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The Betsy Ligon Park and Walking Trail is the crown jewel of Erin, Tennessee, and its namesake will tell you that it has become a far greater community asset than ever expected. At the trail's opening in 1995, then Mayor Betsy Ligon was hopeful that the small town's new walking trail would provide its citizens with the park space they needed to recreate and visit with neighbors.
Today this scenic trail, complete with a community park as its centerpiece, invites users of all ages and abilities to enjoy a myriad of natural and historical attractions. In addition, the third Saturday of every March sees the town, founded by Irish railroad workers, celebrating its heritage with a parade ending at the Betsy Ligon Park.
Starting your brief trip at the Betsy Ligon Park on Front Street gives you a glimpse of the town's railroad past. Here you will find a restored box car and caboose and the Railroad Memorial Pavilion. Also of interest is a hand-hewn limestone kiln built in the late 1800s. The trail continues through Erin, where it has become a heavily used exercise route for local seniors. You will witness Erin's active elder population taking advantage of the trail's smooth and flat surface, as well as its scenic and safe surroundings, as they walk their way to better health.
Beyond the town center you begin to experience the solitude of nature, as trees and birds replace cars and people for the backdrop to a lovely bike ride or stroll. There are plentiful, well-maintained benches along the way that beckon you to slow down, relax and contemplate your surroundings.
At the end of the paved trail you will see the rail corridor continuing into the distance. Plans call for extending the trail to the town boundary and beyond. From the looks of the well-worn foot path on the undeveloped corridor, the trailblazing has begun.
Erin lies some 50 miles west of Nashville. As you enter town along Main Street/SR 49, turn south on Hill Street and follow it 0.2 mile to Front Street. Park at the Front Street entrance to the Railroad Memorial Pavilion in Betsy Ligon Park.
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