Finally got some trail riding today — we were on the Tobacco Heritage Trail from Lawrenceville west to the end, which seems to roughly be the Lacrosse/South Hill line. Yes, it’s part of the East Coast Greenway.
Here’s my assessment:
Much of the trail we rode is crushed stone and at times became very soft and sandy. I definitely felt it in the legs, and our pace was much, much slower. We were all thrilled when it turned to asphalt. (The trail pamphlet shows a long on-road stretch from Lacrosse west to Chase City.)
The trail amenities we saw are impressive. The bathrooms are these stand-alone structures large enough to accommodate someone in a wheelchair (not that a person in a wheel chair is going to be happy pushing through the soft surface, but maybe it was particularly soft because of the recent storm). Solar panel on the chimney, a motion sensor when you walk in the door that turns on the light. Not some smelly portapotty.
And I bet the horses love the soft surface. The trail caters to horse riders with these little steps to make it easy to mount your horse, and these places to tie up your horse. Not that we saw any today. Of course you could use this to mount your bike instead:
Of course there are picnic tables and historical markers along the trail.
There are few access points on the crushed-stone portion of the trail, unlike, say, the Delaware & Lehigh Trail south of Jim Thorpe. That makes it harder to use it for a short distance.
The Tobacco Heritage Trail hasn’t yet hit that tipping-point length when it becomes a tourist destination. The goal is to reach 150 miles of rail-trail, plus connecting corridors, as funding becomes available. It should be a draw well before then, giving the area some badly needed economic stimulus.
And food? We gave this place behind the trail in Lawrenceville a thumbs up: