Thursday, August 29, 2019
Whether you’re looking to break in those new shoes, get your workout in, or take your four-legged friend for a walk in the fresh air, the Mary Black Rail Trail is the place for you.
The Rail Trail, a two-mile trail just south of Downtown Spartanburg, is among Spartanburg’s most-popular amenities, giving residents and visitors alike the chance to enjoy the outdoors and get to know Spartanburg a little better.
“One of the great qualities of the MBF Rail Trail is that it is used by so many people and truly builds a connected community. You see casual walkers, intense runners, skateboarders, BCycles, families, retirees, a variety of ethnic groups,” said Laura Ringo, Partners for Active Living executive director.
The Rail Yard is the newest addition to the already-popular Rail Trail. The park also features an exercise and yoga pad, and a pavilion shaped like a trolley, yet another connection to Spartanburg’s railway-heavy lineage. There’s also a water station for people and pets, a misting station to beat the heat, and a picnic spot for outdoor breakfasts or lunches.
Situated just off Forest Avenue, the Rail Yard has taken off in popularity because of the unique fitness stations and natural offerings it features, not to mention an area dedicated to a certain NFL team…
The Panthers-themed park features a playground with elements of an NFL Combine workout to promote youth activity through the league’s Play 60 initiative. While the course – with a 40-yard dash area and other obstacles – is perfect for kids, its open to all ages, so make sure to test your 40-yard dash time the next time you’re there. (Take it from me, your dash time won’t come close to an NFL star’s.)
The next major addition to the Rail Trail will be the aptly named Bike Park. The park gives off-road cyclists a safe riding environment. In the future, it’ll include wood and dirt flow trails, an entrance feature, jumps, a skills park and more.
A bioswale – meaning an area with large boulders to hop across and soggy areas – will also be added, creating a habitat for wildlife with landscaping featuring native plants.
Chances are, if you’re on the Rail Trail, you’ll see someone taking advantage of a BCycle – rentable bikes that are available throughout Downtown Spartanburg.
A total of 50 bikes are now available for rent after Spartanburg Community College added 11 new bikes at its downtown campus in partnership with Partners for Active Living. Those 11 new bikes can be checked out and returned to or from any BCycle rack in Spartanburg, including those nearest to the Rail Trail, at Henry and Union streets.
The Dog Park sits just across from the main entrance to Duncan Park, and is the perfect place for your four-legged friends to get the rest of their energy out after a walk on the trail. The park is open during daylight hours and has on-site waste containers so you can take care of your dog’s business.
The Skate Park, just removed from the Rail Trail, has become a popular place for skateboarders to test their talents since it opened in 2009.
The skate park was the first public concrete state park in South Carolina. It features street-style staples like steps, rails, ramps and ledges, and more advanced features like a flow course, a half-pipe, and an eight-foot vertical ramp leading to a pyramid.
If you find yourself on the Rail Trail during weekday business hours, don’t be surprised when the pleasant aroma of coffee fills your nose near Marion Avenue. Little River Roasters’ roasting facility sits along the trail, with 150-pound burlap sacks of coffee beans from around the world being roasted, just awaiting its delicious, caffeinated fate.
While you’re out on the trail, stop by and explore Vintage Warehouse to find unique and hard to find décor. Just across from the Rail Yard is Motivus Crossfit, home to some of the best-conditioned athletes in Spartanburg.
If you get a little hungry, there’s SELECT Restaurant and Little Pigs BBQ, both of which are just off the trail and have something for just about every taste, whether you’re looking for a filling breakfast or some Southern staples at lunch.
If you’re going to venture out to the Rail Trail, make sure you’re comfortable. Good sneakers and weather-appropriate attire are a must. We probably don’t have to tell you, but summer is vastly different than winter or spring in South Carolina, so make sure you know if it’s shorts-and-t-shirt weather or if you’ll need to bundle up a little more.
Now that you’ve gotten the low down on the Rail Trail’s history, what’s available now and what’s coming in the future, what are you waiting for? Get outside!