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The Chattahoochee Riverwalk in Columbus, skirts the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The meandering and hilly paved pathway links the quaint cotton mill village of Bibb City, downtown Columbus, and the drill fields at Fort Benning.
The Chattahoochee River originates in the mountains of north Georgia and flows to the Florida Panhandle. Steamboats loaded with cotton plied the river through Columbus in the 1800s and commerce depended on the river with the arrival of the railroad and other means of transportation.
You can continue your exploration of the Chattahoochee River along the Chattahoochee Valley Railroad Trail, just over the border in Alabama. A connection to the Columbus Fall Line Trace also offers the opportunity to travel 11 miles through Columbus with access to many of the city's amenities.
The Chattahoochee Riverwalk runs through Columbus, GA, and has several access points and parking is available in numerous places along the route. Access points include:
Bay Avenue and 11th Street
Front Avenue and 8th Street (stairs behind Space Center)
Front Avenue and Sixth Street (sidewalk)
Golden Park (stairs and sidewalk)
Civic Center (stairs)
Rigdon Park (sidewalk)
23rd Street sidewalk)
Bibb Mill (sidewalk)
Hemlock Park (sidewalk)
I've not only been over every inch of this trail as a recreational biker but I've also used it to commute to work at Fort Benning from my neighborhood deep in the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee. Riding to work I sweated street traffic until picking up the trail in downtown Columbus. After that it was very pleasant peddling along the safe Riverwalk at sunrise all the way into Fort Benning. On the ride home, it was a much slower trip because I would stop and look into every creek and slough along the way. Such "alligator habitat" side sights make this trail extra interesting. I no longer work at Benning but I still ride the trail which is great for tween and teen family members too.
I favor the Rotary Park access when taking children with me to the trail. From there one can go upriver to downtown, the rapids, and the mills. Or one can go downstream toward the wooded areas and Fort Benning.
An excellent recreational motive for peddling from Columbus south toward Benning are two attractions around the Benning end of the trail. One is the Oxbow Meadows Nature Center. The other is the Infantry Museum. The museum is outside of Benning's checkpoint gates so there is no hassle. But the Museum prohibits even "small pocket knives" so leave your bicycle maintenance multi-tool, your pepper spray, etc. at your bike before going in.
Since May of 2016 I have ridden this trail at least 20 times.
There are several good entry points, but my favorite route is to park near Lake Oliver Marina and start at the very north end of the trail.
Your can ride several miles to the dam and then exit the Riverwalk briefly north of Bibb City. You will ride through a restored old neighborhood. Stay to the right at all turns, until you ride past the Event Center and storage warehouses. You will see the Riverwalk entry signs on your right. Turn right and follow the road down to the public park where rafters and kayakers put in the river. Follow the trail until it runs into 1st Ave. Turn right and ride about 200 hundred yards, then turn back onto the trail.
From there you can stay off public streets until south of downtown where you exit for a quarter mile onto Lumpkin Blvd. Turn right onto Lumpkin and then turn right into the Naval Museum and follow the trail back to the river. From there follow the trail past South Columbus Water Works to the Oxbow Creek golf course. Turn right just before the golf course.
Follow the bike path past the environmental center and cross S. Lumpkin Ave. The trail is clearly marked until you get to the construction site north of Upatoi Creek. Turn left just before the road construction and pay attention to the markings where the trail crosses the streets. The trail runs through forested areas until you get to the older section of Ft Benning. I enjoy riding out around the airfield and back to the trail starting point at Baltzell Ave.
If you ride around the airfield and back to Lake Oliver the total ride is around 42 miles. Very few climbs, lots of walkers, joggers, and riders on the weekends. There are lots of opportunities to hammer down, but stretches where you need to relax and sit up. Map your course on Google before you go. I love it. You will too.
Parked at the civil war naval museum and entered the trail there. Path is well paved and mostly level. Plenty of places to stop along the way. Overall a nice 'Sunday Stroll' trail. Recommended!
My Wife and I rode this trail over the weekend it was nice and clean. there were many folks riding and walking the trail and it was beautiful and enjoyable. I was forewarned where to park and heeded the advise.I had a great time.
This is a beautiful, safe, clean, easy trail that is suitable for all ages. It is partly shaded and therefore a pleasant ride even in the summer. You can combine the bike riding with other activities such as rafting or zip lining and end your day with a wonderful meal at a wide variety of restaurants close by.
I parked in a lot where there were a few other cars and folks coming and going. It was not super busy.
The ride itself was wonderful! Following the river was nice, with a few rolling hills and nice people;e along the way. It gets a little crowded by the zip line with lots of families, so probably will start beyond that next time. I wasn't sure where to go when I reached what seemed like the end of the ride near Ft Benning but I needed to turn around anyway as I wanted to be back to my car before way before dusk. As I came up the ramp where I parked, near where the whitewater rafts put in, I saw a figure run from my truck then I saw all the broken glass...mine was the only vehicle left in the lot..
Smartly I had everything of monetary value with me. I found out later from the police that there is a problem with crime in the area. I called the local bike shop who said on the street downtown it is 2 hr parking only so they all park in the parking garage. I have a sour taste still so have not been back but with the weather warming up I do plan to go back, go earlier in the day, look at the map more carefully, and park in the garage!
The part of the trail that is accessible in the downtown Columbus area is currently disrupted in several places by construction. We were not aware of this and parked at 32nd St. We had to get up on surface streets and at one point negotiate long sets of steps with our bikes. We finally got to ride at 13th street. The trail is lovely for most of its length this time of year , Spring.
The river is very polluted and at one point before you get to Ft Benning the sewage treatment plant is an unwelcome "stench" ! There is another stretch of trail further South where the smell is from chemicals related to processing of fabric.
The rapids in town are used currently for kayaking. This industry is being explored by the city of Columbus and much more will be added to it to bring more people to the area for competitions. It is a shame the river is used as Atlanta's dumping ground for toxic waste ! At present the city of Atlanta has stated it is cheaper to pay fines than treat the water to the level that would make the "Hooch" as pristine as it once was. You can get daily reports on the levels of pollutants.
We will go back and do the Lake Oliver stretch sometime in the future. When it is complete the 22 miles will be easily negotiable. The Ft Benning base is a wonderful ride so make sure and take time to see the lovely neighborhoods.
now i wouldnt say labor day is the best time to go because its quite hot in town then, but we did. but everything else was superb. the concrete surface, the benches, gorgeous treatment as it runs thru downtown and by columbus state art campus, minor league ballfield stadium, community pools (wish we could've gotten in to cool off), and a fishing equip store that'll sell you a cold fanta grape.
park at the north end of town by the access at the spillway/dam and ride to ft. benning if you like. thats about 11 miles an we turned back at 8. one part passes thru a historic neighborhood with a stone amphitheatre under a large grove of trees, imagine seeing evenign music there. great job columbus, we'll be back.
The Riverwalk trail is a hidden gem. The ride along the river was beautiful, and there are two museums to peruse along the way if you need a break. There are bathrooms, water stops and a convenience store just off the trail if you need anything else. We will be going back!
We rode this trail on Saturday and went back on Sunday.The trail was beautiful and something different around every turn,and there are a few curves.They were having Rumble on the river with a live band and that was a pleasant surprise.The landscape was wonderful.Alot to see and do there just off the trail.It ended without warning,and could use a few more mile markers other than that I would give it TWO thumbs up.A beautiful place everyone should see.We will go back and spend the weekend there and enjoy the whole town!
I will be going back soon there is so much to do along this trail you could take as much time as you'd like to see it all. There is the US Army infantry musem, cival war naval musem, coca cola space center, and lots of other things on or not far from the trail. We only explored the area from the old iron works down to the boat landing just below the naval musem, maybe three miles, and had a great and fun filled day. I suggest looking over and researching it on google maps the satelite view to find parking and look over the route you want to cycle. I wish they had better trail maps and markings along the way for those who are not familiar with the area because it has great potential for bringing in people looking for fun family entertainment for the day or weekend.
My daughter,who came up from Florida to ride with me, did this trail the first weekend in August. There's not a whole lot of info on the internet about trailheads, parking, and a decent map. Columbus could do a much better job at promoting the trail, and should use the Silver Comet Trail as an example. We started from the Lake Oliver Marina, which you have a huge hill to climb to start on the trail. There's no signs marking the start, or the gate being locked at the first dam. Fortunately we met another rider, a local, that knew the detours and led us to the downtown area, which is probably the best place to start. It also runs through some bad neighborhoods, so be aware on the north side of the downtown area. After that, the trail is fantastic! Lots of beautiful scenery, bathrooms, water, and benches. Lots of things to see and stop for. I'm planning on coming back for a longer trip with my camera.
How long is this trail its not 22 miles that I can see on google map
RODE THE RIVERWALK SATURDAY OCTOBER 20, 2007. IT IS A PICTURESQUE RIDE AND WAS PLEASED AT ALL THE ACTIVITY ALONG THE TRAIL. THE OXBOW NATURE CENTER IS WORTH A VISIT. THE TRAIL HAS ENOUGH TWISTS AND HILLS TO KEEP YOU ALERT AND THE SCENERY WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO BRING A CAMERA.
HOWEVER THERE WAS MORE LITTER THAN I EXPECTED AND THE PRESENCE OF SOME SHADY LOOKING CHARACTERS MADE ME NERVOUS, ESPECIALLY ALONG THE NORTH TRAIL. THE DETOURS AT CONSTRUCTION SITES MADE ROUTE FINDING DIFFICULT, BUT IF YOU'RE PERSISTENT YOU CAN FIND YOUR WAY. WITH THE COMPLETION OF THE CONSTRUCTION AND SOME CLEANUP AND MAYBE MORE PATROLS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT IT WILL BE A PERFECT TRAIL.
"My husband and I biked a big portion of this trail last spring, and I hope to return someday. The scenery is beautiful with an abundance of wildlife, flowers, etc."
"I have to admit I was surprised to find such an extensive trail in Columbus, GA. I rode the trail in Spring 2005 starting downtown next to the Synovus HQ. I was under the impression the trail extended further north, but I could not find any evidence of that in person. Riding south, the trail follows the river for the first several miles. I was stopped about 2 miles into my ride beacuse a Civil War re-enactment was under way on and along the river near the Civil War Naval Museum. Once you reach some sort of water treatment plant, the trail turns away from the river, winding through a large field near some oxbow lakes and eventually along a golf course and past a nature center. Finally, you cross into the Army base (Fort Benning) where there are at least 2 museums and lots of fairly quiet roads with some interesting military buildings and attractive neighborhoods to tour around. There did not appear to be any restrictions on who may enter the base on the bike trail. I did not need any ID. Once back in downtown, there were some interesting shops and restaurants to check out.
Overall, a fairly long trail. There could be a number of possibilities for side trips and museums. Not terribly crowded either. "
The SCT is longer but the views along this trail as it winds beside the river are spectacular. Well kept and monitored by cops on bikes it is worth a trip to experience. Newer sections are separated slightly but should be connected in the near future.
"This is a very nice trail, although some of the people who use the trail aren't as sophisticated as one might desire (be sure to announce you are passing on the left and be prepared to use your bell or horn). There are historic markers along the trail, rest stops and a nature center near the Ft. Benning end of the trail that is very interesting and staffed by very friendly folks.
In the downtown area there is a great brew pub, an old book store, a coffee and ice cream shop and a couple of good restaurants. Also, there is an interesting drive-in restaurant in the old bus depot. This is definitely one of the most civilized rides around.
Try it, you'll like it. We've done it at least once each year for the past five years."
"I rode this trail on a Sunday morning and everyone was very pleasant. It was mostly shady which was nice and the hills weren't bad. In a few places the trail was cracked, but other than that I had no complaints. Also, make sure you have a picture ID with you if you want to go so far as the Fort Benning museum. I enjoyed this trail and am planning on coming back."
"In spite of the July heat, we thoroughly enjoyed the ride on the Columbus Riverwalk. It was not too difficult and a pleasant ride. "
"Come ride this trail. It's a good place to get the exercise you need. The hills aren't too bad. It's a lot of fun & check out the museum at Ft Benning. Be careful on thoes curves coming off Ft Benning. They could use more maintenance to get the sand off the trail. The trail can be ridden at night. It's well lighted & policed. We enjoy the river walk.
Also, someone has opened a new water park adjacent to the trail. This is nice."
"This is, for the most part, not a rails-to-trails, so it has more twists and turns and hills than a former rail line would. It is a very fine trail. "
"This trail has expanded considerably. It is now approximately 22 miles long beginning at the River Road Marina and extending through downtown Columbus and on to Fort Benning, ending at the Infantry Museum. It is a lovely trail along the side of the river and if you leave the trail near the historic district you can bike or walk through the streets filled with restored historical homes."
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