Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ralston Trail

View Larger Map

About an hour before sunset I went exploring to see where the Ralston Trail goes. With my GPS receiver on, I was able to make a good map of the trail, where I then imported into Google Maps, cleaned it up a little, and added some labels. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, and I also forgot my camera phone, so I don't have any pictures to share.

Basically the Ralston Trail runs 1.3 miles from 84th and Madison, eastward toward 72nd and U. St. The eastern terminus of the Ralston Trail is about one-half mile from the junction of the Big Papio Trail and the Keystone Trail, making the Ralston Trail potentially an important connection for commuters looking to move east/west across Omaha.

One feature of this trail is a hilly section that runs through the wilderness of Wildewood Park. The leaves were just starting to fall and cover the concrete path, and with the scent of Autumn in the air, the short ride through the park was a welcome change over the normal daily street ride commuting that I do. Another interesting point along the trail is a short tunnel where the trail passes underneath a rail bridge. I don't know why the tunnel was needed, unless engineers felt the old bridge overhead might come crashing down on the trail someday, or perhaps drop debris on the trail.

Ralston has a pretty little downtown commercial district, but unfortunately, this trail won't help you get there. It seems to run, somewhat isolated, along an old rail bed, or at least alongside a creek (a few parts of the trail are more hilly than what I'd expect for an old rail line), but has very little access to meaningful streets. To the south is a creek and to the north are people's back yards or industrial fences. I can't help but wonder if there are future plans for this trail that might make it connect more directly with the Keystone and Big Papio, or possibly continue further out west.

According to the ActivateOmaha bike map, there is a north-south sidepath that connects the eastern terminus with the Big Papio Trail near L St., but I didn't know that while I was out.

The Highgear Bike and Outdoor Store of Omaha is about 1.5 miles to the south near 84th and Brentwood, making that a potential destination for riders on the Keystone/Big Papio trails.

1 comment:

Scott Redd said...

I rode the trail today and found that the trail does, indeed, connect with the Big Papio Trail to the north where it goes under 72nd Street, between Q Street and L Street.

It's an awkward to work your way from the Ralston Trail, to the Big Papio Trail to the Keystone Trail, but at least there is an off-street path for those who want one.