Taking a deep breath in preparation for a much talked about
and therefore likely to be disappointing post…
I’d like to write about the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The goal here is to combine the information I’ve been able to glean from the official Swamp Rabbit Trail page (07.20.09 update: Greenville Rec has a new website, so I’ve updated the links to point back to where they’re intended. Sorry for the inconvenience!) and various other Internet sources with my (hopefully helpful) personal experiences and photos. When I first learned about the Swamp Rabbit Trail, I had a difficult time finding where it was and how much was finished. I learned that in the next several years (decades?) it will become the “Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail”—completely paved, with an oh-so-eco-friendly tram available for tourists (tourists?) and commuters. I will believe that when I see it. First, they’ll need to concentrate on pulling up railroad ties and clearing out gravel. As I need to concentrate on providing helpful information, and not snarky comments…
Ideally, the Swamp Rabbit Trail will be a 13 (or 9, depending on whether you read the Spanish or English version…oh, man! More snarkiness. I can’t seem to turn it off, folks.) (07.20.09 update: the website now says “trece” instead of “nueve” for the Spanish version, so I am satisfied.) mile trail that meanders from Travelers Rest, past Furman University, and into downtown Greenville. Currently, there are 3 smaller sections of trail available. I’m going to focus on two of them today.
Let’s take a look at the map! (Sidenote: I “borrowed” the map via screen capture from the official page. You can see the scrolling, zooming version there.)
We shall start at the very beginning, which as always is a very good place to start. The first completed phase of the Swamp Rabbit Trail can be found across the road from the Linky Stone Children’s Garden. Don’t know where that is? Yeah, I didn’t either. Look for the playground near the intersection of Broad and River/Richardson Streets. If you don’t know where to look it can be a little tricky to find, but the trail begins beneath the Hwy 123 overpass. I’ve talked about it before, I’m sure…this is the original and much-beloved “squishy trail.”
It’s slightly under a mile in length, nearly pancake-flat, and consists of two asphalt lanes and one rubberized (“squishy”) lane. It’s not the most scenic portion of Greenville—it does hug the banks of the Reedy River, but most of the views will consist of the backsides of industrial buildings and construction sites. I’ve never had a bad experience out here and there are often other runners/walkers/bikers/roller bladers sharing the space, but I’m not sure that I’d be comfortable running by myself. This is primarily because I’m a paranoid little girl and on unpopular exercising days (read: during weather extremes…heat, cold, torrential downpour, etc.) it does feel a bit lonely and secluded.
On its own, the squishy trail is pretty cool. Connect it with Reedy River Park, Cleveland Park, and the second phase of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, however, and you can get a pretty decent long run in. Cross River Street and follow the sidewalk closest to the Reedy River. It will take you past the art galleries, the waterfall, and the outdoor theatre. Look for green signs that say “Swamp Rabbit Trail.” They were installed a few months ago and will help you find your way. When you run out of sidewalk, take a left and follow the road down to the bottom of the hill, where it will meet back up with a concrete path. This will go under an overpass, across a bridge that sternly instructs you not to run across it (we all do…even 5,000 of us at one time during the Reedy River 10k), and around a corner to some sort of memorial involving a plane. You’re now in Cleveland Park!
Keep following those green rabbit signs, and eventually you’ll end up near the dog park and Cleveland Park Animal Hospital.
Welcome to the second phase of the squishy trail. Recently named in honor of George Hincapie (he’s a professional biker (pedal pedal biker, not vroom vroom (wow, parentheses madness!)) who lives in Greenville), the newer version of the trail is slightly less squishy than the first. It’s approximately the same length and a tad hillier. It exits at Faris Rd. I don’t have as much to say about this portion of the trail…if you run around Cleveland Park long enough, you’ll find it.
Sometime in the future, the first leg of the downtown trail will head off towards Furman and TR…at the moment, you’ll see a very polite sign apologizing for the inconvenience of ongoing construction and some very unfriendly overgrowth deterring you from attempting to forge ahead. I’ve been willing the trail to be extended for a year, so far with no noticeable success. Sad. I suppose I’ll just have to have (gasp!) patience. Blech. There are also plans to extend the second leg of the trail towards Greenville Tech. I’m not sure where the planned endpoint is. I have noticed some development on a railway overpass that crosses Woodruff Road near the Honda dealership that I assumed was part of this initiative, but according to the official Swamp Rabbit map it’s not part of the trail.
And that’s everything I can think of about the “downtown” area of the trail. Is there anything I missed, Swamp Rabbit Trail searchers? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see if I can track down an answer for you. I’ll also try to hack into Husband’s Garmin history to get exact distances for you all. And in the next several weeks, I’ll make an effort to get to Furman to take more trail pictures…but I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be tough. I’ve heard that they paved part of the trail up there, which makes me sad. Much as I like the “squishy,” I like dirt more. Ah, well.