As walking paths go, Rock Hill's Riverwalk Trail is 2 ¼ miles of easy exercising with a little something extra - scenic views of the Catawba River.
Recently renamed the Piedmont Medical Center Trail, this 10-foot wide asphalt path was the first recreational amenity built in the Rock Hill Outdoor Center, a 250-acre playground focusing on cycling activities. In my next blog, I'll update you on the newest offerings and what's to come later this year.
Located just minutes from Interstate 77, the up-and-back multi-use pathway is a key segment of the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of trails and greenways spanning 15 counties in the Carolinas.
Meandering through the woods at the edge of the Catawba River, the trail is mostly flat with a few sections traversing hills. Whether you're cycling, skating or hoofing it, you'll burn a few extra calories getting up the moderately steep grades.
On a recent weekend, I found bikers, joggers and dog walkers enjoying the trail and the views it offers of the Catawba. One family had ventured down to the river to play in the cool, dam-fed waters.
Mile markers along the route help you keep track of how far you've trekked. At the end of trail, there's a short loop that takes you into the woods and then back around to the main path. Remember, it's 2 ¼ miles up and then 2 ¼-miles back.
Along the route you'll find benches and chairs made of tree trunks where you can sit and listen to the songbirds that make their home in the surrounding forest. As I walked, I saw some of the area's other wildlife, including several cottontail rabbits skirting about.
Except for a short gravel section from the parking lot to the beginning of the trail, the path is baby-bottom smooth, making it accessible to wheelchairs, strollers and rollerbladers.
Fido is welcome, too, but you'll need to keep him on a three-foot long leash and pick up his poop. Bag dispensers are available along the course.
If you're going to cycle, take note of the 10-mph speed limit. You might need to hit the brakes on the steeper downhills.
To get to the trail from I-77, take Exit 82A and drive .8 miles on Cherry Road (S.C. 21) toward Fort Mill. Turn right on Dunkin's Ferry Road at the Riverwalk sign, then left onto Terrace Park and continue to the trail's parking lot.
The trail is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through the end of September. Want to learn more? Call (803) 329-5620 or click here.