> >
September 7, 2023 10 minute READ

Trails for All

tags Adventure | Local Flavor
locations All
Strolling and rolling on the Boone Greenway

The medical community touts time outdoors as good medicine for everyone. In fact, some doctors are prescribing nature as a treatment for stress, anxiety, obesity, and for improving overall mental health. Taking time to smell the flowers is good for us! With that in mind, here are a few trails that are accessible to all – no matter your age or ability – to take a break from devices and the general hubbub of daily life. Let’s head out for a roll or a stroll. 

Valle Crucis/Boone

Valle Crucis ParkValle Crucis Community Park – The Valle Crucis Park is located right behind the Mast Store Annex and features a paved trail that encircles the park. Walk the outer loop for a ¾-mile stroll or make a figure 8 for a length that’s practically a mile. You can take a break by the Watauga River (and in warmer weather dip your toes in the cool water), and the kids will love the playground equipment. The local Audobon Society leads a bird walk on most Wednesday mornings. If you enjoy your visit, we hope you’ll make a donation to support the Park. Right photo courtesy of Valle Crucis Community Park.

Bass Lake – Constructed in 1905 on the Flat Top Manor Estate, Bass Lake is a part of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail around its circumference (9/10s mile) is hard-packed gravel and suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. It is easy and accessible with restrooms conveniently located at the trailhead off Highway 221. In the wintertime, cross-country skiers enjoy making first tracks early in the day before walkers hit the path. 

Lee & Vivian Reynolds Greenway – Boone's Greenway system links Highway 321 and 421 along the South Fork of the New River. Trailheads include parking and picnic areas, and the trail passes through urban and wilderness areas. Wildlife viewing is a regular occurrence as deer munch on leaves and grasses and groundhogs enjoy a green buffet. The greenway is popular with people of all ages and abilities. Make sure to take a break at the old hydroelectric dam, which was built in the early 1900s to supply power to what is now Appalachian State University.  


Lake Junaluska Trail – Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is closely affiliated with the Methodist Church. Its first conference was held in 1913, and by the end of that year, the dam that created Lake Junaluska (named after a Cherokee Chief who saved Andrew Jackson’s life in battle) along with 13 private homes were completed. Today, all people are welcomed at the beautiful facilities, including the Lake Junaluska Trail. It is paved and mostly flat, with one section that is a little hilly and woodsy. Great for all abilities – wheelchairs and bikes are welcome.    


Deer along the GreenwayOklawaha Greenway – Drawing its name from a Native American word meaning dark waters or slow moving, muddy waters, the Oklawaha Greenway is a wonderful place right in the middle of Hendersonville to take a walk. If you’re a birder, bring along your binoculars. Because the greenway is located next to water, you may need to exercise caution with heavy rainfalls to avoid flooded areas. The main trailhead is located in Jackson Park with other access points along its length.  

Flat Rock Loop – Located in the small town of Flat Rock, the Flat Rock Loop is a part of its parks system. The trail is a mixture of pavement and packed fine granite. If accessing by wheelchair, you may encounter some difficulty if your wheels are “skinny.” At 1.5-miles long, it’s a great quick escape in a beautiful area that gets its name from a large flat rock that served as a meeting place for traders in the 1700s and 1800s.  


French Broad River Greenway West Loop – Stretching from French Broad River Park to Carrier Park, this section of the greenway travels beside the French Broad River through parks that recognize many aspects of Asheville’s history and growth. The Mellowdrome, a velodrome at Carrier Park, was once home to the Asheville Motor Speedway (and before that was a horse racetrack). The future Karen Cragnolin Park is on the grounds of a car-crushing junkyard and will be a fitting remembrance of Asheville’s voice of the river – Cragnolin was the founder of RiverLink. Enjoy the journey any way you want – it’s accessible for all. 

Malvern Hills Park Loop – Best described as an evening walk rather than a hike, the Malvern Hills Park Loop is a paved trail that is good for little ones on their first walks or being rolled about in their strollers. Restrooms are available seasonally. 


Swamp Rabbit Trail – The Swamp Rabbit Trail has a paved surface that is 8-12 feet wide, and it runs along the Reedy River in Greenville. This rails to trails project is enjoyed by more than 500,000 people each year and links together Furman University, Downtown Greenville, and nearby Travelers Rest. There are several parks along the way, as well as restaurants and places to rent a bike. You’ll love the views of the Reedy River, too!  

Falls Park – The Falls Park on the Reedy is not just well-known in Greenville; it’s internationally acclaimed for its beauty and architecture. The undertaking, rehabilitating the site once used by a textile mill, started in the 1960s as a project of the Carolina Foothills Garden Club. It gained even more steam in the 1990s when the mayor presented a plan for demolishing the Camperdown Bridge and creating a beautiful respite on the city’s west side. Enjoy trails, a lovely view of the falls, and even live Shakespeare performances. Not all trails are wheelchair accessible, but many are. Learn more HERE.  


Chestnut-Sided WarblerWorld’s Fair Park and Volunteer Landing – Enjoy the location of the 1982 World’s Fair! Take a ride to the top of the Sunsphere or catch a performance on the festival lawn. Then walk down to Volunteer Landing. The greenway stretches along the Tennessee River and is a great walk, run, or roll – especially in the mornings or early evenings.  

James White Greenway – The James White Greenway pays homage to the founder of Knoxville and provides opportunities for encounters with wildlife along the Tennessee River. There are benches and picnic tables along the way. This greenway is a part of the 18-mile interconnected system in Knoxville, so if you reach the end and want to go farther, there are options!   Photo at right courtesy of Paul Laurent.


Columbia Canal Path – Part of Columbia’s growth success was having navigable rivers. The Canal Path takes you along an old towpath. From the top of the levee, you can see the Columbia Canal on one side and the Broad, Congaree, and Saluda Rivers on the other. Keep an eye out for deer, herons, and even, gulp, alligators! This is a paved path, which is great for wheelchair users and strollers. 

South Carolina’s State House Walking Trails – Take a tour around the State House Grounds on one – or more – of the designated trails. There are points of interest markers and an interpretive sign sharing the interesting history of the location. The trails were a joint partnership of the YMCA, SCHA SCPRT, and the joint legislative grounds committee.   


The Greenway TrailSalem Creek Greenway – The Salem Creek Greenway is part of a larger system. It connects Marketplace Mall with Salem Lake Park and runs along Salem Creek. The Strollway and Peachtree Greenway feed into it. The trail is eight feet wide and is paved or packed gravel. Some sections may be a little steep for wheelchairs to navigate without assistance.  

Long Branch Trail - The Long Branch Trail is just a short walk from the front door of the Mast Store in Downtown Winston-Salem. It is a rails-to-trails project that uses the former Norfolk and Western Railroad railbed to link together the businesses, academic institutions, and homes in the Innovation Quarter. It draws its name from the African-American neighborhood that was once located in sections of the quarter.  


Lick Run Greenway – The Lick Run Greenway stretches from Downtown Roanoke to the Valley View mall. While it is a commuter route, use is generally light and the surface is paved. You can take a break along the way at a few of Roanoke’s historic sites – like Hotel Roanoke or the O. Winston Link Museum. Keep an eye out for the more than 90 species of birds that enjoy the habitat along the trail. This section of Roanoke’s greenway system is wheelchair friendly. 

Garst Mill Greenway – Located in Roanoke County’s Garst Mill Park, the Garst Mill Greenway is short at a half mile, but it’s the place to be! Groups of all ages and all kinds meet up to enjoy time outside and each other’s company.  

Leave No Trace

Trails can take many forms – they can be simple dirt paths, paved greenways, and even water! No matter what kind of trail you are enjoying, it is important to remember the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. By following these guidelines, you are helping ensure that the next person who ventures out on the trail will have the same experience as you, and you’re also taking steps to protect yourself.

  1. Leave No TracePlan Ahead and Prepare – Check the regulations of the area where you will be hiking, look at the weather report and plan for any sudden changes, avoid times of high usage, carry a map and compass. Also, be sure to let someone know where you will be hiking and when you plan to return.?
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces – Stay on the trail and camp only in areas where a good campsite can be found. Walk single file in the middle of the trail (even when it’s raining and muddy; this’ll help keep the trail from “growing”).
  3. Dispose of Trash Properly – If you take it in, you should bring it back out, and you might take an extra bag to pick up others’ trash while you’re on the trail. Don’t toss your organic waste in the woods – banana and orange peels can take seven months to two years to break down! And, if no toilets or latrines are available, solid human waste should be buried in a cat hole dug 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from the trail or water sources. 
  4. Leave What You Find – While it’s tempting to pick a flower or take home a rock, they should all be left in their “homes.” And, if you are out and about often in different areas of the country, don’t forget to clean your boots and gear to make sure you’re not introducing a non-native species from another region. 
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts – Use only established fire rings, or better yet, use a lightweight stove for cooking and a lantern for light. Keep fires small and burn the campfire to ash and douse completely, scatter the cool ashes.
  6. Respect Wildlife – Observe from a distance and do not approach, surprise, or feed them. Keep your pets under your control and on a leash at all times.
  7. Be Considerate of Others – Respect others and their experience; avoid loud voices and noise, so people can enjoy the sounds of nature. 


join catalog mailing list tell me more