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Great improvements have been made recently on this trail! A new parking area has been created on the north end of a new section of trail in College City. On what current maps show as W. Winters Ln in College City, the parking area has plenty of room and the trail leaves from the southwest end of the lot (Picture 1). After heading south for about ¾ mile, the new section of trail t-bones (Picture 2) with the original trail. Turning right (west) takes you through a nicely wooded section of trail (Picture 3) towards Hwy 67. This fairly busy highway crossing is about 1½ miles from the college parking area.
After crossing the highway, you will find a newly paved section continuing west for another half mile or so before the trail takes on a more southerly heading. The flat terrain lends itself to farming and there are a few trees for variety (Picture 4).
The Coon Creek crossing has been completely rebuilt (Picture 5). As you continue south, croplands give way to homes (Picture 6). Continuing into the town of Walnut Ridge, you travel through quiet city lanes and some older neighborhoods (Picture 7). About 5 miles from the start point is West Main Street. On the south side of this busy crossing is a Casey’s convenience store which makes a nice rest stop with facilities, snacks and cold drinks. Another couple of miles or so and you will find the turn-around at the southern end of the trail (Picture 8).
At the north end of the trail, in College City (now annexed into Walnut Ridge), if you head east on Fulbright Ave for about ¾ mile, you can visit the Wings of Honor Museum (Picture 9) for a bit of history of the area as well as a place to get out of the sun and cool off.
My wife and I thoroughly enjoy this trail. The 15-mile round trip including the excursion to the Museum is just right for a nice afternoon outing on our trikes. We enjoy the peaceful farm areas as well as the lack of traffic on most of the streets. The streets in College City are also very lightly traveled most of the time, and being the home of Williams Baptist University there are a fair number of bikes in the area.
I rode this trail two days ago and found that the entire trail is now paved. Also, a new section/cutoff has been paved near the north end of the trail taking you into the Williams Baptist University campus. From there, you can easily get to the local airport on lightly traveled city streets and visit the Wings of Honor Museum or airport lobby. Then travel south on the main street back to the trail head and head south all the way to Hoxie. According to my GPS it was just under 14 miles for a round trip. There is some mowing yet to be done on the very northern end, but they have done a lot work. Mayor Snapp is obviously committed to keeping this trail usable.
There is a new parking area by the United Free Will Baptist Church at the corner of 67B and Pocahontas St. It appears the church has expanded their parking so the trail cuts through the middle of it, or it may be for the trail. anyway, it is new and very convenient. One mile north of the church, the trail is washed out as it crosses Coon Creek. It has been partially filled and you can get across this, but it is challenging. Another mile north and we found a tree down, blocking the trail and turned around. After returning to our starting point, we continued about 3 miles south, to the southern end and returned for a total of 10 miles. With the exception of the creek crossing and the tree down, it was a nice ride. I rode from the airport to the main highway about a month ago and found it to be a pleasant ride, with a couple of exceptions. First off, the first 50 yards or so was bad, lots of broken glass and tree trimming debris and so forth. It was barely possible to pick a path through it safely. I would not chance it without heavy duty tires and tubes. A little ways in, the bridge is beginning to deteriorate. Most of the nails holding the decking down need to be driven back down. Fortunately, they are all lined up and quite visible so I was able to pick my path through them on my Catrike. The rest of the trail is very enjoyable. You do need to be cautious crossing streets as the crossings are not marked for autos, but traffic is not heavy. The southern end of the trail is just a turn around.
Gem in the rough! Rail to trail close to Jonesboro, AR. Park at the Bank at SW Case and SW Texas to ride entire trail. Ride West 2 blocks then turn right and over tracks; start there or up another block. This trail is also on Google Maps, 13 miles round trip. Ride 5 miles to gravel then 1/4 mile to cross highway and finish the last mile. Be sure to stop by the Beatles memorial on Abbey Road in Walnut Ridge for a photo then enjoy a coffee at the Dark Side Shoppe.
For Northeast Arkansas not bad at all. Let's go bad news first. The first 1 1/2 miles from the trailhead on the airport end is terrible. Skip it. Part of it is a jungle and another part of it has never been paved. Good news, from the point where Lawrence County Road 430 crosses the trail all the way to the Hoxie end trailhead is pretty nice. Again I'm not going to knock it because we have very few choices when it comes to non motorized vehicle trails in Northeast Arkansas. I was there on a Monday around noon and only saw one of person using the trail and he was walking on the Hoxie end. Flat easy ride, peaceful, and shaded in sections. Trail crosses one major street and a few quiet neighborhood streets. The useable part of the trail on a round trip ride is about 10 miles. As far as parking goes, I'd probably park at the Ridge Mall close to McDonald's and walk my bike across the street to the trail.
There's no designated parking except one handicapped space at the south end of the trail. The clerk at the convience store (intersection of BNSF tacks and 67B) let me park on the north side of the store. Go west on the street parallel to the tracks, cross over, go right at the next street, and pick up the trail. This section of the trail isn't too bad. Goes though the older residential areas.
When you pass the chevy dealership on the east side of the trail, and the trail leaves Walnut Ridge,it craps out. The trail seems to have been poorly paved with potholes and cracks with grass. After the trail banks due east, there is an unpaved section about 200 yards long. The path is loose ballast and hard to ride even with a mountain type tread. After the trail crosses US67 it's paved to the airport road but is narrow with hanging trees and bushes.
On the return trip I croosed 67 but rode the shoulder southbound, took a right on county road 430 then caught the trail.
Generally, its a flat easy ride sans the section already described. All kinds of field birds. I can imagine during the summer the mosquitos are thick. I drove from Searcy to check out this trail and probably won't go back.
We drove all the way to the Walnut Ridge Airport and discovered the trailhead there was blocked with an iron gate, and padlocked cyclone fencing prohibited any entry. Folks at the airport terminal told me the trail was only paved for about a mile at the 'airport end', due to a bridge not yet being constructed.
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