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“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

The Best Bike Trails: Delaware River Heritage Trail (Part 4)

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“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

 

We have finally reached the end of this four-part series. As promised, here is the final set of landmarks to visit during your ride around the Delaware River Heritage Trail.

Elks-Brox Memorial Park

This is another one of the city-owned parks around the area. It features bathrooms, picnic areas and trails. It was built in response to the growing demand for open spaces that, during the Gilded Age between 1880 and 1920, were rapidly disappearing due to settlers.

Erie Railroad Yards

As you cross the West End Bridge along West Main Street, on your left, you will see what remains of the great freight yards of the Delaware Division, which used to sport a total of 75 miles of track. On the horizon is the High Point Monument, a reminder of the honor of New Jeysey’s war veterans. On your right, you will see remnants of the old railroad shops and facilities.

Port Jervis Fire Museum

The Port Jervis Fire Department runs an exhibit of fire memorabilia. The museum can be found at their restored 19th century station on Orange Street. The displays include firefighting equipment and artifacts from as early as the 19th century.

Gillinder Glass

This last place is not really on the trail, but it is still worth checking out. It is one of the oldest American glass companies that are still in operation today. It is located right at the corner of Liberty and Erie Streets, just a couple of blocks from Fort Decker.

Visitors can drop by and watch how the company manufactures its products using the exact same techniques that it used when it first opened more than a century ago. There is also a museum that showcases the rich history of glass making in the region. Finally, there is also a souvenir store for people who want to take home something to remember their visit by.

That is it. We have finally covered all the noteworthy landmarks around the trail. Now you know that you will surely have a worthwhile ride. Not only will it treat you to beautiful views, it will also take you back in time to when the area was still in the process of developing into what it is today.

So, what are you waiting for? Gear up and take your family and friends for a ride around this awesome trail.

Come back again soon for more great bike trails updates.

The Best Bike Trails: Bryce Canyon

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"Queen's Garden trail winding through Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah" by Alaskan Dude

 

Red rock, scenic views, rich forests and meadows—it is easy to see why Bryce Canyon and its surrounding areas are a popular destination for cycling enthusiasts. The trail within the park itself takes you up the Paunsaugunt Plateau, providing an excellent view of the amphitheater’s colorful spires, pinnacles and monuments along the way. But the adventure does not stop here. While you are not allowed to bike outside the paved roads within the park, there are a lot of other nearby trails that you can explore outside of it.

Dave’s Hollow

This double-track trail is perfect for beginners. It provides an easy route from the Bryce Canyon National Park entrance all the way to Tropic Reservoir. The entire loop is 12 miles long and takes you through meadows and Ponderosa Pine forests along the Great Western trail.

Red Canyon

Here is another easy trail. It features a paved road that runs parallel Highway 12. The ride starts at the Red Canyon Visitor Center.

Casto Canyon

If you are looking for some red rock formations, then this is the place for you. It features both single- and double-track trails that pass by the Dixie National Forest’s awesome formations. The trails start and end along Highway 12.

Skunk and Badger

This one is for the more advanced cyclists. It features an 18-mile loop that passes Tropic Reservoir and overlooks Sunset Cliffs.

Thunder Mountain

Here’s another one for the more seasoned riders. The technical singe-track trail consists of steep ridges and tricky hoodoos, and, if that is not challenging enough, there are also loose rocks to worry about.

To make things a bit easier, some riders start at the top of the trail and travels downhill. If you choose this option, your trail will begin at the Coyote Trailhead located at the top of the mountain close to Red Canyon’s east entrance and end at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead right at the bottom of Red Canyon.

Now, if you prefer a slightly longer but still relatively easier ride, then you can simply do a loop. Begin at the bottom of Red Canyon and take the easy Red Canyon Trail all the way to the top of the mountain. Once you’re there, take the Fremont Trail to get to the Coyote Trailhead and make your way down.

Of course, if you don’t like the idea of taking shortcuts, then you can just go up and down the 15.8-mile 3,000-vertical-foot mountain trail and take pride in successfully conquering the most challenging bike trail in the Bryce Canyon area.

“Arches National Park” by Tony Kent

The Best Bike Trails: Arches National Park

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“Arches National Park” by Tony Kent

“Arches National Park” by Tony Kent

 

Arches National Park treats bikers and hikers alike to its majestic collection of colorful natural rock formations. The park’s over 2,000 grand stone arches and hundreds of towering pinnacles, gigantic fins and massive balanced rocks promise a totally breathtaking experience. The paved 22-mile Scenic Drive takes you to all of the park’s major points.

Now, as for the trails, there are four to choose from:

Gemini Bridges

You can reach this trail’s official trailhead by driving 7.2 miles north via Highway 191 from the bridge right above the Colorado River. You can park your car at the large parking lot west of the 135.5 mile marker.

The trail itself is 16 miles long round trip and features a total climb of about 1,500 vertical feet divided into three 500-foot sections. Most beginners who are in good shape should be able to complete the entire trail as it is relatively easy despite its length.

Hurrah Pass

The trail is 9.4 miles long but you can easily make the ride shorter by driving a portion of the road to Kane Spring Canyon. The ride involves a total climb of 1,100 vertical feet but is still a relatively easy trail overall.

Monitor-Merrimac

This trail was named in honor of the Monitor and Merrimac warships that were used during the civil war. It used to be just one big sea of hot sand guarded by aggressive biting flies so a lot of bikers used to stay away from it. Today, however, changes have been made to make the area more biker-friendly so expect a more comfortable riding experience.

The ride is 6.1 miles long and features a total climb of 500 vertical feet. The entire trail consists primarily of single track and open rock.

Slickrock

This world famous 13-mile trail takes bikers on a journey through beautiful sand dunes and eroded ancient sea beds. The amazing views come at a price, however, as the ride is very challenging in terms of the level of fitness and skill necessary to complete it.

The trail’s name can be quite misleading though as the type of sandstone that makes up most of its surface is by no means slick. In fact, it is practically as rough as sandpaper so bikers should have no problems with tire slippage except on rainy days.

The ride is divided into three primary sections: the out-and-back lead-in, the 6.8-mile loop and the optional 2.3-mile practice loop.

“Riverwalk, Wilmington” by Shane Thacker

The Best Bike Trails: River to the Sea Bikeway

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“Riverwalk, Wilmington” by Shane Thacker

“Riverwalk, Wilmington” by Shane Thacker

 

The 11-mile River to the Sea Bikeway, also known as WMPO Bicycle Route 1, features paved and off-road sections that run along the Historic Beach Car Line. The route passes through residential streets, multi-use paths and several arterial roadways.

The ride

The adventure starts at the end of Market Street, which is located at the Riverwalk. You should be able to see the USS North Carolina Battleship right across the Cape Fear River from here. The route then takes you through three beautiful neighborhoods: Old Wilmington, Bottom and Forest Hills. From there, you will cross Independence Boulevard and pass by Empie Park. You will then be taken to South Kerr Avenue via Park Avenue. The bikeway briefly merges with Peachtree Avenue, crosses South College Road and passes Pine Grove Drive along the way before rejoining Park Avenue.

Things get a bit trickier from this point.  As soon as you reach Wallace Avenue, you will be riding through an off-road path all the way to 52nd Street, passing the University of North Carolina along the way via Wood Dale Drive. You will be riding on paved roads again between 52th Street and Hinton Avenue.

The sections beyond Greenville Avenue are the toughest of the trail and are in no way beginner-friendly. So, if you are new to the sport, then this is where you turn back. Wrightsville Avenue and Oleander Drive are very busy arterial roadways that do not have a lot of bicycle facilities. In addition, these sections also cross several bridges.

Access and parking

You can get to the downtown Wilmington trailhead by taking the Wilmington Downtown exit at US Highway 74. Just make your way south via North 3rd Street, turn right at Market Street and travel west until you reach Riverfront Park. You can park in the street or at the Wilmington parking deck located at North 2nd Street and Market Street.

Parking is also available at Empie Park. You can reach it by taking US Highway 76 northbound to Independence Boulevard. Turn right at Park Avenue and left at the park driveway. Just refer to the Route 1 signs for directions to the bikeway from the parking area.

 

Finally, if you want to start your ride at the Wrightsville Beach Trailhead, then just take US Highway 74 and take Salisbury Street once you reach the Salisbury Street-North Lumina Avenue intersection. Street parking is available here but you can also park at Wrightsville Beach’s municipal complex located at the Salisbury Street-Seawater Lane intersection.

“IMG_3141” by neilfein

The Best Bike Trails: Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

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“IMG_3141” by neilfein

“IMG_3141” by neilfein

 

This 84-mile multi-use trail starts at New Haven, Connecticut and stretches all the way to Northampton, Massachusetts. It is made up of three sections: the southern section between New Haven and Plainville, the middle section between Farmington and Suffield, and the northern section between Southwick and Northampton.

The development of the trail is not yet finished. Only 72% of the parts in Connecticut are done and 47% in Massachusetts.

History

The trail used to be a canal. It was constructed in 1825 when a group of businessmen from New Haven decided to push for a project similar to New York’s newly opened Erie Canal. It took a decade to complete and was in operation for twelve years. A rail bed was eventually laid out along its path in response to the growing popularity of railroads as a cost-efficient mode of transportation. The railroad operated for over a century. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by floods during the 1980s. It was never restored partly because of the increasing popularity of trucks and other vehicles as alternative means of transportation at the time.

Rails-to-Trails

In response to the dramatic decline in railroad use, people began exploring the idea of transforming old railroads and canal towpaths into multi-use trails. This eventually led to the formation of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 1984.

In 1987, a group of Hamden and Chershire residents successfully convinced the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) stop the sale of the old canal to private developers and instead rebuild it as a multi-use trail. This group of volunteers later on formed the Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association (FCRTTA), which, to this day, is still actively pushing for the continued development and maintenance of the trail.

The trail’s first six miles officially opened in 1996, with parts of the old canal left intact. In Chershire, only a single canal lock was restored, but it was later on made part of the Lock 12 Historical Park. The park features a museum, several carpenter and blacksmith shops, a picnic area and a lockkeeper’s house.

The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) was established in 1992. Its main objective is to increase public awareness and support of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy projects and facilitate the completion of these projects by coordinating with respective town governments.

The trail today

Thousands of bikers, hikers, runners and skaters visit the completed sections of the trail each day. The picturesque and historic views it provides are among the most loved in the entire New England area.

“Oklahoma City” by peggydavis66

The Best Bike Trails: The Oklahoma River Trail

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“Oklahoma City” by peggydavis66

“Oklahoma City” by peggydavis66

This 13-mile Oklahoma River Trail system, as the name implies, runs along the Oklahoma River (which is technically the North Canadian River). It starts east of downtown Oklahoma City on I-35 and goes all the way to either Meridian Ave. along the south part of the river or Portland Ave. on the north. This trail is perfect for a hybrid bike.

The official trail map shows all the parking areas along the length of the course. Each one provides direct access to the trail but some of them are via dirt/gravel roads. Below is a list of the ones that provide paved access:

• North Side

o Portland
o Robinson
o Beyers

• South Side

o East of Shields
o Skate Park at Robinson
o SW 15th (east of Portland)
o SW 15th (east of Meridian)

Of course, all of the parking areas provide street access as well.

If you want to do a loop from Bricktown, head on over to the river’s north side (found just east of Byers close to the rowing club boathouse) and start your ride there. Once at Robinson, cross the bridge and make your way to Portland along the south side trail. As soon as you reach the parking lot, exit the trail and make your way to 15th Street. Portland is just a quarter of a mile from there. Take the pedestrian walkway to cross over the river and ride for another 50 yards from the end of the bridge. This will bring you to a paved road that leads back to the north side trail. The north side trail will take you back to the rowing club boathouse. This route aims to keep bikers on the Portland bridge’s north-bound side, ultimately keeping them from crossing the busy four-lane Portland road.

On the other hand, if you want to start a loop from the west, then head on over to either the Portland or Meridian parking lot and make your way to the Portland bridge. As soon as you get to the bridge, cross over to the north side, bike the entire length of the trail and make your way to Robinson. Once at Robinson, cross over to the south side. You can head back to your starting point from here.

Now, if you prefer to start your ride from Meridian, then just make you way to the trails’ east end and then ride back to Meridian. This provides a good 20-mile ride.

Despite the length of the loops, the entire trail system is still very easy because it consists of paved roads throughout.

“Medicine Bow Rail Trail” by petecurtis

The Best Bike Trials: Medicine Bow Rail Trail

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“Medicine Bow Rail Trail” by petecurtis

“Medicine Bow Rail Trail” by petecurtis

 

This 21-mile trail is fairly new. It originally formed part of the abandoned Laramie, Hans and Pacific Railroad until it was converted into a multi-use rail trail in 2007. The trail now features five sections.

 

Pelton Creek Trailhead to Vienna Trailhead

This first section is six miles long. The Pelton Creek Trailhead is located at the southern end of the trail. It features pay parking, a picnic table and a restroom. The Vienna Trailhead, on the other hand, does not have the same amenities but is the perfect spot for loading and unloading horses.

The path between the two trailheads consists primarily of small gravel, which provides a relatively easy ride, save for the slight incline and a couple of divots.

Vienna Trailhead to Woods Creek Trailhead

The Woods Creek Trailhead features the exact same amenities as Pelton Creek. It is located five miles from the Vienna Trailhead. The path takes you through a section of the Gramm forest that was destroyed by a forest fire in 2003 but is now slowly recovering.

Woods Creek Trailhead to Lincoln Guch Trailhead

This three-mile section crosses Highway 230. The path between the highway and Fox Park is quite rough but still provides an easy ride. The trailhead features a restroom and gravel parking.

Lincoln Guch Trailhead to Lake Owen Trailhead

The five-mile path between these two trailheads feature a relatively more compacted surface, which makes it the most bike-friendly section of the entire trail. The Lake Owen Trailhead features picnic tables, a restroom, potable water supply and two parking areas. It also has a caboose, an information board, a handicap-accessible hiking trail and campgrounds.

Lake Owen to Dry Park Trailheads

The three-mile ride between these two trailheads features a rather soft gravel path, which is expected to become more compact as more and more people use it. The Dry Park Trailhead has no amenities at the moment, except for a free parking area.

Things to do

Aside from the usual hike or bike ride, you can also drop by the Nici Self Museum for a trip down memory lane as it takes you through the rich history of the Centennial Valley.

The renovated 1872 prison at the Laramie-based Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is also another good place to visit. The site takes you back to the time of the Wild West with its buildings, horse barn theater, 1800s-style baseball games and other special events.

“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

The Best Bike Trails: Delaware River Heritage Trail (Part 2)

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“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

“Delaware River Heritage Trail” by kwesta1a

As promised, here are some more awesome places to check out during your ride around the Delaware River Heritage Trail:

 

Flo-Jean’s Restaurant

 

The lower part of the building used to be a toll house for what was then an old suspension bridge across the Delaware River. The bridge was demolished by an ice gorge just a couple of years after it opened in 1872 but was replaced by a couple of others later on. The current bridge has been in operation since 1939.

 

The other parts of the property used to be called Kirk’s Grove, a popular picnic and concert area back in the day. Today, however, the place is most famous for Flo-Jean’s restaurant.

 

Riverside Park

 

This city-owned park features sports, boating and fishing facilities. Once home to the Erie Railroad, parts of the area remain covered with cinders left behind by steam engines. Other sections of the area used to serve as cattle pens, eventually earning the park the nickname “The Stockyards”.

 

Port Jervis Erie Depot

 

If you head left from the Riverside Park entrance, just across the tracks, you’ll find this huge red brick building topped with a gray roof. Built in 1892, the depot was used for passenger service for over eight decades. It eventually shut down due to the decline of railroad operations but was restored through the combined efforts of the Port Jervis Development Corporation, the Depot Preservation Society and the Minisink Valley Historical Society. It housed a museum from 1989 to 2002. It is now being run by two developers.

 

Sim’s Clip

 

You can view this large ledge in the river from the dike in Riverside Park. “Sim” is short for “Simon Westfall”, the owner of the circa 1740 stone house located just southwest of the ledge in Matamoras, Pennsylvania. It is famous for having served as home to representatives of the Royal Commission of 1769 while they were discussing the termination point of the boundary line between New York and New Jersey.

 

Erie Railroad Main Line

 

The railroad bed along a section of the trail in Riverside Park is still being used by both passenger and freight trains today. It managed to survive the decline of railroad operations caused by the advent of diesel engines and the interstate highway system coupled with the increased usage of trucks for shipping.

 

Let us take a break. Come back soon for the third installment of this series.

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