So let’s face it…it’s that time of year. The mix of nippy mornings, sunny and 70 degrees, cold rain, high winds and thunderstorms is upon us. For those of you who aren’t avid, all-season runners, walkers and cyclists, it’s time to inch back into the game on those perfect afternoons.
What’s new since you’ve been gone? My favorite for the season has to be the trail connection at Riverwalk (Piedmont Medical Center Trail) and River Park. Though this work was completed around November of 2015, it’s about to get the first taste of Carolina summer. I suggest heading out before all of the foliage comes in, to really get a great view of the Catawba River and what the developers are calling ‘Upcountry River Vernacular’.
Once you’re brave enough to face your allergy fears, there is really no excuse for not visiting this trail. With access to parking and porta-potties at both ends, as well as plenty of benches and trashcans along the way, all that’s missing is you!
For me personally, I previously preferred running at Riverwalk as a stand-alone trail due to its length. When the connection opened, I quickly learned what I was missing…running on recycled tires, which is of what the River Park trail is comprised. It’s nice…it’s like your shoes are all of a sudden new again! The River Park portion of the trail also has a tighter feel. This is because this section of the trail is much narrower than the 10 foot wide Piedmont Medical Center Trail, and the trees are located closer to the trail as well. It feels a little more like a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat (which it is). It’s rumored that Rock Hill Parks, Recreation & Tourism is going to extend the wide paved trail down to River Park, this would accommodate cyclist a bit better. If they leave the recycled tire section, it will provide another option for walkers and runners.
If you’re already familiar with both of these trails, you know that both Riverwalk and River Park offered down-and-back experiences respectively. The connection not only serves as a longer down-and-back opportunity for runners, walkers and cyclists, but also allows individuals options for launching and recovering kayaks as well. Now that the trial connects under the Norfolk Southern train trestle, one way, the trail is right at 3.3 miles.
Jordache Williams is a resident and local business owner in Rock Hill, SC. His first glance at Rock Hill was obtained while attending Winthrop University near the turn of the 21st century. After an eight-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, he settled down in Rock Hill with his wife Jessica and daughter Gia. He enjoys sharing his local experiences as a way of promoting mental & physical health.