at Ditto's Landing Marina. Turn right into the Marina continue past the campground and ride through the picnic area. The bike path will reappear and continue along the Tennessee river for another mile, ending at the Whitesburg Yacht Club.
Indian Creek Greenway
This neighborhood path continues to grow into a valuable asset for the citizens of Madison. Bucolic pastures and rippling streams line this multi-use path, creating an oasis of peace amid a bustling modern city. Access points at Old Madison PIke and Farrow Road with an extension to the Providence section in future plans.
Donated to the city of Huntsville by the Hay's family, the preserve is a great place to get started bike riding with the family. Many family friendly events are put on here throughout the year. Here's a Map.
Tim's Ford State Park
Just a short drive from Huntsville, near Wihchester TN, this park offers a very pleasant daytrip with a five mile path through woodlands with views of the lake. Download a Map.
For most folks, enjoying a recreational or family bike ride means getting away from cars. And there's no better way to escape traffic than to ride one of America's more than 1,100 rail-trails, now in every state. Here's a step-by-step guide to finding and enjoying rail-trails, one of our most precious recreational opportunities.
What is a Rail-Trail?
Rail-trails are multi-purpose, public paths created from former railroad corridors. Flat or following a gentle grade, they traverse urban, suburban and rural America. Ideal for bicycling, walking, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, equestrian and wheelchair use, rail-trails are extremely popular for recreation and transportation. Since the 1960s, more than 11,500 miles of rail-trails have been created across the country, with a goal of 15,000 miles by 2004.
How Do I Find a Rail-Trail to Ride?
Head for the Internet. Go to www.railtrails.org, the official site of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). Here you'll learn about the rail-trail movement and how to get a rail-trail started in your area. This site will take you to www.traillink.com. Select your state and BIKING or MOUNTAIN BIKING and you'll see all the trails close to you.
What Should I expect?
Most rail-trails are surfaced with crushed limestone, which can be soft around the edges or when wet, so a wide tire is better than a narrow one to keep from sinking into the trail. Unless you're an experienced cyclist, it's best to avoid riding the trails on super-skinny tires. Rail-trails can be busy thoroughfares on weekends or near trailheads. The most common cause of accidents is riders colliding, so keep your distance and slow down when passing other trail users. Teach your kids to say, "on your left" when overtaking, or get everyone a bell.
The biggest difference between preparing for a rail-trail ride and a recreational spin on public roads is that you need to be self-contained. Because rail-trails get you away from cars, you can't depend on 7-Elevens or gas stations for pit stops or snacks. So, bring plenty of water, one more snack or energy bar than you think you need, and provisions for flat-tire repair.
The Silver Comet/ Chief Ladiga Trail, Piedmont, Alabama, 95 miles
Discover the beautiful deep south as you pedal past wetlands, streams, forests and farmland along a backdrop filled with mountains. The largest paved pedestrian corridor in the U.S.,the SC/CL Trail can accommodate short family trips or 100 mile a day overnighters. Trail terminus in Smyrna Georgia, 15 miles north of Atlanta. For more information visit: Chief Ladiga / Silver Comet
Katy Trail State Park, Missouri, 225 miles
Travel dense forests, wetlands, deep valleys, remnant prairies, open pastureland and gently rolling farm fields and pass through some of the most scenic areas of Missouri on the longest open rail-trail in the United States. For information visit www.mostateparks.com/katytrail.htm
George S. Mickelson Trail, South Dakota, 114 miles
Explore national forest land, more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four tunnels on this scenic trail through South Dakota's Black Hills. For information including accommodations visit www.mickelsontrail.com
Withlacoochee State Trail/General James A. Van Fleet Trail, Florida, 75 miles
Take in rural Florida's citrus groves, scenic swamps and varied wildlife on these rail-trails in the central part of the state. While not connected, the trails are close enough to make for a good multi-day trip.
Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., 336 miles
Combine the Great Allegheny Passage with the C&O Canal Towpath to pedal from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. on rail-trails, bike lanes and the canal towpath. For information visit www.atatrail.org
Pere-Marquette State Trail/White Pine Trail State Park, Michigan, 148 miles.
Travel through the heart of central Michigan and across scenic and varied terrain while pedaling along these intersecting trails.