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The Little Rock Roadrunners Club
Running Little Rock Since 1977

New Construction - Rock Creek Trail

Posted by:
Brian S-ski
Brian Sieczkowski

Construction is currently underway on a westward extension of the Rock Creek Trail

Construction is currently underway on a westward extension of the Rock Creek Trail

One of the city’s lesser known running paths - the Rock Creek Trail in west Little Rock - is growing.  For the past decade, the Rock Creek Trail has provided 1.5 miles of shaded respite from the roads for runners and cyclists between Bowman Road and Loyola/Parkway Place Drive (within the Chenal Parkway median across from Kohl’s).  While serving as a nice traffic-free strip in car-heavy west Little Rock, the path’s relatively meager length (when compared to the River Trail, at least) has kept it from being a larger destination for recreation.  Now, the Rock Creek Trail is growing a bit to the west, in the first step of what will hopefully one day provide a long stretch of greenway trail linking the furthest western reaches of the city with midtown Little Rock.

First, the current construction: work is finishing up on an extension of the Rock Creek Trail within the Chenal Parkway median.  Scheduled to be completed this summer, the extension will add over a third of a mile onto the trail, taking it from Loyola Drive to Pride Valley Drive (across from Parkway Village).  This new section will be contained entirely within the Chenal Parkway median, running adjacent to, and crossing over, Rock Creek.  A low water concrete bridge spanning Rock Creek on the eastern end of this new section is complete and asphalt will be laid down on the rest of the new trail soon.  Users will have to cross Loyola Drive to continue on the new Rock Creek Trail section, but the city does plan to beef up the pedestrian crosswalks in that area.  Once complete, the total trail length will be between 1.75 and 2 miles one-way.

Future plans: though there are not any immediate works in progress, the end goal is to continue extending the Rock Creek Trail in both directions.  Rock Creek itself travels within the Chenal Parkway median for another half mile to the west before passing under the street near Wellington Hills Road.  From there, the creek continues west behind the Chenal Kroger and eventually terminates near the Chenal Promenade Shopping Center.  Plans call for the Rock Creek Trail to run adjacent to the creek in this area and then continue along Denny Road to Wildwood Park.  From there, the trail could be extended all the way to the Section 13 Park along Garrison Road to tie into the city’s proposed Three Trail Loop System as described in Chapter Five of the Parks and Rec Dept Master Plan.

Just as important to future plans will be to extend Rock Creek Trail to the east.  To continue back into town, the Rock Creek Trail will need to pass under both Bowman Road and Markham Street in quick succession.  Once south of Markham, Rock Creek runs between a commercial strip and the Birchwood neighborhood.  There is even a small stretch of existing trail along Rock Creek in Birchwood Park that could be incorporated into the larger trail system.  Beyond Birchwood, Rock Creek passes under Shackleford Road and I-430.  Pedestrian trail under these two roads would provide a much needed safe crossing in this area.  From there, the creek runs through the Pennbrook and Cloverhill neighborhoods without another road crossing until passing under John Barrow Road.  The good news is that there is already existing trail along Rock Creek once you move east of Barrow that runs under I-630 and into Kanis Park.  Kanis Park also contains trail along Rock Creek (due for a remodeling) and there is only a short section of Rock Creek without trail before you hit the paved paths within Boyle Park.  While the trail within Boyle Park could also use some resurfacing, the hard part of clearing the area and laying the ground work is already done.  From the southern end of Boyle Park it is not far to the Fourche Creek wetlands and the University of Arkansas - Little Rock campus where a link to can be made to the growing Coleman Creek Trail (but that is a trail tale for another blog!).

Just the portion from Wildwood to Boyle Park would offer over ten miles for runners, walkers, and cyclists free of traffic.  Just as importantly, it would help connect our city east and west, north and south, and offer safe passage through some of the Little Rock’s busiest areas, providing a reasonable alternative to driving a car.

Check out the LRRC Facebook page for a photo album tour of the Rock Creek Trail from Bowman Curve in the east to the new construction in the west:

Click the photo to open Rock Creek Trail album

Click the photo to open Rock Creek Trail album

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