Madison is a divided city. We are separated (by elevation) into two distinct areas, Downtown and the Hilltop, between which there has been no easy way for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel. Fortunately the Heritage Trail has provided that much needed link between the two areas and given us all a fantastic FREE park/hiking/biking trail that takes the user on a sort of tour of our city’s past as they walk along it’s length and are treated to views of the old rail tracks,loading docks and even the old Crooked Creek bridge.
Starting from the trailhead,which is located at the corners of Vaughn Drive and Vernon Street,one passes under the boughs of the tall trees that line the trail until you come to the Madison Waste Water Treatment Plant where the trees give way to open field. You continue on along the path crossing the old railroad tracks and First and Second streets and then you come to the bridge on Main Street immediately next to Mcintire Street.
Mcintire leads to another parking area,this one smaller than the one along Vaughn and Vernon, where trail users may leave their vehicles. This area also has a port-a-let for use by hikers. (A handy feature!)
The trail begins in earnest from this point as the elevation begins to increase and the forest begins to close in as well. The trail splits off into two directions here,one going westerly and the other heading up the hill. I chose to travel up the hill this day.
The tunnel underneath allows access to the other side of the rail incline.
At this point,on the other side of the creek from Mcintire Street,is a picnic bench nestled in small copse of trees not far from the banks of the creek. A great spot to stop for a nice picnic or a meeting place for those travelling along the trail that are waiting for the remainder of their parties to catch up.
The trail itself is very nicely paved,providing an excellent,firm,smooth walking surface.
The trail really begins to climb and become a bit steep at this point,although I didn’t find it difficult to traverse as the incline is very gradual and there are benches located at what felt like (to me,at least) appropriate intervals along the way. Hikers may sit and catch their breath for a few moments at these waypoints (I certainly did).
I still have yet to actually finish the trail,but I find it very inviting,it beckons you on to the next bend,to walk along just a little further to see what’s beyond the next curve,the next rise.
I’m eager to get back out on the trail and finish it and,when I do,I’ll be sure to share with you. In the meantime please go out and discover it for yourself.