Walnut Bottoms Trail

Posted on Oct 5, 2015 in Joplin/4-States | 1 comment

welcome to walnut bottoms sign carthage moOver the past couple months I have been getting involved with an emerging trail project in Carthage called Walnut Bottoms. It’s a walking/running/mountain bike trail that winds it’s way through some beautiful bottomland forest along Spring River.  It has been fun and interesting, particularly seeing how it works and how much effort they have put in to make a project like this a reality.

This trail, like many others has it’s own unique set of challenges in addition to the obvious one of simply acquiring land and building and maintaining a functioning trail.  Most, if not all of the land is subject to periodic flooding, after which the trail may be wet or muddy for a period of time and covered with trees and other flood debris. It also means some areas are perpetually soft and muddy, so that is something to work around. A challenge to trails that I have never really understood is opposition from adjacent landowners – this trail has some of that as well.

Working on a section of the trail a few weeks ago where a tree had fallen and weeds were encroaching over the path.

Working on a section of the trail a few weeks ago where a tree had fallen and weeds were encroaching over the path.

In spite of the challenges, I believe this trail has some amazing potential. Right now, there is a roughly 2.5 mile loop that can be traversed on foot or mountain bike, with another mile or so that seems to be close to completion. Being a new trail, it’s a bit difficult to navigate in a few spots, but when I rode it I didn’t have too much trouble finding my way.  Being bottomland it’s a generally flat trail, but there are many small ups and downs that make it interesting. I rode my hybrid bike and while I would not recommend that type of bike on the trail, it was still a lot of fun! I recently discovered how much fun mountain biking is, and with the lack of places to ride mountain bikes around here, I am excited about this trail just a few miles from home!

The trail passes under and along some neat old bridges on Garrison Ave that are elevated above the flood plain.  I remember enjoying crossing these bridges on the way to my grandparents house when I was a kid!

The trail passes under and along some neat old bridges on Garrison Ave that are elevated above the flood plain. I remember enjoying crossing these bridges on the way to my grandparents house when I was a kid!

Several parts of the trail ride along Spring River or in this case, a small side fork of the river.  Here is a view from the trail that I particularly enjoyed.

Several parts of the trail ride along Spring River or in this case, a small side fork of the river. Here is a view from the trail that I particularly enjoyed.

A huge Cottonwood tree at walnut bottoms carthage mo

A huge Cottonwood, 4-5′ in diameter.

This trail winds it's way through the woods, up and over small mounds and various changes in the surface.

This trail winds it’s way through the woods, up and over small mounds and various changes in the surface.

Here is a beautiful spot along the main channel of Spring River. Though this isn't technically on the designated trail, it's just a short detour down a side path and it's part of the park.

Here is a beautiful spot along the main channel of Spring River. Though this isn’t technically on the designated trail, it’s just a short detour down a side path and it’s part of the park.

If you want to check out the trail and the progress, the parking area is located at the end of old North Main St in the Kendricktown neighborhood north of Carthage. Take Garrison from Carthage across Spring River and turn right. Residents at that intersection have collected mind blowing quantities of junk vehicles in and around the street, so at first glance it looks like a private drive – don’t let that scare you away, it’s actually Main Street and the trail parking area is at the end of that road on the right!

    1 Comment

  1. I love going to the Bottoms for some time out. BUT…..this Hoarder guy next door has filled the parking lot with his junk, which makes me leery of leaving my vehicle unattended there. As well, he continues to dump trash back towards the river, I know this because I seen him coming out of there with his flat bed truck and found where he’d dumped his load of roofing materials and set it afire. Hope someone gets the police involved as this is city land and a city effort at trail making.

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