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Rome's Ridge Ferry Trail links two paths at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers, where these two waterways meet to form the Coosa River. Paved promenades line both sides of the Oostanaula, and a railroad trestle overlooking the confluence has been converted into a pedestrian bridge. It forms the bottom curve of this U-shaped trail. The trail is also part of the city's connected ECO Greenway trail system, spanning 16 miles.
Start your trek by heading down to Unity Point, east of the pedestrian bridge, for views of the layered pathways and gardens and the rivers below. From the west side of the bridge the trail winds about 2 miles along the Oostanaula. While it ends amid a rather dull residential district, the return trip offers beautiful views of the tree-lined river and historic brick buildings in downtown Rome.
Sail past your starting point and skirt the east bank of the Oostanaula for even more trailside gems. This route saunters along the river, offering scenic lookouts and several diversions. You'll wander through wooded stretches and pleasant parks and pass baseball fields, volleyball courts, playgrounds, a boat dock and a fishing area.
Just north of Ridge Ferry Park, a spur trail leads to the Chieftains Museum, a National Historic Landmark that highlights the culture and heritage of the Cherokee Indians. Follow the spur to Riverside Parkway; the museum is on a corner across the street.
The onward trail emerges at State Mutual Stadium. If your timing is good, you might be able to catch nine innings with the Rome Braves, a minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
Rome is in northwest Georgia, west of I-75. To reach Heritage Park, take GA 20 to Second Avenue; head south and turn right on Broad Street. You'll find parking one block down on the right.
The State Mutual Stadium, another trailhead, is at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Highway and Riverside Parkway.
Parking is available in many other places throughout town; see trail map for more options.
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