|Trail Length: 6.5 miles||Type of trail: Point to Point|
|County: Floyd County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: historic, paved||Your rating:|
|Usage: Medium||Added on: November 27, 2011|
|Last hiked: November 24, 2011||Updated on: August 19, 2014|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Floyd County, GA
The full name of this 6.5-mile total length trail system is the Rome-Floyd County Heritage Trail System and it is displayed on markers embedded in the 12-foot wide poured concrete path. The pathway connects four smaller paths within the city, the Heritage Park Trail, Downtown Riverfront Trail, Silver Creek Trail and Kingfisher Trail. The 7.7 miles listed in some places include "Share the Road" bike lanes and widened sidewalks that we did not walk. The path is sometimes referred to as the Heritage Park Trail, Riverwalk, Heritage Riverways or a combination of the other trails names. Currently plans call for extending the trail to include 20 miles of walking paths.
View Rome's Heritage Trail System in a larger map
Building the Trail System
The Robert Redden footbridge, a converted rail bridge, was the first part of the present-day Heritage Trail System. The bridge was originally part of the Central of Georgia Railway and is over the Oostanaula River although it is just east of the its confluence with the Etowah River to form the Coosa River. The bridge, part of the original Heritage Park Trail, a 1.0 mile trail in an 8-acre park, completed in 1976 was dedicated in 1985 to Floyd County artist Robert Redden. The artist had become famous by immortalizing Rome and Floyd County countryside and architecture with his art.
In 1987 the River Development Committee was formed by Rome and Floyd County. The Rome Parks and Recreation Authority unveiled a much larger scale plan at the Rome-Floyd County Trails and Greenway Forum on October 3, 1992. This plan endorsed the River Development Committee's plan for connecting points on the Etowah, Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers with a trail system that included the Heritage Park Trail, as well as creating a city-wide trail and connecting the Pinhoti Trail to the Benton MacKaye Trail.
The first section of the Heritage Trail System was completed in April, 1998. As the Heritage Trail System tied so many of Rome's attraction together, there was a push to add attractions along the trail. First came the remodeling of the old Oostanaula pump station in Ridge Ferry Park into the Eco River Center, then came an adjacent treehouse.
Hiking the Heritage Trail System
Entering the forest the raised pathway passes through a forest before coming to an opening where one of the oldest houses in North Georgia overlooks the river. Chieftains was home to Major Ridge, a key player in the Cherokee Nation. Ridge owned a ferry (which ran in the adjacent Ridge Ferry Park), some 200 slaves and a plantation on the banks of the river.
Clearly marked and easily followed, the path leaves Ridge Ferry Park crossing below an elevated railroad path. Immediately on the left is the old Oostanaula pump station, reworked into the ECO River Education Center, normally only open for school groups. Next to the River Center is a treehouse that should keep the kids happy, at least for a few minutes. Returning to the trail
a side trail leads up to a shopping center with a Starbucks and four good places to eat. Return to the river and follow the path under the Martha Berry Highway (US 29).
As the trail comes out of a small forested section it rises to skirt the Rome-Floyd County Library parking area before returning to the river. Just before the 5th Ave. Bridge the trail reaches one of our favorite stops, the monument to officers killed in the line of duty. Each officer is remembered by a stone with a picture and details of the loss.
Return to the trail and follow it under the
High water mark noted for the 1932 and 1946 floods
After crossing the footbridge Heritage Park is directly in front of you and can be explored. In 1996 the Olympic torch relay was celebrated in the park on July 16, 1996. To continue hiking the trail system, follow it around to the left to return to the Oostanaula River levee. Do not try to cross 2nd Avenue.
Bike rides in Georgia
Pedal your way on one of Georgia's developed and undeveloped (mountain biking) trails
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia
Benton MacKaye Trail
July 16, 1996
Robert Redden footbridge