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The Ruby Jack Trail runs for 16 miles between Carthage, MO, and the Kansas state line. The trail links the towns of Carthage, Oronogo, and Carl Junction, traversing farmland, wetland, and woodland. The section of trail from the Carthage Trailhead to the 9-mile marker is a smooth, limestone surface suitable for hybrid bikes.
From that point to State Route 171, the trail is unfinished and is suitable for mountain bikers and walkers. Three bridges have been repaired so users can cross creeks safely. A final finished portion of the Ruby Jack starting at SR 171 and going through downtown Carl Junction to the Missouri-Kansas State Line.
An important historical feature of the trail includes an old street car depot in Oronogo; however, much work needs to be done to rehabilitate the building into what managers hope will one day become a trolley museum, community center, and trail-user meeting point.
There are plans to finish the remaining 4.5 miles of trail by 2022.
Park at the northern terminus along Old 66 Boulevard just south of Oak Street. In Carl Junction park near the ball field along Pennell Street.
All in all I think the trail is good. I enjoyed my day and had a good ride. I use a road bike with hybrid tires. Initially I tried to start in Carl Junction at the far west end of the trail which was actually Smithfield on the map. The only way you can ride on that section of it is if you have a mountain bike and there’s nowhere to park however if you go into Carl Junction right by the high school that is a good place to start. County Road 200 has a trail head and a place that you can park and you can go either direction on the trail. From Carl Junction East the trail is P gravel that is packed good with the exception of just a few spots. I saw a total of probably 10 people while I was on the trail mostly just north of Oronogo and Webb City when I was riding otherwise the trail is quite secluded. There is a lot of shade and the trail is fairly wide most of the way it narrows occasionally but you can easily pass people¿ everyone
A friend suggested riding in Joplin so hopped on TrailLink to see what we could find. Ruby Jack sounded interesting and it did not disappoint! Put in at Carl Junction on October 10 and rode to Carthage for about a 25 mile round trip. Cool morning temps helped make this a great trail to explore. I highly recommend giving this a look and have already recommended it to several friends. Just a little over an hour from NW Arkansas so easily reached and lots of food options for post ride nutrition!!! Since I was solo, did not go much past the rough patch going west. Will explore that more in the future!
Very impressive that this trail is kept up by volunteers. Very few loose gravel spots where a hybrid bike can get questionable. Not really much to see, but very few road crossings and you can safely ride from Carthage to Car Junction.
I biked this trail May 26, 2021. Except for about 100 feet of trail at mile point 4.2 (just carry your bike across the railroad tracks and bike to the north edge of the short unfinished section), this is a great trail from about mile point 2.5 all the way to the eastern end in Carthage.
The 2.5 mile section from the state line to near Carl Junction is (currently) only recommended for good bikers on mountain bikes (the gravel is thick in points and the trail is mostly un-cleared of brush).
I did the complete 16 mile trail on my hybrid bike, but I found the western-most 2.5 mile section a bit tricky.
I would recommend biking from the Carthage trailhead to Carl Junction and returning to Carthage. This gives you a nice 25 mile ride.
The Joplin Trails Coalition expects to have the entire 16-mile trail completed by sometime in 2022.
I ride this trail everyday. There is not a ton of people on it so it's really nice. Not a lot of elevation gain. Perfect for people wanting to get into cycling. I can't wait till JTC can link up CJ to Carthage!
We ran a 25k on this trail. Started at Carthage parking lot in the park due to more parking for race participants and entered the trail at trailhead and went to Grant St in Oranogo and back to Carthage. Round trip 15.6 miles. It was small white crushed chat similar to the Frisco Trail in Joplin. Pretty level with only noticeable incline getting on the trail at Carthage Trailhead. A few areas had some grass grown up on the trail but paths were still easy to run thru or ride a bike thru. Scenery past a salvage yard at the start then mostly farm and ranch land. No lose pets. Heard a couple dogs in 2 yards and farm with a loud rooster. Absolutely pleasant Trail experience! If it was paved I would give it a 5. Would love to have a trail similar in our community!!
I started our ride in Carthage with a couple of my grandchildren on mountain bikes. I did not know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. The trail was hard-packed gravel and was very smooth. We only went 3-4 miles west then returned. There are benches set up in several spots to rest. We all enjoyed the ride. I will be using this trail much more often. My wife will also join us on her beach cruiser.
I was there last weekend and rode from CJ to where it basically ends just past CJ heading toward Carthage. I picked my bike up and carried it over the railroad tracks then road a bit further before it became covered in large rocks that you sink into and was so overgrown with weeds it basically didn't exist.
We have just finished resurfacing 2 miles of the Ruby Jack from the Carthage Trail Head to Leggett and Platt. We placed fine gravel over the rough gravel that was there for several years. The trail is holding up well.
There are plans to extend the trail 1.5 miles to the west towards Carl Junction. We should know by the end of the summer of 2016 when this will take place.
This trail has been in the minds of Carl Junction, Oronogo, and Carthage for years. It is actively used by members of the AVA and the local Dogwood Trailblazers walking groups. I enjoy walks from the Oronogo access. From that point eastward to Carthage, the grading and gravel size are smooth, even allowing family members to ride bike comfortably at the same time I am walking. From Oronogo, westward, there is a mile of coarser, loose, larger gravel, older bridges and more overgrown vegetation. This is a section that runs under the nearby Highway 43. The Carl Junction end of the trail has received (is now still in action) a large amount of clearing, grading and new fine gravel application to make it a very strong, attractive portion of the trail. The trail is a good one. It has different character along different portions, but is still being upgraded each year.
I rode this trail July 17, 2015 from Carthage to about 1 mile past Oronogo. The trail is decent, but that last mile was thicker gravel and the tires pretty much sank in. I was using 38's. We rode till the trail was pretty much covered with vegetation. I can't wait till it is finished all the way to Carl Junction. I will be back to ride the whole thing then.
Horrible over grown and gravel was like quick sand. Had to take road the rest of the way! Don't waste your time.
Took out the other day from Kansas side of trail. The start was ok but going through Carl Junction was a beast. Very undeveloped , to much overgrowth of grass and tree limbs and the surface felt like quicksand. I gave it a couple miles and then gave up. Finally just took a paved road for the rest of the ride. I've heard from Carthage west is better so might give it a go. They say there are plans to upgrade but haven't heard or seen anything like that so far. I would love to see this trail finished, there aren't enough in this area so having something this close would be fantastic. There's potential for having a great trail connecting three towns together. And as anyone knows there's not a lot of choices in this area to ride safely. So get it in gear and finish this diamond in the rough.
I rode from Oronogo, MO to Carthage, MO on a cyclocross bike today. No problems at all with it throught the many grade changes. Nice scenery and a beautiful day to see it. Parked near the Oronogo post office and rode north about 1/2 mile to the trail. Seen another fella with a regular road bike with 700x23c tires. Mine are 700x38c hardcase, so the ride was very nice. West of Oronogo toward Carl Junction doesn't have the fine gravel yet, just railroad ballast, but most looked fairly smooth on most parts. Didn't have time to ride that part.
Excellent running/ jogging/walking/biking trail, according to the area websites there is even plans of reviving a train depot.
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