You hear a lot about greenways these days – and for good reason too.
Just what, exactly, is a greenway? Most dictionaries define greenways as linear, strip-like stretches of relatively undeveloped land which are there for recreation (mostly hiking and biking) or for environmental protection. They’re usually urban, mostly paved and often follow creeks or traverse other ecologically interesting terrain. For urban adventurers, what’s not to love?
Over the years, I’ve become especially fond of greenways. Close to home, I’ve spent untold hours walking on the Big Creek Greenway, which more or less follows Big Creek. I think I’ve walked or biked just about the whole thing at one time or another. There’s still a gap in the middle, but they’re working on that. It’ll be great when the connection is complete.
Another greenway I’ve been enjoying these last few years is the Noonday Creek Trail which follows (you guessed it) Noonday Creek over near Woodstock. Ellie the resident mini Schnauser is especially fond of this one because it provides access to Woofstock, which is (in her words) “bark-bark-bark-bark-BARK!!!” If you don’t speak Dog, that means “a really cool place for dogs to RUN!!!”
Those two get a lot of my greenway time. But there’s another greenway-type trail that I’ve been getting to know, and that’s the Suwanee Creek Trail.
This one, over in Gwinnett County, is just far enough off my usual beaten track that it slipped under my radar for a long time. We really are creatures of habit, aren’t we?
But the other day I was looking for somewhere new to do some walking. I did a little searching, and the Suwanee Creek Trail came up. It looked promising, so off I went.
I started at the Suwanee Creek Park end of the trail. This access is located off Buford Highway a half a mile or so south of McGinnis Ferry Road. Besides being the beginning of the trail, it’s also the site of a neat disk golf course. That’s something else I’m playing with, though I am unbelievably terrible at it. But I have fun.
On this trip, though, I was hiking. I parked the trusty gray truck, put on the walking shoes, and set off down the paved trail to see what I would see.
The trail meanders down toward Suwanee Creek and then turns to follow the creek.
For the first leg of this adventure, I hiked from Suwanee Creek Park to the McGinnis Ferry access point. The trail actually goes underneath McGinnis Ferry Road, so there’s no need to risk life and limb trying to cross that busy thoroughfare.
But once you’ve passed under the roadway, how do you regain the trail? That, as it turned out, was a bit confusing. Eventually, I found myself standing with another hiker at the trail map trying to figure it out. He too was trying to decide how to continue beyond that point. Eventually we discovered that the secret was to follow the trail under McGinnis Ferry Road and then continue along the paved trail to a parking area. Once there, make your way from the parking area to a wide paved sidewalk along McGinnis Ferry Road, then cross the creek on the sidewalk via the McGinnis Ferry Road bridge, and then (once across the bridge) turn left to pick up the trail. It’s easy once you know how, but it’s confusing till you figure it out.
From that point, the trail zigzags down the side of a hill and then continues to follow the creek, rising and falling as it goes. At one point you’re far above the creek as it flows along sedately a long ways below you. The view is great, and you may want to linger.
But I’d used up a lot of my lingering time trying to figure out how to regain the trail, so I kept moving. In fact, I didn’t have time left to finish the whole trail as I’d hoped. I only made it as far as the Martin Farm Park trail access before I had to turn back toward the truck and then head home to supper.
How was it? Supper was great. You should have come by – we had plenty!
Oh – of course, you mean the trail. Like I said, I love greenway trails, especially if they’re shaded like lots of this one is. That’s something to appreciate more and more as we move toward summer.
I also appreciated the boardwalk sections, which have always been a favorite trail feature. Boardwalks often cross wetlands, areas rich in wildlife, and you can bet I’ll be carrying binoculars on future excursions.
There’s one other neat feature worth noting– a tiny little covered-type trail bridge not far from McGinnis Ferry Road. The bridge carries you over a tiny creek and was an unexpected surprise.
It’s always nice to find new places, and this one was definitely in the new-to-me category. I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of it – maybe starting this very afternoon!