Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Walk, Run, Ride or Play

One of my favorite things to do on a summer evening (or even a summer day) is to ride my bike along the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

The Jordan River Parkway trail is a wonderful place to go for a walk, run or to ride a bike. All along the trail are various parks, maintained by the different cities the trail passes through. Many of these parks have playgrounds, restrooms, and drinking fountains, and most are also trailheads, places where you can park your car and enter the trail going in either direction.

The trail will eventually be a paved, mixed use trail that parallels the Jordan River from Utah Lake in the south, to the Great Salt Lake on the north- about a 40 mile route. It also is, or will be connected to other trails such as the Provo River Trail, the Legacy Parkway Trail, and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

The longest completed section of paved trail runs from just south of North Temple and goes south to 7800 South to Gardner village. The paved portion of the trail does run a bit further south, to around 9000 South, but the trail has not been completed and it dumps you off onto 700 West in the Midvale/Sandy area. The trail from 7800 South to about North Temple has plenty to do and see, including several nature preserves and the International Peace Gardens.

So you don't have to attempt to cross major streets, tunnels or bridges have been built to help you safely across, although there are a few minor, quiet streets that you will need to cross in a cross-walk.

How do you get there? Drive along nearly any major or minor east-west streets to the Jordan River and look for the signs announcing parks or trailheads. Most are easy to find.

The trail is open from sunrise to sunset. It is an easy walk or bike for the entire family (my 8 year old son made a seven mile round trip ride along the trail last year). Don't go too fast- for courtesy's sake as well as for the fact that if you do, you are guaranteed to miss some amazing things in this urban retreat.

Hint: The Nature Center of Murray is between 5400 South and 4800 South and is the second largest designated wetland on the trail. It is home to hundreds of birds, a few dozen species, and there are plaques within the Nature Center to help you identify them.