The first phase of the Shelby Farms Greenline opened in 2010 and helped inspire a new culture of biking and walking in Memphis. About 200,000 people now use the Greenline each year. As of June 2016, the trail runs 10.6 miles between Tillman Street in Binghampton (east of Midtown Memphis) and the Old Cordova Railroad Station.
The rail-trail, built on a former Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway line (and later CSX line), unfurls largely under a canopy of large oaks and other shade trees, making it pleasantly cool and green in summer. Dotted with wooden trestles over scenic wetland and riparian areas, and with few street crossings, deer, wild turkeys, armadillos and other wildlife occasionally wander through the hushed corridor.
Other parts of the route open up to residential neighborhoods, and the trail provides a vital transportation and social linkage through these communities, connecting them to each other and to parks and recreational amenities within the city.
A highlight of the route is Shelby Farms Park, one of America’s largest urban parks. At 4,500 acres, it offers just about every type of outdoor activity imaginable: horseback riding, ziplining, disc golf, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, nature trails, the fantastical Woodland Discovery Playground—even a herd of buffalo!
Another 2.3 miles of trail, in the planning stages as of 2016, will continue the trail even farther east from the Cordova depot to Lenow Road. As the route will pass a popular sports complex, several businesses and a new mixed-use development recently approved by the city, the new segment will add another valuable piece of connectivity for the community.
Access the trail where it crosses Tillman St., Highland St., High Point Terrace, Graham St., Waring Rd., Podesta St., Sycamore View Rd., Mullins Station Rd. and at Farm Rd. in Shelby Farms Park (between Mullins Station Road and Walnut Grove Road).
To get to the park, from the west, take I-240 to the Walnut Grove Exit and go east to the third stop light. The park is on both sides of the road. Turn left at the light. From the east follow Walnut Grove or Mullins Station until you see the signs for the park.