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As Mississippi’s longest rail-trail and a member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, the Tanglefoot Trail wanders 43.6 miles through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. The trail follows the former railroad line once led by Col. William C. Falkner—the great-grandfather of Nobel-Prize-winning author William Faulkner—in the late 1800s.
Established by Native Americans, the trail was traced by famed explorers Hernando de Soto and Meriwether Lewis and called the King’s Highway after the last Chickasaw King Ishtehotopah, who made his home near the creek where the trail crosses. The route was renamed the Tanglefoot—after one of the train engines—and opened as a rail-trail in 2013.
As the trail winds through three counties—Chickasaw, Pontotoc, and Union—it offers views of mature hardwood forests; trees draped in the vines of kudzu; fields of cotton and soybeans; pastures; and wetlands. Dotted with spots to take refuge from the heat, the trail takes riders over wooden bridges that offer views of waterways and wildlife.
Four “whistle stops”—reminiscent of train depots—serve as trail entrances and tributes to the pathway’s rich history as a railroad. Located in New Houlka, Algoma, Ecru and Ingomar, these trailheads provide restrooms, parking, water fountains, bike racks and picnic tables.
Along the way, the asphalt pathway connects six communities—New Albany, Ecru, Pontotoc, Algoma, New Houlka, and Houston—which offer pleasant places to rest, eat, and shop. Visit the Union County Heritage Museum in quaint New Albany, and just south of town, check out the Ingomar Mounds—a burial area from 100 B.C. to 400 A.D. In Pontotoc, drop by the Town Square Post Office and Museum to learn more about the lives of settlers during the construction of the railroad.
The trail also sits between two historical sites from the life of an iconic American: Elvis Presley. His birthplace of Tupelo is about 20 miles east of the trail, and his Graceland estate is 70 miles northwest in Memphis. The rags-to-riches contrast between the two homes will be of interest to history buffs and rock-n-roll lovers who visit the rail-trail and want to explore the surrounding area.
Parking is available at the three gateway facilities in the largest communities along the route (one at each end of the trail and one in the middle):
The trail also has four “whistle stop” facilities that provide parking, restrooms, water fountains, bike racks and picnic tables:
Loved every bit of our ride except for the blaring radio station at the Pontotoc whistle stop where we stopped for lunch. This was an exceptionally well maintained trail and the well placed whistle stops have clean restrooms, bike tools and water. I highly recommend this ride.
We traveled north from Houlka Whistlestop for about 2 miles. We crossed several downed trees and the whole path looked very much like the surrounding forest floor. 70 mph winds came through the area 10-26. Give them some time to recover their neighborhoods and the trail.
Drove over from AL for a weekend biking trip. Great trail with good scenery and nice rest stops with restrooms, drinking fountains, and even music at one. The little towns that you cycle through are adorable and if you do go into town, you can find food at shops/cafes. We had a nice pre-ride dinner in New Albany, MS at Caio Chow and post-ride treats at Brain Freeze and Sugaree's Bakery. Highly recommend them all. The trails were well-maintained, with well-marked road crossings. There were a few wide cracks to be aware of. Overall, great ride! Will definitely bring our bike club back!
Camping in Trace State Park specifically to ride this trail. Biked from Ecru north to New Albany and returned. We’ve bike about 2000 miles on rail trails the past two years and this may be the best. Flat, smooth and nicely shaded in the morning. New Albany has several nice restaurants and bakeries. Nice water/bathroom stops. Plan to try Ecru south tomorrow. Maybe a little earlier as the afternoon temps are in the high nineties this week.
My wife and I rode from New Albany to Ecru this past weekend (23 ish miles round trip). It was a very scenic and easy ride with very slight changes in elevation. The frozen yogurt shop at the trailhead is highly recommended.
We rode this trail for the first time over the July 4th weekend. It was hot, but the trail is simply awesome. And the best part was the lovely folks at Ingomar United Methodist Church leave a cooler with ice and bottles of water iand even small candy bars right on one of the picnic tables at the whistle stop across from the church. While we were resting and thoroughly enjoy the ice cold water, one of the church members came by to clean up and replenish. We had the nicest conversation. Just made for a great day. Thanks Ingomar UMC. We left money but that is not at all necessary.
I live roughly an hour away from the Tanglefoot trail. It's the go-to trail for my daughter and I (and sometimes my wife). We've ridden it in all seasons.
Neither my daughter or I are super-bike people. We have heavy, cheap mountain bikes. We ride a while, walk a while, sit at the rest stops, look at the scenery, and spend a lot of time talking.
We ride out and back loops that are usually 10 miles out, eat lunch, and 10 miles back.
Here are some descriptions:
New Hulka to Huston and back. Low rolling hills for the most part. A little past half way there is a long bridge over a creek(s) with a rest stop in the middle (although the rest stop was damaged and I'm not sure if it has been repaired). We like to stop and walk along the bridge looking at the water and wildlife. Right at the end (really the beginning) of the trail in Huston, it goes over a street. There is a gravel trail going left down the embankment toward down town. We go down a few blocks and to the left to a restaurant called "No Way Jose" (Mexican) and have a leisurely lunch before riding back.
New Hulka to Algoma and back. Small rolling hills with lots of farms. Just before you get to Algoma there is a big sheep farm. Algoma is a country gas station that serves lunch (maybe breakfast too). It's slightly better than average gas station food and as a vega-terian-whole plant food kind of person I can usually find something to eat that sort of resembles my usual diet (I believe in a whole food plant based diet, but I'm not an all or nothing kind of person). It you are not vegan/vegetarian there are lots of choices of fried, baked, or barbecued stuff. You can eat inside or sit out back at the pavilion. They even have a porch kind of swing hanging from a tree limb.
Algoma to Pontotoc and back. This is about 7 miles out and back. Just as you get close to Pontotoc there is a bank with groundhogs or related critters. From the Pontotoc trail head we take a left, go up the steep hill and several block over to HW 15 where there is a restaurant called Spuds.
Ingomar to Pontotoc and back. Ingomar is really just a community - not really a town. I haven't seen any stores near there, but the local church does leave a cooler full of bottled water in the summer. This is a about 5 or 6 miles to Pontotoc, so it's short ride. Nice flat open fields 2/3rds of the way. Right under HW 6 there is a long bridge where two creeks meet and then a very long hill going into Pontotoc. We ride toward Pontotoc so we can rest during lunch and coast the first part of the trip back. At the top of the hill in Pontotoc we take a right, cross 15 and go to a Mexican restaurant over there. They have a buffet for lunch on Saturday. There is also a Waffle House close there as well.
Ecru to Pontotoc and back. Ecru has restaurants and stores, but we always use it as a starting point so we have never eaten at any of them. This just extends this ride to roughly a 20 mile out and back. It is longer if you ride through Pontotoc all the way to the trail head, but we never have.
Ecru to New Albany and back. This section is slightly over 10 miles. Still rolling hills, but they are taller and longer. Several creeks to cross over, open fields, and other scenic stuff. At the end/top of the trail in New Albany there is a coffee shop and ice cream shop right on the trail. There are bike racks right there as well. We loved the Bank Head Bicycle Club for lunch, but it closed. We haven't found another favorite place close to the trail head yet.
Rode February 2019 from Algoma to New Houlka and back. Liked it so much I did it again right away! Good pavement, well-maintained, charming rustic southern scenery, 'Whistle Stop' rest areas with all-season drinking water and bathrooms with plumbing, further rest areas with benches in between. If you like to go fast on a road bike, plenty of opportunity on this one. Plenty to see for nature lovers as well. Happened on this one by accident and it instantly became one of my favorite trails! The stretch from Algoma to New Houlka is unbelievably flat and straight. I'll be back for this one.
me and grandson rode from new houlka to algoma this past sunday we really enyoued it
This past Saturday I rode from Houston to New Albany and back. This was my first ride on the trail in 3 years. The trail is much improved with more covered rest stops and new whistle stops (Pontotoc and Houston). I especially enjoyed the park at Pontotoc with the music playing. Lots of security patrols - one even stopped to check on me as I rested in Pontotoc. He sat and talked with me while I drank a cold water from his cooler and told me about his experiences on the trail.
The bridges are still a little rough but not as bad as I remembered. One has been paved over and is as smooth as the rest of the trace. Another is paved but still very rough. I did get chased by 4 large barking dogs but they looked much more menacing than they were - no biting.
This is a wonderful place to ride. It may be better than my home rails-to-trails, the Long Leaf Trace, that I ride on every day and love.
My brother and I do nothing but rails to trails. We have done at least 10 different ones and this is our favorite. Though it's a 5 hour drive, we go at least twice a year. Trail is incredible, SHADY, well maintained, and each trailhead has a great restroom and some type of restaurant. They even have tire repair stations for flats . This is a FIRST CLASS trail.
It's Memorial Day 2018 and I'm sitting here in the brand spanking new Whistle Stop in Houston. Finally! Years in the making. Much appreciated. It's great and huge, as Whistle Stops go. And nearby there's also a large shelter.
I used to not really want to come here because there was no place to take a break. Now, as the Glen Campbell song said, Houston, I'm coming to see you. No more saying, Houston, we have a problem.
Made trip from Fl. to Ms and Al to do 3 trails. This trail was great, smooth pavement clean restrooms at the "Whistle Stops" Several cute towns along the way, not many restaurants close to the trail until New Albany. We spent several days and did round trips, safe parking at each site, got warm later in day but had a lot of shade. We used the Library in New Albany for parking our last day, very friendly and helpful staff. Nice bridge over the street to the end in downtown New Albany, outside courtyard with tables but the shops and restaurants closed the day we were there. Trail was worth the trip and I would put it on anyone's bucket list.
I spent 2 days of a planned 5 day trip on this trail. Day 1 started from the Houston, MS end and found this end of the trail poorly maintained for about 10 miles-there were branches and dead limbs everywhere. At about mile 6 or 7 I had 2 aggresive dogs chase me from a house adjacent to the trail. I continued on and after 10miles found the scenery and ride pleasant. On day 2, I started from New Albany and rode down. Beautiful and peaceful ride esp through Pontotoc which had a nice rest area. When i got to mile 18, I had 2 really nasty dogs chase me to the point where I was frightened. I went down to mile 15 and had 2 more dogs barking threateningly from a yard. I was afraid to ride back until one of the trail patrols came by. When I explained what happened he offered to ride me back through those areas and told me has complained about the dogs @ 18mile mark before. If you want people to use this trail it needs to be safe and dogs in the area should be pinned up or leashed. I won't be back to this rail trail!
started from the northern end and only covered 18 miles, cool and windy ( 45* and SE at 10-15).
VERY nice trail ( along with the longleaf). nice to see that its been around for awhile. great stops just about every 10 miles or less, you're never away from support if you should need it .
Only complaint is the wooden bridges, if you're cranking along at a good speed , they can rattle your ride. I've been on worse, and if this is the only complaint- well we're not doing bad. I will definitely be back again- superb ride.
Ride on 4/1/17. Great trail...but the wooden bridges are a little rough.
Our second time on the Tanglefoot trail found many improvements! The gateway at Ponotoc has restrooms, picnic tables under cover, beautiful landscaping to make this a first class Trail Head.
Parking just to the north as before.
New Albany gateway now all paved with many restaurants nearby.
Whistle Stops along the trail ideal for recreational riders to ride all the sections of the trail over several says.
Just a fantastic trail ride , always lots of folks riding and almost always meet a deputy patrolling.
Drove from Chattanooga to Houston, MS and biked to New Albany, stayed at nearby Hampton Inn and road back yesterday. The Houston Trailhead is not finished and the Sheriffs department discourages overnight parking. Thus, we parked at a nearby grocery store which had a big back lot with permission. The trail is very well maintained, and is flat. It goes through rural northeast Ms. passing through a few towns. In the 43.6 miles on Sunday we passed 8-10 bikers and about the same number of walkers. On our way back Monday 2 or 3 bikers and walkers, so we had the trail to ourselves on sunny 60 degree days. Some wild life, farm animals, open fields and long tree lined sections. Not spectacular but a very pleasant peaceful ride.
Wonderful experience. Great trail. Rest stops, bathrooms, stores, diners everything! I'm already looking forward to a return trip.
Beautiful scenery rolling past woods and open fields. Nice rest stops with restrooms and water every 6-8 miles, travels through several lovely towns with snack/meals options available. Great lunch @ Fat Lueys in New Albany at the turn around. Trail is fairly flat, suitable for all rising levels.
We usually ride out from the New Albany trail head at the north end of the Tanglefoot Trail. Nice, easy trail to ride, level and well-maintained. There's several good shops near the New Albany trail head, notably Trails-n-Treads Bike Shop, AC's Coffee Shop and the Sweet Frog frozen yogurt & iced cream shop. There's a number of whistle stops along the trail every 6 - 8 miles, with picnic tables, bike racks, lavatories and drinking fountains.
Lots of hardwood trees and farm fields adjacent to the trail, very scenic.
The trail is 43.6 miles from New Albany in the north, through Pontotoc in the middle and down to Houston at the south trail head. Enjoy your ride along the Tanglefoot Trail in north Mississippi!
My husband and I rode half of the trail out and back last week starting in New Albany. Great trail. Well kept and very clean. Love how the trail supporters were recognized on markers along the way. We stayed at the Bridges-Hall Manor (a trail supporter)in Houston that night. What a delight! Don't miss staying there if you are in the area. Hostess Carol is great and breakfast is yummy!
My brother-in-law and I rode Houston to New Albany and back on Sunday, September 20, 2015. I found the trail to be just as much fun as the Long Leaf Trace for riding. There is not as much scenery if you want to sightsee on your ride, but I found it to be outstanding. Whistle stops were great, and there are stores and eateries within view along the trail if needed.
We met many locals out enjoying the trail, and all were friendly and eager to tell us about the area.
One minor complaint is the roughness of the bridges. Man, there are a lot of bridges. The wood decking was so uneven that it was impossible to find a comfortable way to cross them. One had some steel decking over the wood - it was the worst. I'm sure building so many bridges was a huge expense in the budget.
I also felt that overall the trail was flatter than the Long Leaf which might make it easier for recreational riders, like me.
I loved it. I will be back.
My wife and I rode from the trailhead in New Albany to Pontotoc 9/19/15. Plenty of parking was available. The surface of the trail was fantastic, the right of ways very well kept, all the facilities were clean. After two years you can tell the trail if being well cared for. There were several other riders, joggers and walkers, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The grades are so gradual that even inexperienced riders should have no trouble at all. We happened to be in Pontotoc during Bodock festival which was a nice diversion. On the return trip we stopped in Ecru and McCoy's grocery which was a block off the trail and a great place to stock up on water and snacks. There are plenty of places to stop and rest and the shady spots made for a very enjoyable ride. All together we did 39 miles, made a day of it, and had a great time.
Road the trail from New Houlka to the southern terminus on Monday, September 14, 2015. I like this trail because of the long, flat straight shots and the good condition of the trail surface. I ride mostly for exercise purposes and the Tanglefoot Trail fills the bill very well. I would not say there is a lot of special scenery to view and for that reason my wife is somewhat indifferent about this trail. The Longleaf Trace in Hattiesburg is a better trail for sight seeing purposes.
After just learning online about a month ago that the Tanglefoot Trail even existed, I made the 90 minute drive from Memphis, TN to the northern starting point of the trail in New Albany, MS about 3 weeks ago. I have a mountain bike and a commuter/fitness bike. I opted to bring the commuter/fitness bike to do the ride due to the bike's lighter weight, smaller tires, less rolling resistance, and better ability of more easily handling pavement-only riding.
I'm accustomed to riding the much-acclaimed Greenline in Memphis, and while I continue to thoroughly enjoy riding our local Greenline, I must say the Tanglefoot Trail is simply wonderful... another step up from the Greenline in all respects.
Since the trail sits where a railroad used to run, the grade (from memory) is generally no more than 1% up/down throughout the 43.6 miles of trail. Very easy riding w/that in mind if you're not into tackling a bunch of steep hills.
I found the Whistle Stops (rest areas) to be adequately-placed about every 10 miles along the trail, so I never had any great fear of running out of water (I carry 2 water bottles) or needing a restroom break and not having one fairly nearby. The Whistle Stops were all very clean, the water fountains worked, and the one restroom I visited was clean and had all needed amenities/supplies. There were other bikers at most of the Whistle Stops and everyone was very congenial. Most people I chatted with while catching my breath and refilling my water bottles seemed to live in the immediate area and were riding a portion of the trail from their nearby homes and said they could access the trail from a mere blocks from where most of them lived.
Where I began my ride in New Albany was a very quaint place... nice downtown area with numerous stores and several coffee shops and even a bike shop right at the trail entrance.
When you arrive 43.6 miles later to the southern point (Houston, MS) where the trail begins/ends, there's literally nothing there. Not an exaggeration. There's literally... nothing... there. The trail just ends at a street and there you are. No businesses/restaurants/stores were nearby that I could see, nor much of an area for many/any cars to park, etc. I'm just saying that as to prepare you if you ride to Houston and expect there to be much to see/do when you get to that spot on the trail.
In-between the Whistle Stops are several other covered wooden structures that just have either benches or in some cases, picnic tables. These were helpful as well if I had plenty of water still and didn't need to make a restroom stop, but just wanted to pull off the trail and sit in the shade for a few min. before continuing on with my ride.
The trail was overall very clear of debris/twigs/limbs, which was nice as far as not feeling like I had to constantly be avoiding things on the road. I was able to just point the bike down the road and ride. There was one spot that maybe lasted for 20 feet that had recently been worked on and just had gravel there... looked like it was being prepared for repaving very soon. No big deal.
Estimates are that about 75% of the trail is shaded, and I'd agree with that. You could definitely tell a difference in the temperature between the shaded/unshaded areas.
A word of caution to those that attempt to ride the entire trail from start to finish and back, which is just under 88 miles in length... be sure you are physically-fit enough to do this. I began my ride in New Albany at 7 a.m. and made it to the southern part of the trail in Houston 3 hours later at 10 a.m. I was averaging about 14-15 mph. On the way back, the effects of the sun being out in fuller force and the temperature/heat index rising slowed me down and I was taking much more frequent breaks and questioning whether or not I should have opted for riding the entire length of the trail from New Albany to Houston and back to New Albany. I think the round-trip would've been a breeze had it have been in the upper 60s or 70s temperature-wise, but the heat really started wearing on me on the return trip. Took me 5.5 hours on the ride back to New Albany from Houston. Just be careful and don't bite off more than you can chew.
Safety: I really never had a single moment where I felt even remotely unsafe along my ride. The trail goes through lots of farm land, goes by/near several downtown areas in the small towns you pass through along the ride, goes by residential areas along the way, and has a great mixture of scenery to enjoy. When I stopped at the covered shelters and Whistle Stops along my ride, especially on the return trip back to my car, I actually laid down on top of the picnic tables many times as to cool down and pour some of my drinking water on my head and shirt since the heat was becoming more oppressive on the return trip. Numerous people, as they were coming down the trail, always called out to me as they were approaching where I was stopped and asked to make sure I was o.k., obviously since I was laying completely on the tops of the picnic tables. Ha! I felt like any of them would've offered to assist me in any way possible if I had voiced that I felt like I needed some sort of assistance. I encountered some very nice people along my ride.
One part of the trail was especially humorous, as I had to slow-down and figure out what several cows and goats laying on the path were going to do... continue to lay there and make me have to go around them, or move aside as I continued to get nearer to them as to allow me to pass. No issues either way coming/going. Both times, as I got closer to them, the animals ambled to their feet and slowly moved off the trail and I passed without issue. They seem used to doing that. Ha!
I'd estimate I met/passed maybe 125 people either running / biking / in golf carts on the trail total. I encountered more people earlier in my ride than I did on the return trip. I think that was due to the intense heat the area was experiencing later in the day and people had the sense to not be out in the heat on the trail, unlike myself.
Parking in New Albany: I opted to park in a huge parking lot beside the library in New Albany at the beginning of my ride. I felt that my car was very safe there and I had no qualms about leaving it there.
There are several wooden bridges along the trail that offer great scenery as you're going over them. The bridges ARE a little bouncy especially if you're on a bike with thinner tires like I was and a bike also with no suspension, but the trek over the bridges isn't by any means going to rattle your teeth out of your head. If you have front (and possibly rear) suspension on your bike and/or fatter tires, the wooden bridges are going to be less of a bumpy issue to you when riding over them.
Several local people that I talked to at the Whistle Stops all mentioned what a great asset this trail has become to numerous towns that it passes through. They all echoed that some people in each of the towns initially opposed the construction of the trail and felt that it wouldn't lend anything positive to the areas or that it would just invite crime and vandalism to the areas surrounding the trail. All of the people I spoke to commented that the naysayers have been very quiet since the trail has been open, as there have been very few incidents/problems associated with the trail at all.
There are numerous roads that you have to cross when riding the trail... actually quite a few. However, my experience on the Saturday that I rode the trail is that I maybe had to yield at the various crossings for vehicles 4 times altogether. Many of the crossings are over farm access points that I would think rarely have any traffic coming over them... crossings meant to get you from one section of an individual's farm over to the other section across the trail. I would venture to guess you rarely encounter any vehicular or farm equipment traffic at these crossings at all, so they were sort of a non-issue to me.
The pavement as a whole was in extremely good condition from start to finish. Aside from the one 20-foot section of gravel I encountered, I don't recall encountering any other part of the trail that was in need of repair, bumpy, or had tree roots trying to uproot the blacktop. Very well-maintained.
I met/passed several security people riding golf carts along the trail... maybe 3-4 different times during my ride, so the trail does seem to have a few sets of eyes/ears monitoring what's going on on it.
Food Stops: You'll encounter a few convenience stores along the way that you can ride maybe a block away from the trail to if needed if you need additional snacks or assistance. Other than that, Pontotoc is about the only place I can remember along the trail where there's a restaurant or two within a few blocks if you need a full meal as opposed to just a snack.
I can't recommend this trail highly enough. It was well worth the drive from Memphis there to ride it. I'll do it again without a doubt, but maybe the next time around once the weather's a little cooler.
What a gem to that area of Mississippi this trail is! Go check it out!
We received the email about Tanglefoot's trail of the month honor just days before we were to depart with our son to Ole Miss from Georgia. We loaded the bikes and after dropping him at Oxford we came back the 35 miles to Pontotoc. We planned an overnight ride to New Albany and back the following morning. Very peaceful and relaxing 17 plus miles up and back through rural Mississippi farmland . Did not see one person on the entire route which we did in a leisurely 4 hours stopping in Ecru for lunch among several others stops at the well done Whistle Stops and Rest Areas. Hampton Inn in New Albany has a 'Bike and Ride' rate that includes Taxi service to and from the trailhead in New Albany. V and A Transportation was awesome .. nice bike rack and knowledgeable (662) 507-9350. we called them directly and the Hampton paid him. Looking forward to the Pontotoc to Houston run soon!
I have family that live in Houston, MS, so when we travel home, I always make a point to ride this trail. I love cycling, but far from an expert. This trail offers gorgeous scenic views, while riding over a smoothly paved surface. Along the trail, one will encounter small towns that offer whistle stops accommodating restrooms, water stations, rest area, and picnic tables. Once you have found your relief, you can hit the trail again or adventure around the towns. The people I have met along the trail have been very friendly and helpful, but don't think it's too crowded. The trail tends to be fairly open so you won't have to worry about cyclist dodging you, or you dodging others. So if you are just wanting to get out for a pleasant and peaceful ride, or would like to get some series training in, you should check out this trail. I highly recommend for all levels of riding. Enjoy!
Rode the whole way!
A link below is from the Tanglefoot Trail website. It contains quite a bit of detail, including references to the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio RR which was mentioned in comments regarding history. Scroll through information to find more detail about railroad history as was mentioned in a previous review. It is included in this section of the website.
On a recent road trip between Western Illinois and Mobile, I detoured to check out the Tanglefoot Trail. Because of rain, I was only able to do New Albany to Ecru and back. In my opinion it is outstanding, the scenery a mixture of dense woods, attractive farms, and swampland.
But I would like to point out an historical mistake in the description. Although Col. Falkner was involved, the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad (G&SI) was not. the G&SI ran between Gulfport and Jackson, MS, with a few other branches. Perhaps your historian confused the G&SI with the Ripley, Ship Island and Kentucky RR, from which the RR in question evolved. Or confused Jackson, MS with Jackson, TN, which was the northern terminus of the Gulf, Mobile, and Northern (GM&N), a later successor.
Any mention of the origins of the Tanglefoot should mention the the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio RR (GM&O), which was formed by the merger of the GM&N and Mobile and Ohio in 1940, and owned the line in question for approximately 35 years. It ultimately stretched between Mobile, New Orleans, and Montgomery to Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. It merged with the Illinois Central during the mid-70's to form the Illinois Central Gulf (ICG). It was at this point that the ICG began selling off and abandoning almost all of the former GM&O, including what became the Tanglefoot Trail.
The GM&N and later GM&O's main claim to fame was the Little Rebel which ran first from Jackson, TN and later St. Louis to Mobile and New Orleans. It was the South's first streamline passenger train, resembling somewhat the more famous Burlington Zephyr.
I do lots of Handcycling due to me being Paraplegic. I have been going to the Long Leaf Trail in Hattiesburg, MS. On March 16, 2015 I met a friend from Moss Point, MS who is Paraplegic also at the Long Leaf Trail as we been HandCycling many years there. We rode our bikes 50 miles and decided to drive back to Tupelo to where i live and stay the nite and ride the TangleFoot Trail the next day. We went to New Albany to start on the trail as it being our 1st time to ride our HandCycles on the Tanglefoot. We both were well pleased riding 50 miles on a very scenic view going thru several towns and also stopping at the water fountains and talking to many there. The TangleFoot Trail turned out to be Very Nice on our HandCycles and we certainly intend to keep riding on it much more now.
Rode this trail in mid-October. Congratulations to the state of MS for yet another great trail. This trail is similar to the Longleaf Trace trail in length and lack of hills.
Tanglefoot trail is straight, well maintained with clearly marked mile markers. The "whistle stops" are clean. The trail lacks a gateway type trailhead similar to the Longleaf Trace trail and there needs to be direction signs along MS highway 15 to indicate where to access the trailheads.
New Albany, MS is a delightful town with cafes and shops to explore. Pontotoc, MS, the center point of the trai,l has an reemerging downtown with shops and eateries. Both New Albany and Pontotoc have bicycle shops with the Pontotoc shop, Hill and Trail, providing a rescue service for bicyclists who develop problems with their bike along the entire length of the trail. This is a unique and welcomed feature for this trail.
Lodging along the trail is sparse. I stayed in Pontotoc at the Days Inn. The proprietors are bicyclist friendly and the room rates reasonable. If you are looking for a nice getaway while riding this trail and exploring the area consider the Happy Trail B&B in Pontotoc. The B&B is a separate well appointed cottage located on the trail. The B&B is owned and managed by Pastor and Mrs. Sims.
I hope to return to Pontotoc in a couple of years to once again ride the trail, check-in with the friendly folks at the Hill and Trail bicycle shop and enjoy both the trail and the kind folks in this part of Mississippi.
Wow, this trail in Mississippi was a wonderful surprise. My husband and I rode from Houston to New Albany and back in a day, a long ride, but possible given this trail's well-maintained, smooth, asphalt surface and minimal grade. We encountered one vehicle blowing leaves off the trail and multiple sherrif's patrolmen in golf carts riding up and down the trail. Trail had numerous "whistle stops" with rest rooms, picnic tables, and water fountains along the way, plus a couple of small-town stores to grab a snack or beverage. The highlight was the adorable downtown in New Albany, where we bought some wonderful baked goods at a unique and fantastic bakery, Sugaree's. Enjoying these treats made any pain we may have felt on this long ride totally worth it. We can recommend this trail to anyone; even if you only ride a portion of it, you are sure to have a fine experience. Kudos to Mississippi for taking such good care of this treasure!
Rode a portion of this trail in May during a multi state bicycling vacation. Plan to return and stay a couple of days in Pontotoc and finish the trail. Very flat and asphalt fast with a lot of rural scenery and small quaint towns.
Started at the Houston end and rode the first 10 miles before turning back. Really enjoyable. Less hills than I expected for the area. Will definitely return when we have more time to ride the remaining portion!!
Last weekend, my son (age 21) and I (age 48) completed the Tanglefoot from New Albany to Houston and back to New Albany (NA) in two days. We are both novice distance “cyclist” and rode hybrid bikes. The trail was AWESOME! Even in the 100 degree weather, we stayed cool with the breeze and because the trail is approximately 65% shaded. Plenty of stops along the way, security was present at multiple locations and all of the people we met were very friendly and helpful.
We started, 8:30, at the NA trailhead and were allowed to park our vehicle overnight at the lower library parking lot, west of the trestle off Main St. Our first stop was the Algoma general store, a traditional country store, Mile 20. We re-fueled with cold Gatorade and glared at the “cat head” biscuits. We continued to New Houlka, Mile 10, and passed a burger joint/shed adjacent to the trail that other riders said was very good. The arrival at the Houston trailhead was a little disappointing compared to NA’s. Our plan was to eat lunch in Houston and after 2 lefts (at trailhead and MLK (the first left a block down) we ran into “My Friends Place”, good food and company. Fast food is available just north of the court house which can be seen east of the trail. We made our reservation at the Day’s Inn in Pontotoc, 4:30. Your typical roadside motel, nothing elegant and the pool is closed, but the clerks were very nice and helpful; after 73 miles, who cared! With no recommend options for supper, we walked north from the motel about ¾ miles to eat at Mi Pueblo. Great steak and shrimp for only $12 but no adult beverages. The ride back to NA was great being downhill most of the way.
My wife and I drove over from Tupelo, MS to New Albany in search of the Tanglewood Trail. After a few twists and turns we ended up in the parking lot of the Union County library. My wife had some misgivings about whether or not the trail would be too steep or difficult for her to ride. The July ride was pleasantly nice with temp's in the mid-eighties and low humidity, believe it or not. We crusied into the Whistle Stop in Ingomar and used the facilities, rested a moment and then took off for Ecru. We met sheriff's patrols in both Union and Pontotoc counties just like some of the other reviewers had commented on. Everyone we met was very friendly and the trail was well maintained and a pleasure to ride. After another stop at the Whistle Stop in Ecru for a small snack, we turned around and headed North for our return trip to New Albany. Back in New Albany we visited several nice shops, including Sugaree's Bakery and Tires and Treads Bike shop. After a lunch recommendation for George's Chicken right off Hwy 15 going toward Pontotoc, we continued toward Pontotoc in search of Hill & Trail Bicycle Company. After three stops to get directions we finally found the shop. Ben Hill and his wife were very helpful and cordial. Since it was a few days after my wife's birthday and since she has been struggling with a steel frame bike for several years - a new Cannondale bike was just the ticket to end a wonderful day on a great trail. Come try it and support the businesses along the way.
Our riding group went over to Mississippi from Atlanta in Mid June. There were 12 of us. We began in New Albany early Saturday Morning and rode to Houston. We easily arrived by early afternoon. The Tanglefoot Trail is just about as straight as a trail can get and is very flat. There are rest stops every ten miles and small towns to explore. This is farm country and we rode through fields of growing plants and herds of cattle and sheep. The trail is well maintained. We even passed a sweeping machine. The people on both ends and along the trail could not have been nicer. They were all so pleased that we had driven over from Atlanta to ride their trail. When in Houston be sure to eat at Mikes. Good home cooking.
We rode back on Sunday. We left at 0800 and arrived back in New Albany around noon.
We divided the trail into 2 days of riding. We started at the Algoma Whistle Stop and went to Houston and back our first day. The second day we started at New Albany and rode to Algoma and back. Each day we explored the towns along the trail. This trail can be ridden by anyone, it's paved and flat. The whistle stops are space about 6 miles apart and there are a few benches along the way. It was fabulous!
A group of 16 of us from Huntsville rode Tanglefoot Trail, staying in Pontotoc, the middle of the trail and riding the trail in two days, back & forth to New Albany the first day and to Houston the 2nd day. Everyone arrived at the "luxurious" Days Inn in Pontotoc, MS Thursday June 5 without any mishap, where we proceeded to organize ourselves for the first part of the ride (all the way to New Albany and back - 35 miles). The trail was just across the road from Days Inn so our location was ideal. Going at our own individual pace, we all made it to New Albany for lunch. A pleasant little town with quaint shops, a beautiful courthouse and real trains. Had lunch at Fat Lueyis, a good & tasty stop. We browsed a bit around town and then headed back to Pontotoc. After taking refreshing showers with rusty water, we were ready for dinner. We would have enjoyed a dip in the pool, but it was closed for renovation. We had a very nice dinner at Kirk's Grill, just down the road from Days Inn. Everyone we met in Mississippi, could not have been kinder, and the hospitality was very southern.
Next morning, Friday June 6 (D Day), with the sun shining, we headed to Houston (25 miles one way). Some of us opted to go only one way, and a few brave, strong souls did the round trip to retrieve cars and pick up the rest of us resting at a tea house in Houston. The tea house that we had lunch in was "My Friend's Place". It is also a charming gift shop and we highly recommend the food - very fresh - and the best scones, freshly baked. The owner was extremely kind and accommodating. Some of us walked down the Main Street to the courthouse, a beautiful building.
While most of us headed back to Huntsville, some of the group went on to Clarksdale (94 miles west) to spend the evening listening to Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Delta Blues.
Started in New Albany to Houston, the nicest people around, they were so helpful and thanked us for coming to visit. We ate at Boondocks, great southern cooking. We will return to this trail.
This trail opened in October 2013. It has great pavement and various scenery - farmland, forest, small communities and small cities. I rode from New Albany to Pontotoc and back. Lunch in downtown Pontotoc was a treat. It is worth climbing the hill to get there - lots of choices. People and drivers were courteous and considerate of trail-users.
Rode the entire trail both ways and it was great. It was worth the 1600 mile drive from Montana to visit and ride this trail. The trail has a nice mix of forest and farmland scenery. Hopefully, I can time my next visit at a time of year when there are leaves on the trees.
Rode the trail in two segments in the last ten days. I started in New Albany staying the prior night at Hampton Inn there. Ate at McAlister's Deli and parked below the Library in that parking lot. A new bicycle shop has been opened at the northern terminus at E Bankhead Street. The town has good character. I rode to Algoma and back which is around 50 miles round trip. I had contacted and met Don Locke (Trail Manager) in Pontotoc. Very nice fellow and they have a good plan on where to take the trail. I ate supper at a great restaurant George's (hamburgers and fried chicken) in New Albany! My second section began today at Houston, MS. The TH has Trail Parking off W Church Street and is in what appears to be an older industrial area. This section was very visually appealing! Much farm land with livestock grazing. Good odors of farms. I ran into a Pontotoc Sheriff (Officer Jordan) who was patrolling the trail in their county. Nice fellow with an abundance of information. Shared a Sydnei's Restaurant but I did not get to it until post lunch and it was closed. Just an all around better segment. I felt safer knowing that the trail is patrolled by police. Also saw a GM&O Tanglefoot Trail Group riding up the trail.
I've casually biked two segments of Tanglefoot Trail, and it's fantastic. It's a mostly level trail through mostly rural areas, and sparsely used because of the sparse population and relatively meager tourism support businesses in the immediate area. Look for the latter to grow along with increased trail use by folks willing to travel for a 44.24 mile long pristine trail.
Good road biking trail not much elevation change. The Tanglefoot is paved so it's great for road biking and running. Plenty of country and scenic vistas to see along the way. The trail has plenty of rest areas and the asphalt surface is new and in great condition. The southern portion of the trail from Pontotoc to Houston runs through some nice forests and shaded much of the way. Take water, lunch and enjoy....
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